I don’t like rules.
I am asked quite a lot by x, y and z to shoot their headshot. It might be for their website, instagram, presentation etc – it doesn’t really make a difference to me – as I never seem to approach this task in the same way as a ‘real’ photographer.
Because I don’t like rules.
Focus on the eyes, be careful of the angle, use diffused light, guide expression….
I ignore all of the above.
So what do I do? Well, the first thing is appreciate just how much I’d hate the lens to be pointed at me. In short, I feel daunted and self-conscious whenever (and I make sure that this happens rarely) I’m in shot. I then talk (has always been my fall-back plan in any situation) to my victim about something they obviously feel confident and excited about. I also focus on something other than the job in hand. It might be a jacket someone close to us is wearing or a new lip gloss I have stowed away in my camera bag.
Natural light and fresh air are a must. There no doubt that everyone feels more natural and absolutely happier outdoors.
But I also cheat. Because all of those asking for a headshot know me, I know them right back. And, more than this, I – for the most part – actually LIKE them. Plus I might even know things about them that no one else knows. So there’s quite a bit of trust there already.
Often I appreciate (and want to be a part of) their business focus. Why they are putting themselves out there, what makes them feel motivated and where they are heading next….
All this needs to be discussed and then encapsulated in the image.
I can imagine many a headshot photographer reading this post and looking at my images with a slight roll of the eye and raise of the brow. But that’s ok. I don’t like rules.