Before I became a commercial photographer, I owned a small, Michigan Avenue marketing agency. We sent key executives of clients to get headshots for use in our public relations campaigns.
I would art direct many of these shoots. This experience taught me the methods that work and the ones that do not. I also learned the kinds of headshots that got picked up by the media. I came to understand how to make them better than those of most other photographers.
Besides doing headshots, when I became a photographer I also did a lot of fashion. This developed my creative vision and heightened my sensitivity to detail and aesthetics. It gives me an edge over the other photographers who lack this experience.
Most corporate and portrait shooters never grasp the corporate and professional aesthetic. Thich is obvious in their choice or backgrounds, lighting, and composition. They take pictures in a perfunctory way. They follow usual recipes rather than designing images from artistic and marketing principles. They don’t try to make an impact with panache or an awareness of a company’s branding. This is a critical mistake in today’s market where branding and trust are so important.
Now, after 30 years of doing this work, I still care very much about the shot. If I had to distill into a single sentence the essence of my work it would be this:
“I care how the shot looks, and I care how you look in the shot.”