October 21, 2012

How I Work

howiworkI know, I know, there are a boat-load of headshot photographers out there! And lots of headshot photographers concentrate more on marketing than “takin’ pictures”. There is even a self-proclaimed “Best Headshot Photographer on the Planet”. Hmmm…Headshot Hubris! There is a whole lot of noise in this industry! How do you find the right person for you? And why should you choose me to shoot your headshots?

I approach my job this way…

From the first camera I owned, for me, it’s always been about faces, faces are the center of my universe, an endless source of fascination! And “Beauty” is what happens when a face is photographed in a way that is truthful, with a style that captures the essence of the subject. Don’t talk to me about whether you are “photogenic” or not. I don’t believe in “photogenic”. I believe in a photographer’s ability to connect with a subject and craft a moment that fills the frame with interest, energy, and life! We’ve all heard it said that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Come in and let me show you what I see in you!

Each session starts with a blank canvas and it is our blended energy, imagination, experience, knowledge and ability which will generate the elements that become our “image”. I know the “unknown” aspect of that process is a source of anxiety for many subjects, but it is a source of excitement and possibility for me. It can actually be…FUN! I love the fact that every shoot starts with a void that we fill with light, shape, energy, and emotion to complete a finished image. That’s the magic of photography. It’s what drew me to photography in the first place, that supernatural aspect of the art. Photography wields the power to seize a moment in time and crystallize it, letting us see what sometimes in life goes unseen. I love shooting portraits!

Here’s how it works: Each headshot client has their own unique set of needs. This writer wants to project an image that evokes his/her writing style, that actor wants to capture his/her presence in a way that illuminates character type and unique qualities, this politician wishes to embody strength, honesty and intelligence, that executive wants to express openness, confidence and likability. To begin, we define the known aspects of what we want the image to accomplish and how the photo will be used. These ideas become the goals of the shoot. Sometimes, my clients need help defining what elements the shot should illuminate, I see it as my job to facilitate the identification and exploration of those elements. Some shoots start off with clarity, others with merely a vague notion of what we need, but I try to act as a translator, taking the ideas for the shoot, refining them and translating them through the photographic language. To do that, I feel I need to possess a very deep bag of techniques and tricks. My goal in my chosen field is to master the techniques necessary to execute any type of shot with any type of lighting and aesthetic. I have worked and studied hard to be able to use natural light, studio light, a blend of both, bounce flash, ring light, hard light, soft light, you name it, I want to learn and master it. I shoot tethered to my computer, so we can constantly be evaluating the look of each shot and fine tune that look to a degree unheard of before digital photography. Yes, I’m a tech nerd, I love acquiring and playing with new toys, it keeps everything fresh. And my newest, most prized toy is a brand new Hasselblad medium format camera. It is truly a game changer. The resolution creates a clarity and “reality” to the skin tones that is noticeable to even an unschooled eye. The photos look like they might start breathing any moment!

The images on my headshot site represent a wide variety of clientele, with a wide range of techniques. No one style can accommodate the needs of every client. Some headshot photographers specialize in a particular “look”, everyone on their site is lit and shot the same exact way. Some shoot only in the studio, repeating the same formula over and over, others don’t have a studio and shoot only outdoors. What happens when it rains or is 100 degrees, or windy or chilly?  I want all options on the table when we shoot, so I keep a studio on 27th Street in the midst of the beautiful FIT campus, but I also love to “take it to the streets”, and you can get both approaches in one session! I enjoy shooting all different types of clients and since my approach is to build the look of the shoot from the ground up, I feel I can find an avenue to capture anyone with the qualities they need to project themselves in an exciting, interesting, and unique way, and make direct contact with the viewer of the shot. And your shot will speak about you, not what photographer you went to.  I mean who exactly are we selling in this photograph?  Time and again I have heard that the most distinguishing aspect of my work is “the look in the eyes” of everyone I shoot. Everyone can achieve that “look”. It comes through our connection and hard-earned technique on my part. My ultimate goal is to be “The Face-Whisperer”. 🙂

Call and come in for a meeting, we’ll cut through the noise, figure out what you need, and get it!

© Joe Henson 2016 All Rights Reserved