As a small business owner, keeping the lights on, paying employees and keeping clients happy costs money. Most small businesses run on a very slim profit margin; many times between three and seven percent. As a small business owner, your natural inclination is to save money wherever possible – whether it’s buying office supplies in bulk, meeting clients online instead of long-distance traveling and cutting corners on less client-oriented items, like your headshots. But a cheap business headshot can hinder your business and drive away potential clients. Here’s why cheap headshots cost so much, even when you pay so little for them.
Cheap business headshots look cheap
Cheap business headshots look cheap because they are usually printed on less expensive stock, resulting in a lack of color depth and detail. They don’t reproduce well on your website or in promotional materials, and a potential client holding one in their hands thinks they’ve been handed (literally) a flimsy excuse for an introduction.
They are typically reprinted in a size smaller than the standard headshot size of 8″ x 10″. The smaller size may save you money, but a client may look at it and be reminded of their kids’ school pictures instead of a working professional.
Cheap headshots feature odd backgrounds
A professional headshot normally shows a neutral background; the subject stands out better against it. A cheap headshot attempts to jazz things up with a prettier background. A busy background is not professional; it looks like a 1980s glamour or boudoir shot.
A cheap business headshot’s background not only lacks neutral color best suited to the subject, it often consists of material unsuitable for a photograph, such as poorly draped cloth, blanket material, doors, walls, and cabinets. The client understands you work in an office environment, but portions of that environment should not be seen in your headshot, unless there is a strong and direct link to your business (such as a company selling outdoor, hunting or camping gear) and in that case, a secondary headshot featuring an additional background is acceptable.
Cheap headshot subjects look cheap
Once you cut corners on the photograph, you tend to keep cutting on other aspects, such as hair and makeup. Unless you’re a professional stylist, doing your own primping leads to a less-than-professional, more-like-early-Madonna look. It’s hard to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself when you’re a cheapskate about this cheap shot. You consider it a money-saving move. A client sees the result and wants to post it on social media tagged “Holy throwback, Batman!”
And along with hair and makeup, there’s the jewelry, accessories and the outfit. A professional stylist/photographer works with you to determine the colors, styles and shapes that flatter you. Going cheap means you might thrash through your wardrobe until you find what’s clean, mostly wrinkle-free and basically fits, and not knowing when enough jewelry is enough.
Cheap business headshots don’t aim for the right angles
Full-face on headshots, with eyes staring directly into the camera, are best reserved for that unfortunate moment when the booking officer at the police station tells you, “Look straight into the camera.” A professional headshot is not a mugshot, therefore it should not look like one or be photographed like one. An experienced photographer knows at a glance if you have a “good” side and if that side needs to be highlighted with additional exposure.
There’s an acceptable amount of head, shoulders, torso, and skin suited for a professional headshot. How much makes the photo depends on the subject’s height and proportions, but a good photographer checks sizing and ensure no undue exposure of body parts, tattoos or piercings occurs. A cheap one goes for whatever the subject has to offer that they love or might tempt/shock a client. That makes a great art house photo, but not one a client is looking at and thinking, “I want to do business with this person.”
Korey Howell Photography specializes in bringing out the best in you and ensuring that your professional headshot is the partner and advocate for your business. Contact Korey Howell Photography for more information and appointment availability.
Hurrying through the mall and seeing the hordes of restless kids and anxious parents waiting for seat time on Santa’s lap reminds us that an important part of the holidays is creating memorable moments and recording them to look at (and laugh about) later. Whether you’re part of the photograph or the head rustler charged with getting people together for the big happy holiday portrait, here are 10 tips for getting your best holiday photos.
If you’re in the photograph…
Think blend before bling:
Choose a classy and bright accessory or two and an overall outfit that’s neutral. The holidays do not call for a red and green plaid blazer or jolly Santa Claus tie with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tie clip.
You don’t need every holiday symbol:
You don’t want to be seated in front of a fully decorated Christmas tree, lighting a menorah, wearing a star around your neck and rocking baby Jesus in a manger with your winter-booted foot. The photo is seen during the holidays, either in a card or on your social media postings. People will understand the significance.
Forget holiday lights; that’s the photographer’s job:
Don’t wear them around your neck, on a sweater or insist the photographer add them digitally. The professional can add appropriate background lighting or soften and blur the photo to create a gentle glow. Bright lights out, strive for subtle effects and taking a perfect picture.
Avoid big, shiny jewelry:
It gives off a glare that interferes with the photography. And if your glasses cause reflective glare, consider removing them for the shoot.
Don’t experiment with a new beauty routine:
The night before: You show up with orange hair, blotchy skin, lips on the verge of exploding or botched eyebrows, and you’ll wish you’d changed your plans. Stick with your regular routine, have your hair done at least a few days before the shoot, and if you color your hair, do so at least a week ahead. This gives the color time to mellow and appears less harsh in photographs.
If you’re in charge of organizing everyone:
Let everyone know well ahead of time:
Get to the photography studio early, and keep up with everyone via phone and text. The photographer’s time is money and during the holiday, they are usually tightly booked with appointments.
To avoid “matching syndrome,” ugly sweater disease and other extremes, discuss appropriate clothing. Otherwise, teenagers tend towards the rebellious, and show up in board shorts, busted flip flops, and ban-worthy T-shirts, claiming “It’s cool; they have the holiday colors in them!” Grandpa arrives wearing his Santa sneakers (the ones that go “Ho Ho Ho!” when he bends over to touch his toes) and your mom insists on wearing her hair band with the three-foot reindeer antlers. Clearly, these probably shouldn’t be in your best holiday photos.
Have someone available for hair and makeup:
The professional pampering will please your Auntie Gert, and it’s nice to have someone unrelated to you tell her that her blue sparkly eyeshadow is a questionable choice, given this photo will be in everyone’s home for the foreseeable future.
Make sure children are welcome and happy:
A group photo session is tiring for the little ones. Have a separate play area (minus any messy art-type toys and crafts) for them.
Let the photographer know you’re the group coordinator:
The photographer cannot accept special requests from everyone, continuously rearrange the seating and take pictures simultaneously. One person in the group is responsible for requests and issues and funnels these concerns to the photographer or their assistant.
Korey Howell understands the importance of class and style in any professional photo, holiday or year-round. Whether done in her studio or your office, you’ll look your best because she sees the best in everyone in front of her camera. Contact the studio for your professional headshot appointment today!
When it comes to looking for a job, Americans are working it, working it hard and doing a lot of both preliminary research and direct applying online: Fifty-four percent of Americans are going online seeking job information, and nearly half of job applicants have applied for work online. On average, every corporate job attracts 250 resumes, and four to six of those job seekers will get the call for an interview. Fifteen percent of millennials ages 18 to 24 are employment scam victims, and 30% of those ages 25 to 34 have fallen prey to these scams.
With so much on the line, whether it’s your first job or latest big career move, the era of the paper application and long periods of time required for background checks and verification is changing. Hiring decisions come faster, based on precise information from applicants. Here are eight job search red flags for applicants as they read through the want ads and go to interviews:
Personal information pitfalls
Is the job ad more interested in your looks than your job skills? Asking for your height, weight, or measurements? Is the employer specifically asking for “attractive” or “young” people to apply? This is possibly a front for a less-than-legitimate business, or a lonely owner looking for an employee competent in something besides standard office procedures.
Certain government positions require applicants fall into particular age ranges (special agent positions with the U.S. Marshalls and the FBI) because of the jobs’ physical requirements. But most potential employers cannot even ask about your age on the application. If the ad specifies an age range, especially a young range, it’s possibly less than legitimate work or an owner looking for arm candy.
The business does not provide a name in the ad
Sometimes “blind” ads are blind for a reason: it’s a means to control excess direct contact from recruiters or vendors. But without a human contact person, address or phone number, there’s no way to find out if anyone who matters sees your resume or application.
Little or no job information in the ad, or during the interview. It makes you wonder what the employer is hiding from you and why. This is a major job search red flag and you’ll want to do your best to avoid applying for a job such as this.
It’s an unhappy workplace
You notice it right away during the interview: You don’t walk in expecting people dancing on the desks and quaffing adult beverages midday. But sad faces, angry and loud voices, swearing and shouting, slamming doors and people giving you the stink eye as you walk in and out of the interview room are not a good sign.
They like you so much, they want to hire you NOW
Without a background check or reference calls. And they put pressure on you to accept NOW. Again, what’s going on here? How many people accepted the job under the same pressure before you, only to walk out a week (or less) later? And once you accept, what else will the boss pressure you to do?
Online reviews are one-star worthy
People are mean online when it comes to companies they’ve left or employers who have done them wrong, especially when they can get away with it anonymously. But a pattern of poor reviews, referencing specific on-the-job incidents, is worth a look. You can find reviews of companies and more information about them through sites such as Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com.
The employer needs financial information from you before hiring
A credit report check is a common part of pre-employment screening. A prospective employer is looking at your past insurance, legal, credit and employment history when they pull this report. They do not need your bank information to retrieve it. This is a big job search red flag you want to avoid at all cost.
Korey Howell Photography helps you look your best for your first job or biggest career move. A professional headshot, combined with a sharp resume, is the difference between an application hitting the rejection pile and hearing the words, “You’re hired!”