Head Shots

I Make This Look Good

As is painfully obvious from my site, I shoot on location. I don't shoot on location because I hate studios, or because I love trying to replicate perfect lighting in imperfect spaces. I do it because I learned photography through the lens (sorry) of journalism - where every moment is documented without interference or alteration. 

Well. I still touch up your blemishes, and I've been known to edit entire children out of the background of photos. But I still prefer the candid, in-the-moment shots that come from letting clients just do their own thing. 

Buuuut, sometimes "on location" means you have to shoot a dozen of Austin's most talented and beautiful dancers in one of its least flattering, most unromantic of locations: Town Lake YMCA. 

As a fellow dancer with these women, I love Town Lake YMCA with all my heart. But weight benches and finger paintings on the walls don't scream "sass," which is what dance troupe Sass N Strut absolutely does. So in honor of the great battle against fluorescent lighting, here are some of my favorites from the past three series.

Cue shameless plug: If you'd like to dance in the next series, beginning Sept. 24, registration is open! Sign up here or check out Sass N Strut on Facebook and Instagram @sassnstrut

Oh, The Places You'll Go

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with four people that the world needs more of. Lisa, Bob, Anna, and Allyson of College Matchpoint are college and education consultants, and they help high school students in Austin, Texas. 

As College Matchpoint revamps their new website, we had some fun with an on-location session around the office. With gorgeous natural light and pops of color, I'm in love with the results from our photo shoot. Enjoy!

Put Some Sass In It

Every once in a while, the personal and professional collide. This week, I had a camera in hand and dancing shoes on my feet while shooting head shots for local dance group Sass N Strut, which I'm so lucky to be a part of! 

This season's performance, set to none other than Queen Bey's "Work It Out," included some strong and beautiful women decked out in gold, gold, and more than gold. Shot on-location in the dance studio ahead of our July performance, the photos from this session turned out fantastic! 

A DC Tog in Dixie: The Environmental Portrait

Sometimes, a pop of color is all you need to make a great head shot. Other times, you have to show people in their element – their home, place of work, or favorite coffee shop – to capture who they are.

Enter the environmental portrait. The phrase is a holdover from my photojournalism days, but it’s one of the most popular types of head shot portraits I do right now, and there are a few elements that go into making a great one.

1.  Light: This should go without saying, since photography is, at its core, an exercise in manipulating a camera to get the best possible (and hopefully most interesting) light. But a space that is well-lit and bright can go a long way when selling a business. For Lindsey, creating a cheerful space was important in promoting her new private practice as a therapist, so I brought in two umbrella lights to help the already great natural light in her office.

2. Intention: Want to capture someone in their element? You have to find a space that leaves no question as to who they are and what they do. The team from Laura Britt Design welcomed me into their 6-room office with no shortage of options in which to shoot. But for lead designer Lauren, the back office, covered in samples of her work, was the perfect spot.

3. Lack of clutter:  Lauren’s portrait makes complete sense for her, but for Orange Theory instructors Melanie and Katie, a more Zen-like approach was crucial. Environmental doesn’t necessarily mean cluttered, and assuring that every item in the photos is intentional keeps the eye from getting distracted. For their fitness photos, a serene pool and a simple metal wall outside their gym allows the customer to focus on them, while also giving a sense of space.

Portrait of a fitness instructor in Austin, Texas
Portrait of therapist in Austin, Texas
Portrait of designer in Austin, Texas
Portrait of a fitness instructor in Austin Texas

A DC Tog in Dixie: Fun with Colors!

Austin’s got some great walls.

Yes, everyone knows about the “I love you so much” mural on South Congress. We’ve all snapped a selfie at the Hope Outdoor Gallery. But some lesser-known pops of color throughout the city can be a game-changer for a simple head-and-shoulders portrait

First, the blue tiled wall on Sabine. Technically at the corner of Sabine and E. 5th Street, and technically two connected walls, the exterior of the Austin Hilton is a popular spot, but worth sharing with other photographers. During my session with Alison, two other photographers came by. Fortunately, the massive wall provides plenty of room.

Second, the exterior of in.gredients on Manor Road. To be specific, the back of the building, facing the parking lot. Sheryl, whose portrait I shot for the cover of her first novel, opened my eyes to the wonders of green with this awesome color-blocked wall. The staff is generous with their space if you check in with them ahead of time, but it wouldn’t hurt to buy a latte while you’re there as well.

Lastly, art galleries! Austin has a ton, and though the exhibit Sarah and James visited for their engagement shoot was only temporary, Art on 5th, Mexic-Arte and Pump Project have rotating exhibits so you never get bored (bonus for Pump Project, the striking yellow on the building’s exterior!). Just make sure to check the photo policies before you go!

Portraits in Austin at the Blue Tiled Wall
Portrait in Austin on Green Wall
Engagement Session with Color