Head Shots

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!

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

A DC Tog in Dixie: Taking Your Own Head Shots

There are times when having a skill-based career benefits us. Coders and designers can create their own website, accountants enjoy a smooth tax season, and mechanics are saved from having to describe “that weird noise” their car makes when they start it.

Photographers can take their own head shots. But I wouldn’t recommend it.  

I’ve been shooting business head shots for 10 years, and my process is pretty streamlined. So when I cut 8 inches off my hair and needed new ones, I assumed the entire process would take 15 minutes – As a photographer, I give good direction, so I would be my easiest client. Every shot would be a winner.

The "excessive lean."

The "excessive lean."

Every shot was not a winner, and it took an hour. Never mind the basic logistics of setting up a timer and adjusting the focus when there is no subject to focus on. Since my camera doesn’t have an adjustable display screen, not being able to see myself led to some unfortunate outtakes.

The "I hate my glasses." 

The "I hate my glasses." 

There was the excessive lean, inexplicable and awkward. There was the “glare on the glasses” look from the studio lights (the face I’m making reminding me how much I hate wearing my glasses) and the shot my friends describe only as the “smizing” photo. Not ideal for a business head shot.

The "smizing."

The "smizing."

In the end, I finally got a shot that worked – the winner featured on this very website. But at 30 minutes of setup and an hour of shooting, it solidified my decision to hire someone else the next time I drastically change my look.

I envy mechanics, accountants, and coders. Because when it comes to images, particularly the image of yourself you want to portray, there is no substitute to hiring a pro photographer to be your guide. Focusing on smiling is hard enough without also focusing a camera.