Okay, so you've decided to step up to the challenge and have a professional headshot created. Now you just need to find a photographer. That's not difficult, there are plenty around. Of course, the easiest thing to do is to ask a friend who has had a professional headshot taken.
If you don't know where to begin looking for a photographer, I would search the Internet for local photographers and browse websites.
Some things you want to look for:
After you select a few local photographers, look at the websites advertising their business portraiture. Usually, there will be samples, prices, and an explanation of packages.
Make sure the photographer offers you copyright of the image. You don't want any strings attached or permission granted to use the image for a specific purpose. You want full copyright ownership to use your image at will.
Make sure the photo studio has skilled imaging artists to digitally enhance your photo. Don't let someone tell you this is not important. Even children's portraits are touched up to look best. And I'm not talking about someone to only do color corrections either. You want a photographer or an imaging artist who can blend your skin tones, touch up your eyes, soften shadows and necklines, etc. Don't go to a studio that does heavy digital retouching and will make you look like a 1950s movie star. You know the kind I'm talking about, the ones that make you look so "beautiful" that your image doesn't resemble yourself.
Call the studios that you are interested in and speak with someone there. If they can't answer your questions and put you at ease, hang up and keep letting your fingers do the walking. You need to work with someone who gives you confidence in their abilities. You don't want to call a landscape photographer who will "give it a shot."
If there are no testimonials on the photographer's website, you should for references. The cost of a digital image should be less than what the studio sells paper portraits for. After all, there is no sending the image to a lab. The studio will provide digital retouching and put the image on a CD. The normal price for a business headshot is usually much less than other portrait prices. For one price you should get a portrait session and your image on a CD in color and B&W, hi and low resolution. Additional poses can usually be purchased on a per-pose ba. (I think some photographers charge less for business headshots because it gets potential clients into their studio so the client can see the beautiful family portraits that are created there--it's a savvy business tactic.)
Keep in mind that business headshots are usually shorter, less expensive portrait sessions. Most are priced with one or two wardrobe changes. The more wardrobe changes you want, the more expensive the session may be. That' s because you're using more of the photographer's time. Even if you don't plan on changing your wardrobe, you should expect a change of background.
Let your photographer know what you have in mind for your image. Some authors want to be photographed in a studio setting and others like a more natural background that can be found outdoors or at a local park.
Your photographer should give you around 6 - 8 images to select from.
You don't want a cookie-cutter image created. You want a portrait that will extend your warmth and personality. Make your preferences known to the photographer.
This is Bonnie Doran's author headshot. Isn't it nice?
I like it because it looks like Bonnie, and the pose is open, friendly and relaxed. Bonnie is a wonderful author of a new devotional for cancer patients and their caregivers: Cancer Warriors, 52 Devotions for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them.
I'm happy to highlight Bonnie and her new book. I've read it, and it's great. If you know someone going through a cancer journey or someone caring for a patient, this book will be a blessing. It's real and at times, raw. It's exactly the truth, encouragement, and wisdom that will help someone in one of their most difficult seasons of life.
Be sure to check back next Tuesday. We'll discuss how to prepare for your portrait session.