Chapter 25 What is Professional Profile Marketing Photography?


      There are probably over a hundred fields of photography.  Some fields would include, product, landscape, wildlife, architecture, marine, astro, fashion, fashion, wedding photography and many more.  Within  each field there may be subdivisions.  For example, in portrait photography there are baby, senior, family, location, studio, executive, corporate photography and more.  
Anone can take an expensive camera,  point, push a button and take someone’s picture.  

     Each photographer has their own skill set.  A person can be very good at one of the areas, but that doesn’t mean he is good at everything.  For example, would you go to your dentist for brain surgery?  Or for that matter would you want your brain surgeon fixing your teeth?  Both are doctors aren’t they?  They both use sharp things and work in your head don’t they? But each one has their own specialty.  The same is true in photography, even though some will say they do it all, is it realistic to think that they are the best at everything?  To make a living, they may take whatever jobs they can.  A person who takes great baby photos doesn’t necessarily  have the same skill set and specific experience that an executive portrait photographer will have.  But the opposite is true too.  An executive portrait photographer who is busy probably isn’t used to doing babys.

   I would best describe my field of portrait photography as “Professional Profile Marketing Photography”.

   What this means is that we need to go beyond just a good headshot where you look nice.  My objective is “sell you”.  I know that sounds odd, but isn’t it true that the object of a bio, linked in,  resumé, or event promo, is to be hired in some way?  

    The first thing to consider is who you are “selling” yourself to.  What is the “audience” or prospective ”buyer” looking for?  A lawyer?  What type of law?  For example, a criminal defense lawyer has a different audience than a family law attorney. How should you be presented?  

The second objective is how to present yourself as professional, experienced, confident, etc.

The third objective is to actually “connect” with the audience.  This is when a person almost feels that the professional is looking at them, engaging or connecting with them.  

As you can see, it is more complicated than most people realize.  

Find a photographer who specializes in this type of marketing photography  The photographer needs to be someone who is patient with you.  You will already feel awkward and most people hate getting their photo taken.  The photographer has to be glad to spend as much time with you as you need.  Also they have to first consult with you on what you are trying to accomplish.  Then demonstrate how to pose and give you a preview of the session itself.  After that, the photographer has to work with you  to select the most effective photo, showing the details and differences of each photo.  Any photographer who just sends you a bunch of proofs and lets you pick one is not finishing the job, and is short changing you.  I compare that to a chef who sends the ingrediants of the meal to your table and lets you finish his cooking.  

Here are some tips in looking for a professional profile photographer.  
When you first call, ask what their speciality is.
Check out the website.  What is the main thrust of the site?  Remember that these were carefully chosen and may not represent their average work.
Ask for a list (verbal is fine) of the corporations or firms they do work for.  
Ask if you can see examples of their professional profile photos.  Not the ones on the website that were of beautiful people that he picked.  See 50 or 100 of the ones they have done in the last year or so.  There is not a problem seeing them on the photographer’s computer.  

Ask for a detailed explanation of the session itself.  This includes how much time is allowed.  An average headshot session takes about a half hour, but the photographer should have no problem spending more time with you as needed.  Normally it should not take more than and hour for a normal headshot session.