As an owner of a Louisville headshot and portrait photography business I know first hand that the actual time for creating and retouching images only takes about 20% of the time. The other 80% goes into nurturing client relationships and the management of consulting, emailing, file handling and marketing etc. Sounds chaotic doesn’t it? Actually it can be, and for a time at the start of my career it was very much so. I was constantly creating and modifying price lists, quotes, invoices and agreements. If it was something I was sending to a client digitally, it’s a safe bet it was through a long and daunting manual process. This not only presented a challenge for organizing but it also became very time consuming to the point where my schedule was overloaded. So I began searching out for solutions, from hiring an assistant or intern to various types of software. After some research I discovered 17 Hats, and let me tell you, I wish I had discovered this a lot sooner! After looking over their site and consulting with several peers whom used it theirselves, I jumped on board… I have not looked back since!
One of the 1st things that caught my attention was the robust amount features with an ease of use! As a photographer who specializes in a two different niches, I need to have the varying quotes on hand, ready to be delivered in as a timely manner as possible. What I send to a headshot client is not going to be the same information that I send to someone looking for a portraiture experience. Having a few of these on hand, along with emails that are easily tailored to each of my clients needs has literally saved me hours of work. All of this is easily only matter of a few clicks and keystrokes. At the first whim of an inquiry, I can reply and build a quote from my account based off the client's needs. This allows not only for more time on my end, but the client also isn’t left waiting for long durations of time.
Sample of the quote builder.
A time saving feature of the quote builder is the ability to save your "Products and Services" for future invoicing use. For example, if a client only wants an in and out headshot session to update their LinkedIn profile, I know they don't need the full personal branding session I offer, so I draft an invoice and in the "Invoice Items" section I can start to typing "Headshot" and a dropdown menu appears with all the options associated with that particular keyword. Or for another example, a bride to be decides she wants to add another 2 hours to her wedding and pay for it upfront today. I simply draft an invoice and under "Invoice Items" I type in "Additional Hour" and all my additional hourly rates will drop down in the menu and I select the wedding rate along with how many hours. I then write a quick email thanking her and within a few minutes she has the invoice, payable online via SquarePay (they have other online payment options as well).
"Products & Services" inventory.
Another valuable feature 17 Hats offers is the ability to customize multiple lead inquiry forms. This is one of my favorite features as it ties everything together for me and seamlessly implements the client's information into the management system. I personally have 3 lead inquiry forms, a general one, and two for each of the niches I specialize in, headshots and weddings. Again, every client has different needs, and the questions I ask a bride to be is not going to be the same questions I ask an actor or business professional. Through these custom forms, I am able to collect pertinent information so that I am able to better serve my clients. Information such as where the wedding ceremony will be? Will the reception be at the same venue? How were you referred? This lets me know how my marketing is doing and if a previous client has referred me in which I have a referral system with rewards.
Examples of "Lead Capture" forms.
One final perk of the lead capture form, can we say calendar integration??? Yep! I have a field for the session or wedding date and when they enter one, it automatically enters it into my Google calendar with it's own color coded appointment! Super bonus points for time saving on this one!!! Check out the video below.
Automatic calendar implementation.
These are just a few the features I've found beneficial as a photographer, mind you I am just a small business owner in one particular industry. There is a plethora of other features out there that I've not explored or had the need to use yet but a few of them are -
A few months ago my friend John posted an older video of him plucking the strings in the wake of the passing of his friend. It was a side of him I had not seen before, a side not many of us had seen before... I wanted to capture that in the most intimate and raw fashion possible. No planning, no strobes, no structure... I simply asked him to come by the studio and play while I captured the energy. He came and bore his vulnerable side, I was sincerely moved by the emotions evoked that morning... together we embodied the old soul of a true artist's portrait.
"It's about intimacy. Would you make love with shoes on? No.
Executive Producer - Ken Daniels
Producers - Nathan Thomas Milliner and John Wells
Story - Ken Daniels, Nathan Thomas Milliner and John Wells
Director and Screen Writer - Nathan Thomas Milliner
Cinematographer - David P Bonnell
2nd Unit Cinematographer and 1st Assistant Camera - Jimmy Sanders
2nd Assistant Camera - Kristine Renee Farley
Sound - Brad Reinhart
Score - Joe Stockton
Special FX - Nick Taylor
Creature FX - George Crenshaw
Production Photographer - Gary Barragan
Behind the Scenes Photographer - Bill Spangler
Wrangler of Ticks - Barbie Clark
Stunt Coordinator - Chad Zigmund
Costume Designers - Barbie Clark and Gary Collins
Props - Don West and John Sandor
Speeder Bikes and Props - Derby City Pit Crew
Autumn Barefoot – Make-up
Melissa Majors - Hair
Stunts - Chad Zigmund and Logan Abell
Shaman of Luck - Pocket Storm Trooper
Kanan Jarrus - John Wells
Mara Jade - Krystabelle Dawn
Lots Tane - Jonathan Garlinghouse
Cpt. Quarrie - Darrin Dickerson
Sgt. Saxon - Don West
Pvt. Pizzo - Chad Zigmund
Pvt. Ramos - Clark Spalding
The Ronk - George Crenshaw
Clipar Leader - Gary Collins
Clipar Extra - Phil B. Fox
On Location at the Moon Clipar to document these TK's
Star Wars Hand of the Empire Official Trailer
Behind the Empire Lines
A few outakes under the Emporer's Nose
Special Thanks to Louisville's Iris Pro Imaging for donating canvas prints to the family of Phil Parks at the film premier.
And there was just no way I going to leave set without throwing on a TK bucket! Because Empire Combat Photog. :-)
May the Force be with you...
Canon and Profoto Technical Info
Camera - Canon 5D Mark IV with 50mm f/1.2L.
Key Light - Profoto B1x (StarKiller) with 2 x 3 OCF Softbox and Grid.
Primary Fill - Profoto D1 Air 500 w/ White Umbrella XL (diffused), extra diffusion with Lastolite 6 x 6 Skylight.
Secondary Fill (Camera Right) - Profoto B2 w/ 1 x 3 OCF Strip Box.
Hand Painted Backdrops and Floor Drop - Oliphant Studio.
I give my utmost thanks to Ken, Nathan and John for bringing me on board.
Click on the HOTW Logo below for the official website!
Visit the official site below.
On a small final note, aside from creating a beautiful entry into our portfolio's, I've also realized through this trial that the days of hoping for an overcast to cut the harsh light down was no longer an issue.
Original Designs - Kristina Kubrick of Kilika Couture
Make-Up Artist - Lyndsey Elliot / The Beauty Patrol
Hair Stylist - Michelle Villareal / The Beauty Patrol
Talent - Mallory Rose Mims
Canon 5D Mark IV w/16-35mm f/2.8L II
Images 1 & 4 - Profoto B1x w/White Umbrella XL and Diffuser Cover.
Images 2 & 3 - Profoto B1x w/OCF White Beauty Dish and Diffuser Panel.
Photoshoot and Retouch Timelapse
Although the price tag for the B1xs are high end, I definitely feel they are worth the investment. I tend to be loyal to brands that are dependable and perform when I need them too, this is why I invested in the Profoto system (I am not ambassador nor am I getting paid to write this). I just want to share my experiences with industry standard equipment, that has proven it's reliability time and time again.
My Top 5 Benefits for Profoto B1x's
1. HSS, if you need to control the ambient light (overpowering the sun), the B1x will perform.
2. Quality of light, as with all of Profoto's strobes I've owned, they are consistent, period.
3. Brighter modeling lamp, this is what I need for headshots and getting the pupils to dial down.
4. Modifiers, Profoto's speed ring design, allows me to use my OCF and RFI modifiers I currently own.
5. Wireless, this is liberating both in the studio and on location. Cords can be tedious and sometimes a tripping hazard.
Below are examples of what is considered a professional headshot by industry standards.
Examples of styles that are sometimes mistaken as headshots.
Do you think it's time to add value to your online presence with a visual impact?
If so then let's chat!
Below are examples of make-up, the left column is clean and natural and what I suggest going for should you choose to do your own make up. The right side are examples of bold make-up, which I do not recommend for your session, starting out at least. If we were going for editorial looks or beauty even, this would be the territory we'd venture into. Now I will say, if there is an eye shadow or lipstick that you know just looks absolutely stunning on you, by all means, bring it and we can work it in for the later looks. Just remember there will always be the right tools for the right job and following these guidelines will help achieve a session that will undoubtedly leave a visual impact on your viewer, which is what we both want to see!
Make-Up provided by Amy Weeks
Make-up Model - April Dabney
Cheeks Bones / Contouring
1. First and foremost, let's start with the centerpiece of any suit, the tie!
- The tie should be center aligned and rested snug up against the top button. The width of the knot is subjective to the width of the collars. Arrows 1 and 2 are a perfect example of what not to do.
- To dimple or not to dimple? Although this can be considered subjective, high end suit retailers will say that a dimple is evidence of a perfectly tied knot, most stylists and gentlemen will agree.
- Windsor or Eldridge knot? Windsor every time for the win with business or corporate headshots. But we can alway have fun with other looks and vibes later on in the session. Some people rock a fine Eldridge knot after hours and is a calling card of their personal style.
2. The notorious jacket collar gap, let's get this taken care of fellas!
- This actually starts with the shirt, as the collar should fit neatly yet relaxed around your neck. Generally you'll want 1 to 2 fingers breathing room.
- Next, your jacket should rest snug up against your shirt collar, there should not be any space in between. This is evidence of an ill fitted suit and can be distracting when seen in your headshot. Let's ditch those poor fitted jackets and treat ourselves to something fresh and new.
- Bonus Tip - Your collar tips should be center aligned and tucked beneath your jacket lapels. If your collars are not wide enough to tuck under the the lapels, then they should be laying as flat as possible with the lapel edges and collar tips as close together as possible.
3. Excessive sleeves, this is more for business portraits.
- A lot of times, we like to cross our arms, it's a sign of confidence and sophistication, but nothing can tarnish that image more than a bunch of wrinkles on your arm, in fact it can come off as downright sloppy. Yes, there will be some wrinkles in the sleeves naturally from crossing your arms, but too big of sleeves will be obvious. Your arms should fill out the sleeves, not get swallowed by them.
4. Please have your suit pressed!
- We would not show up to an interview with a suit that has not been freshly pressed would we? How about a business meeting where you are looking to secure a lucrative deal with a client that you have been nurturing for several months? No we wouldn't. So, we should be treating our headshot session the same, this is your one chance to make a visual impact whether it's on social media or a billboard along side the highway. You have one chance at making a first impression, so let's do it right!
5. Complimenting colors and patterns work best.
- If you are not familiar with color theory, then a quick google search will put you up to speed real quick. If your suit has pattern or texture and I always recommend going with a solid neutral colored shirt. Remember nothing to loud or vibrant for your business headshots, we don't want the viewer to get distract our subject, which is you. However we can have a bit of fun and this is where the tie comes back in! We can add a pop of color, or a hint of personality with patterns and textures. A combination I feel that has been timeless through the years is black on gray, not an ideal fit for all professionals, but for those who can, should with the utmost swagger.
Contact me and let's start planning your headshot or personal branding session.
You can read the other blogs here...
KMAC Couture V, Part I of III
KMAC Couture V, Part II of III
The Power of Clean and Natural Make-Up w/The Beauty Patrol and Louisville Photographer Gary Barragan
Now that we've covered all this, let's travel a bit further down the rabbit hole, or should I say deeper in the skin. Pam has always been a gracious educator when it comes to her industry and there are a few things we'd like to touch on that you can do to further help prepare for your shoot! First up, Vitamins! Not only do they assist in maintaining a healthy body, but there are some in specific that can help with a natural glow to your skin as well such as commonly known vitamins E, D and C. However, the human body also has its own natural substances such as hyaluronic acids which replenishes and secures moisture in your skin. This natural acid assists with having a youthful appearance but can also be boosted with additional supplemental hyaluronic acid vitamins and creams along with having a good skin care routine of cleansing. Sleeping in make-up is never good under any circumstances, as it can block your pores leading to issues such as acne, dry or irritated skin and in some cases inflammation of your eyes and surrounding areas. By sleeping with your make-up on you are essentially introducing counterproductive effects to what your body's hyaluronic acids are designed to do. If you have specific areas on your skin or face that you need to concentrate on then you may look at masks, scrubs and serums. There are several options out there on the market but Pam prefers Limelight by Alcone for her clients as it is an organic and chemical free brand with products for skincare as well as make-up. Pam also advises that make-up is subjective for most of our clients. What works for one person may not work for the next so her applications are customized to show the world the best true to life version of you while correcting any slight imperfections.
Lastly, we'd like to touch on a few additional simple tips that will not only help you prepare your skin for a photoshoot, but will also help with maintaining a healthy appearance on a daily basis! For instance, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest can go a long way in keeping a refreshed look. This also helps with energy levels, so not only will you look refreshed but you will feel refreshed as well, which in return will naturally create an attractive energy. With summer around the corner, I know we all like to get a bit of sun but try not to overdo it, as skin can get permanently damaged through time. It’s recommended to use a minimum of SPF 15 when tanning BUT when it comes to photoshoots avoid any makeup with SPF (remember SPF blocks sun light, it will also have an effect on my studio light). It's highly recommended to refrain from tanning (spray or sun) at least 3 to 4 days before your session. During the healing process of your tan, your skin may become discolored beyond a realistic correction with either make-up or retouching and could hinder our team from capturing our best work with you. Following even these last few simple steps will help you go miles in keeping your skin refreshed while exuding a radiant glow which in return will have you looking quite stunning on our set and that is what we all want!
All hair and make-up below are by The Beauty Patrol officers
A personal journal about any given day in my photography career where I will write about anything from portraits and headshots to sharing my educational experiences. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, it's my pleasure to share my stories with you!