The first image was my earliest photograph of Bette shortly after I had just met her. The second photograph was taken in Ireland the day before her youngest brothers wedding nearly 19 years ago and the last photograph was taken this past year with her adoring dog Molly in our Rockville, Maryland studio. Of the hundreds of exposures I’ve taken of Bette these are my favorites. 60% of the portraits I take are of women between the ages of 30 and 60 largely due to the fact that there has been a tremendous increase of women in executive positions. One might say that I’ve had my own in house executive to sharpen my skills with all these years. Incidentally, Bette is the CFO of Carl Cox Photography, Inc.
My assignment last week encompassed photographic coverage of The first International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation workers convention, which is now the largest union in the United States and Canada. It was held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This historical event required my skills not only as a convention photographer but also an Industrial photographer. A daily newspaper was published each day which meant fast turn-a-round plus many of the images will appear in the union’s Journal. The most exciting part of the event came when I photographed a panorama with 1200 delegates. At the same time my wife, Bette, Photographed me on a scissors lift doing what I do best which is enjoying my job! To me this was the opportunity of a lifetime and I made every effort to record everything with precision including images of the entire set-up for the production company, the hotel and the client.
The testimonial says it all… ”
Carl, thank you so much for your beautiful photographs! It was wonderful to work with you & we hope to see you again sometime soon.”
Jeneanne Rae and Staff
The assignment was on locacation in Alexandria and was focused on producing new portraits for the Motivstrategies website. I had worked with Jeneanne several years ago when she headed a firm called The Peer Group.
I can remember the black and white photograph of the Iron workers sitting on a beam suspended dozens of stories above the Chicago skyline eating their lunch. It was with great pride that I took an assignment with the Union to photograph these highly skilled men and women being trained to teach apprentices the trade at Washtenaw Community College near Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were dozens of specialty classroom sessions with exams and many practical skills classes. Many of the images will be used in the Iron workers Journal. Though it wasn’t a part of the assignment the more I photographed these men and women the more I wanted to capture portraits of the character and hard work ethic that showed itself in their eyes and faces. These are the men and women that are going to continue to be the backbone of what made our country safe and strong through it’s structures in cities and bridges across America through the last two centuries.
Some Tips To Ensure An Effective, Professional Headshot
If you find yourself in need of a current headshot, it’s understandable you might feel the urgency to get “something” on line you can use right away. In the short term, that may be an acceptable compromise.
It’s easy to allow an inferior headshot to linger on your Facebook and LinkedIn profile. If your current headshot doesn’t look professional or show you at your best, it’s time to change it.
Your website and social media page isn’t the place for a quick snap that your friend took yesterday. It may be current, but won’t look professional. Remember, this is a photo that just about everyone who comes in contact with you will probably see. Yes, they’re all looking at you. A professional, flattering, effective headshot is well worth the small investment.
Here are some tips to ensure you get an effective, professional headshot:
- Select an experienced, reputable photographer who has a choice of backgrounds and his own lights. Portrait lighting is crucial and using it correctly separates the professional from the amateur. A great headshot requires an expert photographer who knows how to properly light your face. Check out the photographer’s website and ask to see sample headshot work.
- Find out if the session fee includes basic retouching or if this will cost extra, and make sure you’ll get the final shot in different file sizes, so it can be used for web posting or printing.
- Drink plenty of water starting at least the day before your headshot session, as well as throughout the day of your shoot. It’s not a myth: being properly hydrated will actually help you look better in your shots!
- Get a good night’s sleep before your headshot session. Make-up and image retouching can mask only so much; they won’t hide a tired look in your eyes.
- If possible, schedule your headshot for a time when you can arrive a little early, and not feel rushed about leaving. Being relaxed adds an air of composure to your portrait.
- For men during a late-day session, a touch-up shave at mid-day is recommended.
- Dress in the fashion which you feel best represents you and your business. Make sure you bring some clothing options. Solid colors are best. Avoid large or bold patterns and bright colors. They draw attention away from the face.
- Accessories and jewelry should be limited to small non-distracting pieces.
- Check yourself out in the mirror right before your session starts. Even if you’ve hired a make-up artist for your shoot, check out the result yourself. Confirm your tie is straight or your scarf adjusted just so, smooth down your hair if necessary. Take a moment to be sure that you look the way you want to be seen. The added confidence of that one moment will read in your photos.
Following these basic tips will give you the headshot that’s required for today’s competitive marketplace. It all starts with you being prepared, and the chemistry you’ll find with the right photographer.
One of my many assignments today was to photograph Jack Markell the Governor of Delaware who is chairman of the board of JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) which was meeting at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. A photographer might not be shooting pictures of a governor every day. But we are often called on to photograph business executives and many of the same principles that applied when I was photographing Governor Markell were the same later in the day when I was shooting a series of executive portraits at the Moran Company which is a health care research and constulting firm with expertise in Medicare & Medicaid reimbursement located in Arlington, VA. These particular images will be used for their website. My biggest challenge is to keep the subjects engaged with the camera, I find it helpful to use a tripod so I can make eye contact while pressing the shutter. Most clients with the exception of CEO’s, public speakers and politicians have a tendency to recede away from the camera and it’s my objective to get the subject to project towards the camera. With the Moran Company I had nine subjects and some watched on as I photographed their co-workers, in this situation, it’s not easy to keep people relaxed and engaged but I had to do it. My equipment is very portable so I walked around the office moving away from the co-workers and isolating the subject to control the situation. When I photograph large law firms or companies with 20 or more partners or employees I schedule the sessions for five minutes between each person for that very reason. While photographing the Moran Company I used both natural light and studio light and sometimes even the combination of the two. It’s important to remember that one must work fast, for example I had five minutes with the Governor on location and very limited lighting equipment. Most of the time I rely on one off camera light which is usually a Nikon flash in a soft box or some sort of light modifier on a rolling stand and oh yes, I always bring a collapsible reflector.