How do you add value to your corporate headshot? I had a situation the other day where a doctor was coming to my studio for a new set of corporate headshots for his website. His wife did all of the communication prior to the session. The afternoon before the session, I gave him a call for a quick chat to ascertain who I will be having in front of my camera. For most of my headshot sessions, I need those few minutes to find a connection while informing the potential client about their headshot session and answer any questions they may have. He also informed me of his aversion to camera and photography as the subject. I jokingly advised him that on the day I would rip off what he perceived as camera avoidance malaise away and it would then become my problem hence he would not need to worry but have fun. He proceeded to say, if I could guarantee it then we were on. My word was ‘’done’’.
From our chat I knew that he was actually an awesome guy to be around socially but his serious aversion to being in front of a camera was also vivid. Bruno The Corporate Headshot Doctor diagnosed that he suffered an acute case of Picture Avoidance Syndrome. So in order to combat that, I would have to prescribe the following:
- One dose of welcome and salutations upon arrival at the car
- One dose of massive social interaction
- One dose of role playing (college buddies reunion)
- One dose of One To One on the fly (discuss family, kids, grand children) – this I called Sherlock Holmesing my client.
The morning of the session, I made connection with my client right away as I stepped outside of the studio to greet him at his car. His first words were ‘’Gosh you are much taller than I thought’’. I am actually 6’8’’ (203cm) tall. My reply was ‘’Here goes another one picking on me instead of picking on someone their own size’’. He was in company of his wife, we all had a great laugh and there was our connection. At that instant we all were almost on a friend to friend basis. Now that I got him chilled, all I needed to do was to beef him up for his headshot session. Since we were already on a friend to friend basis, we carried on with our pleasantries and jovial interaction.
All along I was already working on him. I was Sherlock Holmesing his face to judge which side was more prominent and favourable to the camera. We must have spent 30 minutes just goof-balling and finding out more about each other literally. When it was time to get the show on the road, I noticed his picture avoidance syndrome kicking in. A few test shots confirmed his aversion. So for the remedy, I decided to instigate another conversation that did not have anything to do with corporate headshot session. I introduced our pretended old university buddy days and got him to play that role. He took off with the role and started recounting a true story of his college days with one of his friends with whom he and his wife had spent time with just days prior. His demeanour was completely transformed and we played with that story telling for a few shots. Once I got him where I knew I could finally get that awesome shot for him, I instructed him to go change into one of the shirts he brought along for the session. Only a handful of shots after he returned in front of my camera, BOOM SHAKALAKA ”I got the shot” I told myself.
Just to confirm that I crafted the headshot I was happy to give him, I went through the process of reviewing the images with both he and his wife. As I cycled through the photos, all three of us exclaimed in unison ‘’THAT ONE’’. I turned around for some Hi-5 action, my client said that his grand children would love this photo. There was a slight moment of silence as we both got emotional. It then hit me again that it was never about the dials, buttons and whistles on my camera and the big lights in my studio. It is all about our character and charm as individuals. Making our characters attractive to others does add value to our services and products. The value here for my client was the experience, the fun, the interaction and the photography was just the vehicle to craft the headshot he really needed for which he was so adverse to because he had never had such a pleasant experience.
My Mentor and friend Peter Hurley says ”I am 90% Psychologist and 10% Photographer”
This client is actually a Clinical Psychologist.