Blog by Lori Stead
A little something about photography...
A little something about photography...
I spend a lot of time talking to seniors and getting to know them. Most are excited about graduation and wonder what the world has in store for them. For many, graduation will be their release into the world, often the first time they’ve been living on their own.
I love capturing images that will remind them of their journey, but I love hearing about their thoughts concerning the road ahead. I listen. Some things they tell me, and other things become clear without having to be said aloud.
Are you wondering what to give your senior for graduation? Maybe I can help…
Sometimes you know EXACTLY the right thing – it’s something they’ve been needing or wanting and maybe you’ve already purchased it and have it waiting. If you DON’T know what to get your graduate, then you’re in the majority.
The needs of young adults vary, as do their interests. But here is a list of the top five, guaranteed-to-please graduation gifts!
If you found value in this article, please leave me a comment. Thank you so much for reading!
All of the above images were taken with my cell phone and cropped to be about the same size, making for a smooth comparison. Folks, let's talk about selfies...
I am constantly explaining to anyone who will listen… you do NOT look like your selfie! Check out your feed from any social media platform and examine all the selfies. Those pictures are taken close to the face and they are seriously distorted. The current trend is to get your eyes closest to the phone to make sure they look huge! You’ve seen this, right?
The problem comes when your nose is actually the closest thing to the camera. The closer your face is to the camera, the more distortion your image will have. Period. Whatever is closest will appear the largest. Your nose will ALWAYS look bigger than it is in a standard selfie. Always.
I read a fantastic article in Newsweek and it explained that more people are getting nose jobs because they don’t like the way they look in their selfies. What?!? Oh my gosh, y’all… we have GOT to educate ourselves! Your nose appears about 30% larger in a selfie. That’s a HUGE disparity between image and reality!
This excerpt really stood out to me… “In January, a survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) found that 55 percent of plastic surgeons said that their patients requested surgery to enhance their face to look better for selfies in 2017, while only 13 percent claimed to have executed a selfie-related surgery in 2016.”
So what’s going on? People are taking a standard selfie and the camera is about a foot from their face. There are simple solutions… my favorite is the selfie stick. It’s awesome, even if your running buddies tease you about it… then all admit they secretly love the effect. It gets the camera away from you. And what is optimal for an accurate image? About five feet away. The selfie stick can do this. But what if you don’t have a selfie stick? Put your camera on a timer, set it down, and step back. Or grab the nearest person and have him or her take the picture for you. Want to see how it should be done? Check out THIS VIDEO that I made a while back for a different blog post.
But let me tell you what you should NOT do… you should not look at an image taken from a foot away and think it’s an accurate depiction of your face. It is not.
Much love, readers.
What is your goal?
If you’re looking to take a new business headshot, you have to first determine your purpose. Most people come to me and tell me they need a new headshot. That’s all they know. The one they’re using is either outdated or unprofessional and they are ready to upgrade. But there is more to a professional headshot that simply a photograph – you need to realize that you are conveying something about yourself to your viewer.
So what is it that you want to show everyone? There are three basic things you can convey with a profile picture: Competent, Likable, and Influential. Folks, I have to tell you… you can do well in all three categories, but depending on your pose, clothing, and expression, different categories will rank higher.
So how do you pull it off? Mainly with your body angle and expression. Want to rank higher in influential? A smile is not necessary and may even lose you points. But if you don’t smile, you will NOT do well in the likable category. Want to look competent? Wear a suit jacket and get a professional headshot. Period. Easy day.
So which category matters most? A lot of it depends on your career. We don’t care if our accountant is likable, but she better be competent. We don’t care if our pediatrician is influential, but he better be likable. Figure out what you’re trying to CONVEY. Then give me a call and let me do the rest.
When I get clients in for studio headshots, I take a LOT of pictures of them at varying angles. Then I proceed to upload the images and look over them with my client. This either lead to a favorite image or a very clear understanding… We ALL have a preferred angle. Sometimes my client is able to choose a favorite, I edit it according to their specifications, and we’re done.
But sometimes, looking over the images leads us to a conversation and an understanding – we ALL have a “best” angle for us… and it’s unique. After looking at the images, if a client is unhappy with all of them, my client knows exactly why and we do it again… we always get their idea of perfection the second time. They’ve had time to evaluate and work their best angle.
Why am I sharing this? Well, because I have my best angle, too. I have awful angles and pretty angles. My nose isn’t small and it has a bump, which can make it look larger than it is at the wrong angle. I love my bump and wouldn’t change it, but I’m being realistic here. Also, I love my jawline (thanks, Mom!). When possible, I like for it to show. Oh, and my teeth. Despite braces in my teens, my teeth have shifted and I have one in particular that makes me feel insecure (I WILL fix it one day, but today is not that day). It is inset slightly and shadows in an ugly way at the wrong angle. So what do I do? I aim THAT tooth at the camera so there won’t be any shadows on that tooth. And I like my face tipped slightly upward… because jawline. See? I have preferences. It is truly what helps me empathize with my clients. And people I know would never think the same things about me that I just shared with you… we are our own worst critics. But that doesn’t change the facts. We all want to share an image of ourselves that makes us feel attractive. Me too!!!
So, without further ado, here are my tips…
Need a great headshot? You already know that going to a professional will be your best bet at an awesome outcome. But if you MUST do it yourself, here are some tips and tricks that will help you with your headshot selfie.
You can create a pretty decent picture on your own. Still, if time and money allows, your best outcome will be when you use a professional. Set yourself apart and show you care about your business, your profession, and your image - call to schedule your professional headshot. Not only will you get a great image, but professional editing, as well!
It is the season of giving! Lost for ideas? Think about the people in your life… Are they into fitness? Technology? Cooking? Are they going on about their latest diet – paleo, keto, vegetarian, whole30, etc? Are they travelers? Homebodies? Bookworms?
That’s the best place to start – consider what you already know about them and go from there.
Let’s start with those who are foodies, like to cook, or are trying out the newest way of eating… Who has heard of the >>>Instant Pot<<<? I have SO many friends going on and on about how awesome it is! I don’t need one… I’ve gotten along just fine this long without it. But I SURE am curious about it! It’s one of those things that would be awesome to get as a gift – especially because I’m not likely to buy one for myself.
And here in the Coastal Bend, water activities rule the day! If someone you know is always on the water, they NEED a >>>waterproof pouch<<< for their phone. I have one that is very similar to the one in the link and I LOVE it! I wear it at the beach, when I’m out kayaking or paddle boarding, Schlitterbahn, or any time there is a chance my phone will get wet.
Or maybe someone you know is ALWAYS losing their keys? I know it was always my mom losing her keys when I lived at home. I’m not that person, but I KNOW those people… and so do you! Check out the >>>Tile Sport - Key Finder. Phone Finder. Anything Finder<<< - perfect!
Or maybe you’re shopping for someone who really just wants to be completely absorbed in their phone? Or maybe they are a student who needs to be ABLE to get completely absorbed. If that’s the case, check out these >>>Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones<<< - those should do the trick!
Maybe you’re shopping for someone who travels frequently. Hubby and I just returned from an awesome trip over Thanksgiving and let me tell you… we REALLY could have used <<<The Airhook<<< - it attaches to the tray table in an airplane and holds your phone or tablet, as well as your drink. Awesome!
Also, we have pointed out these >>>Really Cool Scratch Maps<<< and keep considering getting one. Disclaimer: I’m not sure if we would enjoy it, or be sad at all the places we HAVEN’T been… Still, definitely worth considering in the gift giving department. Unique and REALLY cool!
Okay, next up is something I WILL have one day… when my son is old enough not to try to ride it – haha! I think the >>>Roomba<<< is one of the most clever invention for busy adults. I would LOVE to come home to a house that has been freshly vacuumed. #lifegoals
Maybe you know some new homeowners? Well, EVERYONE needs to have a good cordless >>>DeWalt drill<<< for household projects. This beast of a tool can do SO much! And you almost can’t destroy them.
And for the children in your life? >>>Squishmallows!<<< They come in a variety of sizes and are soft, squishy perfection! Also, once your kids are all super into these soft fluffies, you can go print them infinite squishmallow coloring pages directly from the website.
Rather a game for the kiddos? Try >>>Gamewright Cha-Cha Chihuahua: The Game of Dancing Doggies<<< - we don’t have this, but I want it! I think all FOUR of my kids would get a kick out of it, and they range from age 3 to age 12!
Now, if you’re looking for some fun and unique gifts that are relatively inexpensive? I have to give Buzzfeed credit for putting together an awesome list! Check it out >>>HERE<<<
Hey, if you found this article particularly useful (or maybe you want to use it to drop some hints!), then PLEASE share! And make sure to leave me some love in the comment section ;)
I recently met one of the most fun families I’ve ever photographed! I did what I usually do – met with them, met the kids, talked about what to expect, answered questions, and figured out the what and when of our session. The kids are teenagers and I never know what to expect from teens… Will they be surly? Angsty? Bored? Excited? Fun?
When I met these two, I knew we were in for some fun. The whole family, actually – they just radiated joy and energy!
So we talked about getting some FUN family portraits. I wanted to capture the family playing and goofing around like families often do… and it really got me thinking. Every family plays differently. I have a family of my own – four kids, a husband – it’s not quiet in our house, but it IS fun!
So here is how you do it:
Feeling inspired? Good! Leave me a comment :D
I love LOVE. I love being in love and I love being married and I love dating my husband. Not that you stumbled on over to the blog to hear me wax poetic, but seriously… I love… love.
I love encouraging my female clients to give their significant others a “Little Black Book” album of them looking their sexiest. Let’s call it my little contribution to keeping the passion alive. But I love reading thoughts others have on the same topic. How do you constantly and creatively let your partner know you are still thinking about them all the time, that you still want them all the time, and that you’re still so happy that you belong to each other?
I was recently reading a >>>VERY clever article<<< and there are definitely a couple of things on the list that I want to do for my love.
Oh, and I think they should add, “Give him an album of you looking HOT” to the list of timeless gifts. Just sayin’
There is a lot that goes into a portrait session, from planning, to execution, to editing. I truly enjoy every aspect of it! But it IS a process and the best images are created from that process.
Ever wonder what photographers do when they aren't actually taking the pictures? Well, here is just a piece of the process:
1. Plan the session. This involves consulting with my clients and meeting with them in person, when possible. The more advance notice I can get on the booking, the more likely we are to get some good planning time.
2. The portrait session. This is you (and your family, if it's a family session) getting out the door on time, being prepared to actively participate in the session, and me taking the pictures. I have the technical and creative end of this covered. Your cheerful participation is what will make your session amazing!
3. Culling and editing. I take a LOT of pictures... typically hundreds at each session. People blink about once every six seconds. For each person you add to the image... well, you can do the math. There are a lot of unusable images just from blinking. Also, not every expression or angle is great. It truly becomes a numbers game - I take enough images that I can afford to cull any that don't excite me. I narrow the session down to about 20 or so images and I spend time retouching each image to make it as perfect as possible. This includes getting rid of awkward bulges, blemishes, and trash/debris at the location, among other things. It takes about 10-20 minutes per image (more for newborn and boudoir... there's a lot of skin to edit on those). Again, you can do the math. It's not something I rush through. I tend to be a bit OCD about my editing and I take a lot of pride in my work - you will benefit from this ;)
4. The Viewing and Ordering Session. You will meet with me and choose your favorites. This is when you make your selections and your purchases. It takes about 1-2 weeks for your order to arrive. In the meantime, you get to enjoy the "share files" - digital files sized for social media sharing - while you wait for your order.
Simple enough, right?
If you have any questions at all, or you're ready to book a session, give me a call! 361-445-4661
Enjoy this video of me explaining all this on Facebook Live!
"Lori is an exceptional photographer, and was my first choice for capturing images of my son for his senior pictures!! She made him feel at ease immediately, traveled to the locations he was interested in, and captured who he is perfectly!" ~ Tonia R.
Lori Stead is a fine art portrait photographer in Corpus Christi, TX. She enjoys creating maternity, newborn, seniors, couples, family, children, and boudoir portraits. She is also a wife, mother of four, and adventurer.