Blog by Lori Stead
A little something about photography...
A little something about photography...
You’ve been preparing for months! You booked a portrait session, you planned the outfits for your entire family, you had your portrait session and now you are super excited about seeing your images! Now what? What is your plan for those images?
If you’re like many people, you know it’s time for updated pictures of you and your family. You don’t want to miss those milestones and you value portraits – you love having professional images taken that wow you every time you look at them. But in this modern age, what do you do with the images?
Many people hire a photographer and just want digitals. But why? So they can sit in a drawer or a safe on a USB? What’s the point of that? The purpose of an image is to view it – to look at it and remember, to feel, to enjoy.
When I was a child, we had so many picture albums! My siblings and I used to sit together, looking through them, asking our parents about people in the pictures, listening to the stories of those people, or the stories of us. Those pictures opened the door for those stories. How many of you are giving your own children that experience?
In the days of film, there was only one way to see your pictures: you printed them. And once printed, they needed to be stored. Hence, the album. But folks, it’s not too late! And albums have come a long way! Albums are but one of the many ways of seeing your images.
My favorite way to view images is by making them into wall art. I LOVE providing my clients with beautifully matted, framed images of their families. I love knowing that they will see that image every time they walk into the room. As your children grow older, you will see them as they were in that moment. And you’ll have memories. And you’ll share those memories as they occur.
So, I got an email from MCP Actions and it was like a blast from the past! This company has been around a long time and it’s nice to know they’re still thriving. Some of the first actions I used were some of theirs and that was over a decade ago!
Now I’m a full time professional photographer and I make my own actions and sell them. I collect images I take of skies and horizons and I make my own overlays. I’ve learned so much and have come such a long way… and it benefits my business, but it comes with few accolades.
But I got an email that said, “You have a great eye and your photos are gorgeous! We would love to see what you can do with this preset on some of your upcoming shots!”
They gave me a choice of presets or overlays. I chose some really cool overlays – the “MCP Sunshine Overlays.” (If you're interested, you can purchase them HERE) I don’t offer anything like that, so it seemed like a fun choice and a creative thing to play with. I was right! Really cool!
It’s funny… I RARELY use overlays in my work. And the only time I use sky overlays is when our skies look bland, which is rare in South Texas. But playing with these fed my creativity. It reminded me that there are so many options for each image… the outcomes are limitless!
Want to see some before and after images using some of the overlays? I made a cool video, and there is even a bit of a tutorial toward the end.
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
"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.