It’s no secret that executive portraits and commercial photography are my “bread and butter,” but I’ve done a lot of different work. Before I found my way into working with business professionals, I was very active in the fashion industry and shot more model comp cards than I can remember. So this week, it was refreshing to go back to my roots and work with one of Dallas’ fastest rising stars in the fashion modeling world, David Miller.
David found his way into modeling under unexpected circumstances. While he was a student at Texas Christian University, his tuition climbed 8% each year and he found himself looking for different ways to pay for his education. One of his friends had recently signed with the Kim Dawson Agency and suggested David do the same. He spent three months trimming down to fit sample sizes and soon after signed with Kim Dawson.
After graduating from TCU and finding a job as a financial advisor, he found himself modeling more and more. David says, “You know, I realized that finance will always be there, but modeling is a lot of fun. It’s become a passion. I never thought it would become a full time career but it’s turned out to be an amazing experience. I wake up excited to work! Every single day is a grand adventure and I just feel so lucky. I truly love what I do.”
At 26 years old, David’s poised to succeed creatively and professionally – he finds himself getting more involved in all aspects of the industry. He’s even begun branching out creatively, producing the October 2015 issue of FD Luxe magazine.
For more on David, check out his Instagram account or get in touch with his representation at Kim Dawson.
I say it almost every day: I love my job. There’s no better feeling in the world for me than when I’m in the studio and helping other people achieve their personal or professional goals. I do my best to position them with my executive portraits, commercial shoots, or new business branding sessions and give them the boost they need in their image. But, many professionals don’t understand the bigger picture of branding. From doctors and lawyers all the way to make up artists and hair stylists, they seem to miss the importance of a digital presence. That’s why I’m giving you the 3 biggest tips to build your digital brand in 2016!
Consider this your “SEO 101” Crash Course:
- If you build it, they will come: the website
If you don’t have a business website or social media page, you’re doing it wrong. It’s estimated that 85% of consumers will check products or services online before they make any sort of decision in the buying process. If they can’t Google you, then you’ve already lost the sale. Be visible, be available, and be online.
- Create quality content
After you have a website and social media presence, you have to create content so you become visible online. No one’s going to find you unless you have searchable, shareable media that interests an audience. Take photos, write whitepapers, post regularly and be consistent. The digital marketplace has the mentality of, “what have you posted lately?” Last year’s newsletter will not hold anyone’s attention – roll content out immediately.
- Get on your grind
Again, the mentality is, “what have you done for me lately?” Stay busy, network, post vigilantly and be current. Stay on top of current events in your industry. Become a thought leader and continue sharing relevant articles. Stay updated on your pages – new photos, new product/service information, recent events with your business. If it appears as though you don’t care about your brand, no one else will.
This is just a start. As you build your brand, you’ll be able to see what parts of your business model need more emphasis than others. Follow these 3 simple tips and I guarantee you will have a profitable 2016!
I love my clients. I go out of my way to build and nurture relationships to the best of my ability. When one of my clients achieves success from an executive portrait session, it’s the best part of my job. It’s what makes my job worthwhile. So this week, continuing my interview series, I sat down with Brandt Roessler and asked him about his recent career success as well as what’s next for the future lawyer.
What prompted you to get new headshots?
Brandt: “I got an internship with a law firm in New York City and each of the interns were required to submit portraits for the company directory. Instead of submitting an amateur photograph—one more appropriate for social media than a corporate directory—I turned to Beau for professional executive portraits.”
Why are headshots important in your industry?
Brandt: “The basic role of a lawyer is to represent his or her client. It’s very important that the client is well-represented in the courtroom and during transactional negotiations. Naturally, appearance is also a factor considered by the client. When choosing a lawyer, the client wants to know that the lawyer both looks and acts professionally. Headshots are the primary way potential clients can see the “face” of the law firm.”
How have executive portraits helped you?
Brandt: “In addition to using the executive portraits from Beau in my internship’s corporate directory, I’ve also used them for my LinkedIn and other social media. The executive portraits helped me maintain professionalism during the internship and, in the end, paved the way for me getting a permanent job offer with the firm.”
What’s next for you in 2016?
Brandt: “I will graduate law school in May 2016 and move to New York City to soon begin work at the law firm where I interned in 2015. When it’s time to update my corporate directory profile from “intern” to “associate,” I’ll turn to Beau to make sure my headshots are updated as well.”
For more on Brandt, visit Roessler2020.
As you’re well aware, I usually talk about the Kardashians, wardrobe choices and make up artists in my blogs. Pretty soft topics. But this week, there’s a certain convention in the Dallas area and a dear friend of mine that are on my mind.
This weekend, the Dallas Safari Club held their annual convention at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center. The exhibits at this year’s DSC Convention ranged from photographic products to hunting gear. Now, normally I wouldn’t get involved or comment on this issue, but my dear friend and fine art photographer Joani White is passionate about the topic. When she recently stopped by the studio for a headshot session with yours truly, I spoke with her to get her perspective on the convention and it’s affect on the wildlife featured.
What’s your perspective on the Dallas Safari Convention?
Joani: “I feel like we’ve gained quite a bit of awareness around the horrific nature of big game trophy hunting with Cecil the lion, and to glorify big game trophy hunting on such a large scale is a step in the wrong direction. These big conventions are disguised on many levels, but the essence of the convention, make no mistake, is big game trophy hunting’s interest.”
What’s your experience with these animals as a wildlife and fine art photographer?
Joani: “I’ve had the opportunity to witness many endangered species in their natural habitat, which has given me a tremendous sense of satisfaction watching them interact in their worlds. To photograph these animals rather than using a gun and robbing them of their existence, I can’t imagine how a person could do such a thing. Being able to interact with these creatures, in their own environment, has given me such a deep personal experience and feels like an honor. I photograph them so I can share their beautiful existences with others. It’s unthinkable that people would hunt and end their lives.”
Why take a stand on big game trophy hunters?
Joani: “With my conservation and environmentalist perspectives, especially with the changing world environment and rising numbers of endangerment of animals, it hurts me on a deep, emotional level. I encourage and invite every reader to educate themselves on rising numbers of endangered animals – elephants, cheetahs, lions, the list goes on. The numbers speak for themselves. Even National Geographic is shedding light on the issue.
As a wildlife and exotic photographer, I can’t stand by idly and watch this continue. I want future generations to see and experience these animals, and if my talents and photographs can do anything to help, then I feel as though it’s my duty.”
Check out Joani’s interview with Ron Corning on polar bear endangerment.
Hello and happy new year! I love this time of year and all the joy I see in the people I encounter. The holidays have such an amazing effect on everyone in Dallas, and it’s especially apparent when looking on Facebook and Instragram. It’s a never-ending scroll full of family photos and Christmas cards. While I enjoy seeing your happy, shining faces, I feel I’d be doing you a disservice not to share a few tips of the trade. Because, let’s face it, no matter how cute your child is, no one looks cute with “derp” face on a Christmas card.
Here’s 4 tips to photographing your family:
1. Get it in during “Golden Hour”
When taking a family portrait, nothing is as paramount as lighting. Make sure your clan shows up before or at 4 pm during this time of year – that’s when the sun will hit the “sweet spot” and give you the amazing lighting you’re looking for.
2. Shoot into the sun
Contrary to popular belief (and logic), shooting your subjects with the sun behind them will create a beautiful, glowing effect that makes your portrait a work of art.
3. Set your camera up properly
This is a big one: check your settings! First and foremost, set your aperture appropriately. For sunny conditions, set it to f/16. For slightly overcast conditions, set it to f/11. For overcast situations, set it to f/8. For very overcast conditions, set it to f/5.6.
Your next tip is your ISO level – make sure it’s higher in low-light situations and lower in bright-light situations. For “golden hour,” I’d suggest setting your ISO level lower since the sun is at it’s brightest.
4. Pro-tip: Use filters!
For those of you editing your photos in Adobe Lightroom, there are tons of free filters at your disposal. They’re called “presets” and will blow your mind. If you want to add even more to your photo or save a mediocre shot, throw a filter on it and salvage your work.
Most importantly though, act like you like each other! Good luck shooting.
Everyone with a camera phone does it at least once a week: we take photos of ourselves. Many of us have come to rely on that front-facing camera and know what angle we look just right. We know how far to extend our arms, how to slouch our shoulders or pull them back and we all know what filter looks right. I hate to be the barer of bad news, but it doesn’t translate in portrait photography or executive portraits.
Most of the poses you’re using for Instagram or Facebook selfies don’t work on a shoot. But here are a few tips on how to strike the perfect pose in your headshot.
Take it easy, it’s just a photo. Breathe, listen to direction and don’t get too stiff!
Keep your chin down
I cannot stress this enough. Keep. Your. Chin. Down. Not only will it actually slim your face, it will generally hide double-chins. Just make eye contact with the camera and make sure you’re facing the photographer unless otherwise directed.
More times than not, photos come out odd for two reasons. The first is the lighting was off in some way. The second reason is the subject decided to go overboard with expressions or movement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to feel free in front of the camera, but always be open to suggestion. I promise, I’ll make sure your photos turn out flawless.
Keep. Your. Chin. Down. Please!
Do the “thin lean”
This is what’s commonly referred to as the “college girl pose” or “my little tea pot.” You know it – hand on hip, turned to the side, knees slightly bent, head tilted. This doesn’t go well on a DSLR, despite looking suitable on your Instagram feed in sparing doses. Please stand up straight and look at the photographer, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Again, relax. We’re just taking photos. I’ll make sure you’re retouched in post-production. Just keep calm and smile.
Image via Instagram
Warning: this is a very opinionated, industry-influenced blog on the rise of the #InstaModel.
Everyone with a camera phone and an Instagram thinks they’re a model lately. I’ve never seen so many posts with the hashtags #model #instamodel #instahot – it’s almost offensive to a person like myself coming from a background in fashion photography. Men and women are constantly, almost obsessively posting pictures of themselves hoping that an agency like Wilhemina, Ford, or Campbell Models will come knocking on their door. As a professional photographer who’s shot thousands of models and now specializes in executive portraits, I’ve seen it all and can honestly say I’m baffled by the rise of the #InstaModel.
I’ve had clients come by the studio to have shots submitted for major publications – which is generally routine – but then seeing how they decided to submit by looking at their Instagram struck me as odd. It’s already a hard-enough industry to break into, but add onto that a plethora of selfies on your social media accounts and it’s almost impossible.
Spoiler Alert: Almost all of you aspiring models pitching yourselves on Instagram will probably not make it. Not because you’re not attractive, not because you’re not ambitious, but because you don’t fit the measurements of sample clothes and you’re not pursuing a career through the proper avenues.
The fashion industry looks for their models based on amazing looks and specific sample sizes. The minimum requirements for female models is in the 5’9 to 6’ ft. range. The minimum male model requirements are in the 6’ to 6’3 ft. range. These vary slightly based on agency requirements from the client, but this is the standard.
2. The Proper Avenues:
If you’re serious about pursuing a modeling career, I cannot stress how important it is to have an agent. By going out and seeking proper representation, you increase your likelihood of getting signed immensely. Make sure that you call around, get headshots done and find an agent that has your best interests at heart.
3. Take Control of your Image
Everyone’s on the internet. Everyone can find your posts and see your images on their feed. Make sure you’re posting things that won’t conflict with the image of an agency and make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Follow these three simple steps and you can go from posting #InstaModel pictures to getting signed with an agency.
More times than not, clients will come in to my studio and try to do their hair and make-up on their own. Sure, your normal ‘do looks great for your day-to-day activities but may not be a great choice for photos. The subtle details of your face get picked up in a big way on camera and everything is magnified.
Thinking that it’ll be just like a selfie photo shoot, people come in and expect me to retouch any blemishes or imperfections. While that may work great with Instagram filters, it’s just not the same with a DSLR camera. The lens picks up everything. Everything. Any loose hairs, any missed spots, anything.
Hair and make up artists are necessary.
First of all, they’re skilled professionals who are educated on exactly how to perfect a look and style you. They’ll make your photos that much better and give you that extra “oomph” you need to further your professional endeavors.
Second, they’re detail-oriented. While we get ready as fast as we can and say to ourselves in the mirror, “good enough,” they look over your hair and face and pinpoint which areas need more attention. They have the tools and the products to make you look flawless.
Third, and perhaps most enticing, they’re not as expensive as one would think. They’re affordably priced for one of my one-hour photo shoots and come straight to the studio.
Contact me for rates on an executive portrait session and ask about the amazing hair and make up artists I work with.
This week, Khloe Kardashian (I’m her biggest fan, by the way) fought back against the swarms of angry people calling her out for retouching her recent Complex cover shoot. In the side-by-side photos, you can see how the shadows and lighting have been lightly edited.
Key word: lightly.
That’s the secret to a good retouching job – making sure that the subject’s main features aren’t distorted or too edited but still enhancing the focus of the image and cleaning up any unwanted blemishes or distractions.
I’m the first to admit that I’m a huge fan of retouching. I believe, if someone’s going to spend good money on a photo shoot, that they should receive the best possible images. And I understand why there were so many people upset over the use of retouching – it portrays an image of perfection to girls and women viewing the images and may set unrealistic standards. But the fact of the matter is this – Khloe is a brand in and of herself. She is selling herself and her fitness, and if the photographer sees fit to lightly retouch her images, then I see no problem with that.
I use the same techniques in my photos. My niche is executive portraits and commercial photos, and that’s the goal of my shoots – to “sell” an executive or a professional and help them further their business. But I always make sure to highlight their features instead of changing them all together. Now, this hasn’t always been the case. I’ve definitely made mistakes retouching images and gone “overboard,” but after years of experience and perfecting my craft, I’ve learned how to do it right.
So, go ahead Khloe! You look amazing, retouched or not.
I’m the first to admit that I’ve made a lot of mistakes over my career. Everything from bringing the wrong equipment to a shoot to a poor retouching job on the images or even arriving late to a set, the list goes on. But I learned more from those experiences than from a book or from the advice anyone could have given me.
I feel the same way about all the different roles I’ve had in the photography industry. From shooting fashion to catalogs to events, I’ve gotten the chance to see how the business works in so many different facets. But what I found over many years of experience was where I fit: executive portraits.
Here’s how I found my focus in the industry:
- Try everything you can: It took me many years and many jobs to find the role I’m in now. I dove into different types of photography and learned from amazing professionals that came before me. I was open to new experiences, even if they didn’t always work out. To be honest, I would have never thought I would love shooting executive portraits. But I do – it’s a way to help people further their image and their career. It helps create a people create a new image for their career. And had I not dipped my toes into many waters, I may not have found my way here.
- Ask questions: There will always be someone who has more experience than you. Find those people and pick their brain. Listen to what they say. Ask them as many questions as you can. There are no such thing as “bad” questions. Only unanswered ones.
- SEO: The best thing that I’ve invested in, besides my own equipment, was search engine optimization. It made me more accessible to potential clients and broadened my reach to the market. SEO can be an expensive endeavor, but it will pay for itself in no time.
- Professional networking events: Events held by BNI or other networking groups allowed me to meet other professionals and become better known in the market. It allowed me to reach more people and develop personal connections with clients.