Why do you need a headshot?! These 5 reasons!

You need a great, professional headshot! Here's why:

  1. Your image is your first impression! - You contacts, potential clients, potential employers are going to google, make your first impression the strongest possible
  2. You are often first judged by your picture - Just like how you judge my work when you came to this site people are judging you by your online image
  3. A professional headshot can be used for many years - when you invest the time and effort in doing the headshot professionally, the quality of it makes it usable for many years
  4. Send the right message about yourself - Having a professional headshot shows that you have made an investment in your professional appearance.  You take yourself seriously, you are professional, potential employers, clients, recruiters and others will take you more so
  5. You'll use it everywhere on the Internet - next time an online service asks for your profile picture, you'll have it ready

Contact us today to see how we can you strengthen your personal brand.  You are building your brand more than ever with every interaction you have online.  Let us help you start making your personal brand a strong one.   NicholsImages can come onsite to photograph your team all at once and ensure that your organizations headshots are consistent across the organization.  We also photograph headshots in Orange County in our Irvine Headshot studio.  Headshots in our Irvine studio are a convenient way to come in for 20-40 minutes and leave with a range of looks for your professional headshots that will last for years.

DIY Photography Scrim Part 2 - Results!

In my last post I put together a quick little DIY tutorial for making a really inexpensive set of scrims at home for under $30 that would drastically improve the quality of your product photography shots.  You could use this technique for your products that you shoot professionally, or product shots for Etsy, Product shots for Pinterest or other media.

As a quick recap, I made the scrims to soften the light before it hits the product I am photographing.  This is one way to make really nice gradients as a rim light where otherwise you would have a hard edge rim light.  To illustrate this I am going to walk through a couple of examples below.

fig 1. Rim lighting - no scrim in use...

In this first image I have 3 lights on, a key light (main light) in the front, slightly above the bottle and very slightly off to the left side (product left).  The key light has a 10 degree grid on it to keep falloff to a minimum and really focus on the labels.  

The 2nd and 3rd light are each to the side of the image. They are  1'x3' strip boxes (Paul C Buff strip boxes) slightly behind the product and pointed at the sides.  You can see on the image (fig 1) that the bottle is decently lit, and the rim lights are very visible.  Not a terrible looking shot to start with but there is a lot improvement to be made.  The biggest things that stand out to me are the hard edges of the rim light and the ambient light on the background.  I realized pretty quickly the background was too close to my product and was getting lit, not something I wanted.  I wanted the background to be completely black and I would add a gradient to it to help separate the product from the background and add some depth to the overall image.

fig 2. single scrim in place 

For this second image (fig 2.) I have added a scrim between the strip box on the product left side and the product.  Here you can see the difference this makes.  Right away you can how the rim light is now a more attractive gradient vs. the previous hard edge. 

I still have the issue of the other side as well as the background being grey vs. the desired black.  At this point I know the scrims are going to do their job and I need to start lighting the rest of the scene.  I want to add some light inside the bottle to give it some depth as well as add a light to the background to really separate the bottle from it.  As a last piece for this particular shot I want to make the beer really look appetizing by adding condensation to it to give it a just out of the cooler look.

fig 3. - Rimlights, scrim, condensation, background fixed.

In figure three we see how the final shots were starting to shape up.  If you look at the difference between fig 1 and fig 3 you will see a huge change.  The gradient would have been a lot more difficult to pull off without my scrims I made.  The condensation really gives a great effect (I will do another post and potentially a video on adding condensation very soon!), my condensation is just a mixture of glycerin and water sprayed from a small spray bottle or various atomizers.  

I also moved the entire setup about 6' further away from the back wall and added another light with a blue gel draped over it.  From this image you can see how the background became much more uniform by being further away from it.  This is because the distance kept the light from the strobes falling on the background and partially illuminating it.  I also took a gold gel, glued it to a piece of cardboard, cut it to a close outline of the bottle and placed it behind to illuminate the beer from the inside.  

fig 4. final shot, no scrims

If the work of making the scrims seems a bit overkill take a look at Fig 4 compared to Fig 3.  You will see the same exact lighting as Fig 3 but without the scrims.   To me this shot (fig 4.) just doesn't cut it.  The bottle looks nice, background looks nice but the hard rim lights do not.  Terrible, no, but they look a lot better above.  

I am going to put together a video very soon on the construction of this shot and how you can duplicate it or do something similar in your own space.

Irvine | Family Portrait Sessions

One of my goals when I shoot with my clients is to build memories for them that they will want to showcase.  While I do the standard 8x10, 5x7 and 11x14 prints I really love shooting art for my clients homes and working with them after to build collections that they can take up a wall with or showcase in other ways.

After talking with a number of my families that I have worked with I found that nearly all of them wanted to order large prints, acrylic prints or canvas prints or multiples but could really see how it would look in the space.  In the past I have had families tape paper to the wall, and that shows them the group or the size but they really cannot get an idea of how it will look in their home with the actual print.

I knew I had to do something, something that would let them see how the actual prints would look on whatever way they were ordering, from frames, to canvas to other types of prints.  

Below is what I came up with, I have my families now send me a picture of their wall (or walls) with a regular 8.5x11 piece of paper on it.  I ask them to scoot as far back as they can and get the surrounding furniture so we see the room and not just the wall.  From that I figure out exactly how big the furniture, the wall and everything else and start putting together designs based on their request.

I had a family this week that went through about 5 design with me on different groupings and decided on 6 medium size canvas prints.  All of the canvas prints from our Irvine photography studio are mounted on 1.5" thick solid wood frames and look beautiful, take a look below!  This is exactly how it will look on THEIR wall with THEIR actual images!

Canvas grouping sample

One thing about ordering canvas, the more you order, the more I can discount, I have to pay for canvas by the foot, and if I can arrange the print to save canvas I can pass some savings on to you.


Professional Headshots for Job Seekers

...These were two professionals in the industry, one a president of a company and one a senior recruiter at a technology company.  This doesn't mean your headshot needs to be shot on a white background, what it does mean is that it needs to show you, in a professional, confident and approachable manner.  

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Catching the unexpected...Irvine Proposal Photography

Walking down the beach there were all the usual couples, runners, kids, other people out taking pictures hoping the sun would do something that they could catch and remember for a long time to come.  I came around a little bend in the beach and saw this couple standing, holding hands, surrounded by tiki torches completely in their own world, clearly nothing existed outside these two.

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What to wear for your Headshot session

What should I, shouldn't I, why?!

I get asked by everyone one of my clients, a large number of inquiries and almost all potential clients the one question.  What do I wear for my headshot session.  My biggest concern is that someone is wearing something they are comfortable in.  It is already uncomfortable enough just being in front of the camera, I don't want the person I am shooting to compound this by wearing something they wouldn't normally wear.   

For headshots, keep it simple!

Keep it simple! Number 1 rule

Keep it simple! Number 1 rule

I can't stress this enough, a headshot is supposed to be all about you.  Your personality will come through and what you are wearing shouldn't distract from the goal of this shot, highlighting you.  Staying away from crazy / busy patterns, colors that wash you out and complicated layers are good places to start.  For actors I typically want to see 8-12 different looks.  These are headshots so we are really seeing just below the shoulders and up, just the tops matter.  Different colors, different collars, some collars, some crew, some V-neck, a number of different looks that you would normally wear!

Corporate / professional clients the same as above.  You may want shots in a suit, if so bring a couple different jacket, tie, shirt options.  Bring some casual pieces with different looks.  I always want my clients to walk out with a number of different shots in different looks.  You may want a really professional looking shot on LinkedIn where you may want something more casual to post on your facebook, or Google+ or somewhere else.

Lastly, jewelry...

Nothing to big, too flashy, if you are wearing earrings, I really encourage you to use just studs that you like, nothing hanging down, a necklace, let's keep it simple.  Be prepared to do shots without it as well. 

Other than that, relax, let your self come through in your images. 


Introduction - new blog!

I have written articles and posts all over in the past.  I have never really set aside the time to post a personal blog on my site.  Now though with all the different social networks, photo sites, client questions and general inquiries that I receive I plan on taking the time to make regular (or semi-regular) posts here.  

I often market myself as a headshot photographer in Orange County, CA.  I love shooting headshots because I often see the reactions from the person I am working with while we are shooting. 

Everyone feels awkward in front of the camera (almost everyone)! I work to break that awkwardness down and get their personality out and into their images.  Other than headshots I also shoot families, portraits and corporate libraries.  The corporate libraries are shot to give the company an image bank that they may use for 1-3 years in their marketing, annual reports, etc. 

Carlsbad Flower Fields - PhotoExtract featured photogrpher

When I'm not shooting a subject directly I love to get out and shoot landscapes, architecture and other areas that catch my eyes.  One of my recent shots from the Carlsbad Flower Fields this spring earned me the featured photographer spot on PhotoExtract.  

Bookmark my blog, or just come back now and then, I will post as often as I can and want to hear from anyone that may be reading me.