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  • Daniel Wakefield

"Smile!"

Who remembers school picture day? Your class gets called because its your turn. You line up with all the other students and walk down the hall to the room where the photographer is all set up. You wait in line while the kids ahead of you get their photos snapped. Of course, if your last name starts with "W" you always have the benefit of seeing how everyone else handles the situation before you have to do it yourself. As each kid gets called up, they are told to "Smile!" and then you hear a few snaps of the camera shutter and then the kid on deck moves up to picture taking spot. Pretty soon you realize it is your turn. You take a look at the situation to see what this photographer has going on. He has a background hanging up and this weird little carpeted bench thing that you have to kneel on. There's a spot to place your hands and then almost as soon as you get yourself situated, you're told to look at the camera and "smile". You barely smile. You can't be too enthusiastic with your grin, because even if that's what Mom told you to do before you left home this morning, you don't want to look weird and there's a bunch of people watching you too...so no big cheesy smiles are happening. You try a "tough" look but the guy keeps telling you to "smile", so you crack a tiny half-smile. Nothing too drastic, just a little one. Hopefully none of the "cool" kids saw it. But at least the photographer seems satisfied, because he calls for the next kid and you are told to go back to the line. A few weeks later, Mom gets the photos. She's not thrilled with them and you aren't exactly proud of them yourself. But, its all you've got and all the aunts and uncles and grandparents are now going to have that photo plastered on their fridges and fireplace mantles for the next year. Whatever, who cares. Maybe next year's picture will be a little better.


Sound familiar? Maybe you were one of the kids that tried a little harder to look good for the photos. Maybe you actually did have a big cheesy smile that Mom loved! Even if you did manage to get some good picture day photos, I'm sure you still have a few that you're less than proud of. Kids react very differently to that school picture day experience, but I think we can all agree that no matter how seriously you took the request to "smile," you certainly didn't have much time to work on it or to get your best look. You might have gotten a few shutter clicks (maybe a few more if you were being stubborn and the photographer decided he could afford a an extra minute to "work with you") before the next kid was called up.


I have sympathy for those school headshot photographers. They have an almost impossible task. Taking photos of a school-full of kids and teachers and staff in a short period of time ( one day, maybe two?) is a task that leaves no room for expression coaching or posing or fixing hair or anything besides a request to "smile" and a few shutter clicks.


Your experience at Top-Tier Headshots should look and feel VERY different to school picture day! As soon as you meet me, I want you to feel at ease. We well chat a bit about your expectations, take a look at your outfit options, and discuss the basics of how the photo session is going to go. I'll coach you through everything, so you know what to do and you aren't just guessing. I'll help you create facial expressions that convey confidence and approachability. I'll help you tilt your head in the directions that best suit your physical features and I'll bring your best looks out of you. You will have several opportunities throughout the photo shoot to take a look at our progress and make sure you are happy with the results we are getting. After we are done taking photos, we will sit down, grab a coffee, and take a look at the images we captured. I'll help you cull through the photos carefully, so that you can choose the images that best reflect who you are and convey to others exactly what you are aiming for.


I'd love an opportunity to work with you and provide you with images that you can be proud of! The world needs to see who you are and what you can offer. A good, quality headshot can do that! After all, as they say, a picture is "worth a thousand words!"

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