Category Archive: The More You Know

  1. Headshots for Branding

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    I want to dedicate this blog to talk about something more important that just your headshots/portraits and that is, your business. Too often, people take headshots for personal branding and business lightly. Continue Reading

  2. Communicating With a Photographer

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    We all know that the key to every relationship is communication. The relationship between actor and headshot photographer is no different. Through the magic of websites, social media, and reviews, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of what you’re signing up for with a photographer. Ideally, you’ll find someone whose work you love and who you mesh with in style and personality. Here are a few suggestions to get started on the right foot when communicating with a photographer.

    Talk in pictures.
    Photographers tend to be entirely visual so communicating with a photographer visual will lead to a clearer level of communication. If you’re aiming for a particular style, character, or feeling that you’re trying to convey, show us in images what you’re looking for. Words are sloppy and mean different things to different people. I once had an actor tell me that she wanted a headshot that was “sexy, powerful, vulnerable, and commercial, all in one shot!” I smiled and said, “Show me.” She pointed to a photo on my website and I instantly understood everything she had just said.
    You can send photos from a photographer’s website or from anywhere else to explain what it is in an image you want to capture. Sometimes it’s a particular lighting style, etc., but more often, it’s the feeling of the character they’re after.
    Who would you play on TV?
    Know the character types you want to portray in your headshots. Are you a leading man? The best friend? A young mother? The bad boy? Knowing your type helps your headshot team style and coach you through your session to nail those archetypes. When communicating with a photographer, it helps us narrow in even more if you can tell us what characters on TV or in movies you see yourself playing. Are you a Joey on “Friends” or a Sophia on “Modern Family”? Use these well-known characters to help us understand the roles you’ve been going out for or hope to go out for.

    Know how you communicate best. 
    I find that most people prefer electronic communication via email and/or text. If you feel like you get a good feeling from a photographer from their website or have friends who’ve given you a glowing account of ease and style with someone, email works perfectly. If you want a clearer picture or want to describe something that texting just won’t cover, pick up the phone. You can get a lot from a telephone conversation. I’m happy to talk to any prospective client to explain what to expect from my team. I also often have my studio manager talk to them because he’s a working actor who understands what a fellow actor is going through in their pursuit of the perfect headshot. If you’re communicating with a photographer and you’re not feeling like you’re on the same page in that conversation, you can expect it to feel like that through the entire process.
    What happens when communication breaks down? 
    If you see your headshots and they’re not what you were expecting/you wouldn’t be comfortable handing one to a casting director, try to articulate exactly why to your photographer. Saying, “I just don’t like them,” doesn’t help them to understand what went wrong. If you both decide it’s something that could be corrected in another attempt, photographers will often offer a reshoot at a much-reduced price to nail it.
    You may find yourself in a situation where you feel that you’re at an impasse and further collaboration will not result in success. Anyone who watches “Judge Judy” can tell you that if a hired professional does their job earnestly and to the agreed upon terms and you’re still not satisfied, do not expect a refund. Chalk it up to experience, decide how you can be more effective in your pursuit of the ideal headshot, and start over. This usually happens once in an actor’s career and hopefully, with some time to heal, it will be considered a life lesson and make a great story.
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    Contact Martina Magnusson Photography today to schedule a session.

  3. Top Profile Photo Mistakes

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    It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is widely used by companies to find job candidates and poor professional presentation are among the top profile photo mistakes. In fact, over 3 million jobs are posted on the website in the U.S. every month, and over 20,000 companies use LinkedIn to recruit, according to the company.

    As a job seeker, you’re competing against millions of other users to get noticed and have your resume stand out. You might have done a lot to optimize your LinkedIn profile for searches, but you still might be making some big style mistakes. In this article, five experts reveal common LinkedIn profile faux pas and how to fix them.

    1. Using cliches

    Resume writing isn’t the most interesting literary work you’ll do in your lifetime, so it can be easy to resort to job jargon. But your LinkedIn profile is a chance to show off your creativity, so avoid using cliches.

    “Including overused phrases like ‘team player’ or ‘track record of success’ will make you come across as boring and bland,” said Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo, a company that offers CV- and resume-writing services. “Instead, use more vivid words and imagery to snap the reader out of her trance and really make [her] pay attention to your profile.”

    On your profile, talk about a specific instance in which you displayed teamwork, or list out the accomplishments you’ve achieved on the way to success. This type of resume will make you stand out from those of most other people who copy and paste chunks of their templated resumes to their LinkedIn profiles.

    2. Describing your responsibilities instead of results

    The biggest problem with resumes and Linkedin profiles is that people list their responsibilities instead of their professional impact. If you do that, your profile will look like everyone else’s.

    “The key here is to mention results from your involvement in a job,” said Tatiana Rehmova, who works for online resume-building platform Enhancv. “What exactly did you achieve in your role? If it’s ‘wrote articles for the company blog,’ mention how many articles, what traffic did they get, how many times were they shared?”

    Add some numbers and solid data to your profile. For example, instead of saying “increased sales through the implementation of several new marketing strategies,” write “implemented three new marketing strategies, resulting in a 33% increase in sales.”

    Quantifying your achievements this way gives a clear understanding of the extent of your abilities and also makes them appear more impressive.

    3. Choosing a bad profile picture

    Recruiters are human, so they likely will be influenced by first impressions. In the case of your LinkedIn profile, that’s your photo.

    “As more and more of our communication is pushed online, our relationships are with headshots of people that we may never meet in person,” said Mike Sansone, a Chicago-based headshot photographer. “That thumbnail is what will pop into their head every time they think of you. You have to make sure that it presents you in a way that you would like to be perceived.”

    To avoid TOP PROFILE PHOTO MISTAKES, Sansone recommended following some simple tips:

    • Use a solid background. Backdrops in solid colors are best for LinkedIn profile shots. They put all of the focus on the person. “I prefer gray because colors pop off of it nicely,” he said. “It looks expensive and classy.”

    • Crop your photo correctly. Poorly cropped photos are among other top profile photo mistakes. From the armpits to the top of the head is the ideal crop for a headshot. “Profile picture thumbnails are square, and even more recently, circles,” said Sansone. “With all of that excess space being trimmed away, a tightly cropped headshot is crucial for delivering the most impact.”

    • Choose proper clothing. Use attire that a client would see you in. “If you’re an executive in a Fortune 500 company, I would expect you to dress a bit differently than a personal trainer,” he said. “Dressing opposite of what is expected for your industry can cause distrust and lower your perceived value.”

    • Nail a good expression. Your expression is the most important part of a headshot. It also can be the most difficult. Confidence comes from the eyes, approachability comes from the mouth, and personality comes from the eyebrows, according to Sansone. “Getting good expressions is a process, and it can take a while for the nerves to settle,” he said. “Don’t rush your shoot because of fear, or the thought that ‘this is as good as it’s gonna get.’” Take your time and you’ll avoid another one of the top profile photo mistakes

    Read more here.

    To book a session with a photographer, contact us today.