Like a lot of people, I don’t like having my picture taken, but I was in the early stages of revising my business website and my designer suggested that I have a head shot taken. She said potential clients want to see for themselves that you’re a real person. I decided she was right and started looking for a photographer who would take head shots.

Do some comparison shopping

There are a lot of things to think about before hiring a photographer to take your head shot. Like everything else, it’s important to do your homework. Find out what’s available, how photographers differ, and what your choices are.

The first thing I did after deciding to hire a photographer is “google” head shot photographers on my cell phone. I was looking for a local photographer, and I also wanted to know all about their services. This was a new experience for me and before I hired someone to take my picture, I wanted to know what I could get for my money.

I learned that the services and costs vary depending on the photographer. For instance, prices for sitting fees may include only ten shots, and the sitting fee time may range from thirty minutes to an hour or longer.

Choose three photographers and call them. You can find out more by talking to someone, and you can find out what they really do offer.

Do photographers offer discounts?

I discovered that most of the head shot photographers I found online offered coupons and most offered rapid turnarounds on the digital photos.

One photographer gave potential clients a discount if head shots were taken on Wednesdays. Another photographer promised low rates because of the low amount of digital images taken. Several photographers promised potential clients a choice of professional backgrounds. Their sitting fees were reasonable, at least I thought so, for a session ranging from thirty minutes to an hour; all of the sessions took place indoors.

I almost booked with the person who promised a discount for head shots taken on Wednesdays, but I didn’t. I wanted something different, something out of the ordinary. I really didn’t want to have my head shot taken in a photographer’s studio, and I definitely didn’t want to look like everyone else. So I kept mulling over what I wanted, made a list of must-haves, and kept looking for the best photographer for my head shots. I found her.

Book the photographer who’s right for you

Her name is Lisa Perez. Her specialty is taking photographs outdoors in Colorado Springs. I knew about her work because she had taken photographs of my daughter and her family the year before. I knew she took quality photographs. I had seen her work firsthand. I contacted her to see if she took head shots. She said she did but only a few; they weren’t her specialty. We talked a little more about the possibility, and we both decided to continue the discussion. She invited me to visit her website and see for myself. I was sold. I booked the sitting and took the plunge.

The day of the sitting

The day of the sitting came, and I had no idea what to expect, except Lisa told me to bring clothes to change into. I met Lisa in downtown Colorado Springs at Pikes Perk on the agreed upon date for the shoot. Remember, I had never done anything like this. I was nervous, and I was a little stiff. Make that very stiff. Lisa did her best to relax me, but the first few shots she took were horrid. I’m a literal person, and I was trying to do and be everything she was suggesting. It wasn’t going well. Lisa was afraid to give me a lot of direction, and I didn’t know what she wanted. Then her assistant Lori arrived.

Lisa had me change clothes, and we went upstairs at Pikes Perk for some more photos. From there, Lisa, Lori, and I walked all around downtown and visited some good urban alleys with great textures. Granted the alleys weren’t the cleanest, but the atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for. It was different, it was urban, and it was outside. The textures on the doors and buildings were fantastic. It was something you can’t get inside a studio.

Ninety minutes and fifty photos later, the sitting was finished. By the end of the sitting I had loosened up. I was talking Lisa’s and Lori’s ears off. I was having a blast. On the way back to our cars, Lisa spotted a fire escape that was always up. The day of the shoot it was down. Lisa was like a kid in a candy store. She asked me to sit on one of the fire escape rungs, and she took the last picture. Ultimately, that picture became the picture you see on my website home page.

Making a decision

Having the pictures taken wasn’t the hard part. Culling the herd and making the final decision was. Lisa sent all fifty proofs to me. I had to decide which one I thought was the best. It was hard! I asked my husband to help. I asked my older sister for help, I asked an editing colleague and friend for help, and I asked Lisa for her opinion. I also asked Twitter connections for feedback on what makes the best picture.

My husband and I had some great discussions on what makes a good photograph, we had a lot of laughs and disagreements over which picture was the best, and I learned that choosing photographs for websites is a lot like editing, it’s subjective.

I learned that artists and photographers like black and white photographs. A black and white photo on a website with a colorful background isn’t the best choice. I poured over the photographs. I asked Lisa to modify two of them, which she did, and I finally chose four. It took me a week to make my final decision.

I’m happy with the choice I made. The entire experience was a positive. The next time someone mentions websites and head shots in the same sentence, go for it. Have a few head shots taken. Prove to potential clients that you do exist–that you’re real. I don’t think you’ll regret the experience. I know I’ll do it again.