Getting a Professional Headshot

January 13, 2020

Note: this was originally posted under the title “Monday Musings: Professional Headshots”

No, I’m not talking about Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare at 4:AM with your buddies.

I’m talking about getting your picture taken by a professional in a studio.

I’m sure some of us who aren’t old and increasingly senile probably have some recollection of getting their senior photos taken for their high school yearbook. I do not. I looked at my old yearbook before writing this post and decided that it was probably better that I don’t remember it. (I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that my mother had to tie a pork chop around my neck so the family dog would play with me.)

At some point, you might need to get a headshot done. Maybe you have a career in journalism, acting, real estate or some other vocation that puts value on placing a face with a name.

I decided to start a blog. While a picture isn’t necessary, after previewing blogs of other software/computer science-y folk, I found that many of them had a picture. It gave many of the blogs a more personal (and professional) feel. I wanted to have the same warmth and “open-door” aspect to my site, so off to the photographer I went.

I didn’t bring much of a wardrobe with me, despite the fact that it was recommended. If you’ve seen the contact page of this site, you’re looking at the extent of it.

The entire experience was actually… enjoyable.

I’m pretty camera shy (which comes with having a face made for radio). However, if you think about what sitting for a photographer entails, it isn’t exactly as lavish as it first comes across when you think of the lifestyles of the people who do it for a living.

There are lights in your face, you’re probably going to be wearing clothes that aren’t exactly your favorite Sunday morning “lounge around” sweats and hoodie, and more than likely if your parents weren’t deities of some Greek Pantheon, the photographer is going to have you contorted in a manner of Pythagorean precision to capture your most flattering angles.

I’m really selling this.

I went to Norman Jaillet

He was phenomenal. Yeah, there were lights and clothes and angles like I was playing Twister on camera. However, he just kept chatting, smiling and laughing. Before I knew it, I was done. He was extremely funny, but more than that he seemed to quickly get a feel of your character or “who you are”, and found a way to get you to come alive.

It was an unbelievable experience.

While lights and angles and clothes can be interesting parts of a photograph, the coolest aspect is you. The talent of a photographer is getting a person to put a real face to the picture. For that I’m very grateful.

While I’ll always look in the mirror and make the joke about having a face made for the radio, it took seeing a photographer to get me to realize that it still rocks.


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Written by Ed Mangini
A Technology Blog about useful stuff.