Perceived and Real Costs of Headshots

Earlier today I mentioned I would be putting out a post in relation to Headshots and their real, compared with their perceived costs.

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Well I would like you consider this; Yes your friend with his Apple iPhone 7 can flip it to portrait mode and get a nice shot of you that emulates a quality telephoto lens at full extension, and at it’s widest aperture rendering the background out of focus for that “Professional” look. 

 

Well here is a disclaimer, those of you who know me know how I spend a lot of time following some of the worlds top Entrepreneurs, and I have spoken at length about how if you are not looking good on that said iPhone with professional headshot and social media profile pictures you are doing yourself an enormous injustice. We live in a world where you are judged as much about your LinkedIn profile as you are about how many followers you have on your Twitter account, or even the quality of your work!

 

We have lived through the era of the Radio, Television, Desktop computers and laptops, Retail is losing attention hand over fist; We are in the era of the Smartphone, they are only getting smarter and they are not going away! 

More and more business is being done on them and that’s where everyone’s attention is.

 

This brings me back to your friend with his phone. On the face of it you have already won, the images are cheap if not for free, easy to format for profile pictures if you know what you are doing and like I said the phone is where everyone’s attention is. 

 

His/her image is likely to be in a JPEG or HEIC format (know what that is?) and guess what, it will always look it’s best on a smartphone, technology is wonderful and there are many amazing iPhone photographers out there, I am a fan of many of them. However if you want to be taken seriously as a professional business person and show the world you are savvy enough to have given this some serious thought you will also realize that you will need the images in multiple formats. 

 

For your Portfolio obviously where they need to be properly processed, profiled and printed to perfection. For your internal/external correspondence, newsletters, press releases, blog posts, HR, and marketing materials to name a few.

 

Many photographers provide a Headshot service, but I challenge you to really analyze what you want the end viewer to see. Do you want to look like everyone else or do you want to stand out. For a professional headshot to work the key is the engagement with the viewer. And a successful image will, through careful professional direction, making you feel confident and comfortable and in the case of a CEO induce trust and respect from his peers and employees and a willingness to be engaging, confident and professional when approached at a business level from their prospective clients. 

 

For Artists/Actors and other creatives you must stand out because your personality strikes a chord with the creative/art/casting director and you want them to see your USP which is your personality, and a unique look that is what sets you apart from the sea of images in front of them at any one time.

 

When was the last time you had these images updated? We live in a rapidly progressing market place where professional photographs are an essential element in getting you seen and heard.

 

Be honest with yourself, looking at your current Social media, Profile images, Correspondence, Headers/Banners and Marketing materials ask yourself the question; “Do they give the viewer the information they need to take the leap and arrange a meeting with you?”

 

Why not start the New Year with new, fresh engaging, and professional looking images that set you apart and give you the boost you need to start the year with renewed drive and success!

 

The perceived costs?

 

Must be a fortune!, no one is going to do this without blowing my annual marketing budget in one foul swoop!

 

 

The real costs?

 

I don’t know, am I photographing a CEO, An Artist, Model, or Actor?

Is it one person or a whole department? Will I need a few minutes, a few hours or all day?

 

What I can guarantee you, compared with effect of low quality images in all the above situations, The cost effectiveness and positive effect on your perceived professionalism and approachability and therefore the value I will bring to your business will shock you!!

 

What are you waiting for?

 

Book a consultation at kevin@kevincullphotography.com

Fear of being photographed?

So recently i posted this: At some point you might tell me that you don’t like having your photo taken and that’s ok because actually everyone says that …at least at the start. Hi, My name is Kevin Cull and I’d love to create fabulous portraits with you. Well I was asked what happens after? well this!

Check out my work

at https://kevincullphotography.com and give me a holla at kevin@kevincullphotography.com

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Pet Portraits

 I've been asked to do some Pet Portraits recently and here are two examples. The reason I'm posting is because it's a modification of Felix Kunze Signature light with a non branded 300w non controllable strobe firing into an impact 60" reflective umbrella. This goes through the 2 x 2m Scrim behind me as the base light. The key is a 60" Photek soft lighter powered by a D-Lite one by Elinchrom (Base 100w) overhead from a C-stand. Nikon D800, 80mm 1.8 That's all Folks!

Oh the Cocker Spaniel is called Glen and is quite old and human aggressive! What fun!

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UK Spring series,Laser world sailing championships 2018

Well it feels like a while since I posted here and i will leave the reasons for a future post but for now I want to concentrate on what happened last Saturday on a little stretch of the Solent near Gosport in the UK.

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I have never photographed anything from the front of a pitching and rolling Rib motor boat before.Neither have I photographed Olympic sailing class Laser sail boats with likewise Olympic class and Olympic hopeful competitors sailing them. I had absolutely no Idea that they compete at a meeting like this in three 45 minute races back to back. Bearing in mind most of the time is spent wrestling with guy lines, stretching for tiller arms and hanging out at full stretch on either side to balance the boat against the wind and you get some idea of the respect I have for these men and women. I am a man of a certain age and I go to the Gym six days a week but my core would not handle the abuse these people got on Saturday afternoon!

So how does a quiet peace loving :-) Headshot and Portrait photographer from Hertfordshire get to experience such an event?

In short a very good friend and colleague Dawn Wills of Decisions Marketing http://www.decisionsmarketing.co.uk introduced me to  a man by the name of David Summerville who is the CEO of Pheonix Marine https://www.phoenixmarine.co.uk.

Originally David asked me to Photograph a new Sailing trophy to promote one of his sideline businesses. (I have never done product photography before either) Naturally I asked if he needed any Personal Branding Photographs and he agreed. During this shoot I found out about David's passion for Sailing, his achievements including sailing a laser from Ireland to the UK mainland, His charitable work for sufferers of Bi-polar, and his involvement sponsoring a small team in the Laser sailing Championships.

"I can't get a photographer to get in the water with us" he said, We have a round of the Laser Championships coming up how do you fancy giving it a go? After a previous career in the RN I thought in for a penny, So I agreed if he supplied me with the right clothing, that I would do it.

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So there you have it, we went down Saturday Morning with the obligatory 'Stuck in traffic on the M25 for an hour' we eventually got to the Rib, got changed and got in the water and on site just before the launch of the first boats. The weather was VERY changeable, wind then no wind, choppy then semi calm, cold winds, rain and the occasional bit of sun, you could almost say three seasons in one day.

Now for the gear heads, Nikon D800 with Nikkor 200-500mm lens in an Optek rain sleeve with my other gear in a Peli 1550 case kindly lent to me by my Friend Robin Claydon http://www.rclaydonphotography.co.uk.

So before I leave you to ponder this deep and meaningful post, the takeaway is really if someone asks you to do something and it interests you but you are not sure if you can do it, say yes and give it ago, you will definitely learn from the experience, and you never know where it might lead, plus you may just have a great time!

Have a totally wonderful day!

KjC

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Seasons greetings!

I hope this message finds you well, I just want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the last year, stay with us the pace is about to pick up. Have a fantastic Holiday with your families and friends and I look forward to catching up with you in the new year!  

KjC

#hertfordshirephotographer, #hertfordshireheadshotphotographer, #hertfordshireportraitphotographer, #hertfordshirecorporateportraits, #actors headshots, #model portfolio #http://kevinncullphotography.com #photographybykevincull #ipotd #iphonephotoiftheday

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Should photographers be worried?

 

This video is worrying a lot of Photographers, But should it really? a couple of very smart guys have found a way to cross pollinate Uber with airBnB and allow consumers to have cheap photography within 12 hours of ordering an "Expert'. Now please watch the video and explain to me how anyone is making any money? The photographers signing up to this are getting work, but any job they do is costing the photographer a lot more in real terms than Snappr is making.

They say photographers are being vetted to make sure the clients get very good quality images, but I can see flaws in this that are cavernously wide, Photographers taking on work and not being able to complete as they are overbooked. Not being paid on time as cash flow will be critical. No allowance appears to be made for MUA/Props/Wardrobe/travel/food/equipment hire/post processing/sales products/delivery to client the list goes on and on.

So many of the industry giants warn that under pricing yourself is commercial suicide, there is a cost of doing business and each job has to exceed that figure in order for you to make any profit at all. Real Professional Photographers will continue to provide a superior client experience and provide the best quality service and products on the market. They can do this because of their experience, skill and technical know how plus their relationships with vendors and ability to communicate and direct and coach their client to Illicit a response that is worthy of the clients needs within the image(s) final purpose. I can see a lot of Photographers signing up to this and a lot of subsequent casualties along the way.

I could be wrong of course, but when you see how much controversy has surrounded Uber and the people who work for them, I am only worried for the long term well-being of the Snappr employees.

Have a great day!

KjC

(1/60th sec at 2.8 #3) A word about Headshots

Don’t forget to think about getting your Social Media headshots updated, if they are more than a year old they should probably be updated as potential clients will immediately notice the difference when they meet you from the images they have seen and think “Hello, what else are they hiding from me?” 

 

It seems insignificant but if that is their first Impression, don’t you think potential clients are looking for someone who is constantly evolving and moving forward? it gives an impression of being on top of your game which can’t be a bad thing!

 

I know I’m boring and nerdy, but I have studied this stuff, and because it’s a case of being in for the long game, and everyone wants ‘instant’ that is what is stopping them and that is why it will let them down in the end. You only have to look at what has been happening with Gary Veynerchuk, ( Social Media guru at Veynermedia,,Senior stakeholder in Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter) and Chase Jarvis (Creative Live CEO)to see how the environment for social media interaction has changed.

 

 Like I said in my 60 second elevator speech, we have had the era of Radio, Television, Desktop computers and Laptops, today it is Smartphones!

 

 The technology advancements mean more and more business tasks will be completed on the smartphone platform, which is why all websites and social media platforms have to be Smartphone friendly and your profile pics have to be clean, communicative and show you as the professional, approachable expert in your field that gets potential clients to call you in the first instance.

 

As Marko Pierre-White has often said, "Perfection is lots of little tasks done well”. 

 

Let me deal with the (Not so little task) of providing your business headshots, You will be professionally coached and directed to get the best possible images that convey who you are now, and where you want to be in the future.

 

You will be pleasantly surprised at how cost effective this can be and the rewards will FAR outweigh the tax-deductible outlay incurred.

 

I’m passionate about providing the best headshot service possible to local businesses, I really believe it could be both a breath of fresh air to your company and a USP for my emerging photographic specialisation!

 

I look forward to being of service to you now and in the future.

 

Please contact me in the first instance at kevin@kevincullphotography.com to arrange a free consultation.

 

My kindest regards,

 

Kevin

On Assignment (A David Honl analogy)

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Ok well greetings to you all and I hope this post finds you all well and in good health, I am completely out of my comfort zone here so bear with me on this. I feel a bit of a fake as well as firstly I am not a photo journalist, I am not a famous or even well known photographer. So, why am I writing this?

I first met David Honl when he was doing a presentation and talk in London for the Nikon Owners User Group, run by Grays of Westminster the official UK importer of Nikon photographic products in the UK. I meandered into the basement of the hotel which was the venue on this occasion and immediately recognised David sat at a table quietly working away on his MacBook Air. I also noticed lots of people who I immediately placed in the “ I am here to see this talk” category. Why? Because they had all brought their camera bags and cameras with them to the talk. Now call me old fashioned, but if you are there to LISTEN to a speaker, why would you, knowing it would be late in the evening when you left; carry a camera bag with you? My English upbringing suggests this is not the best form and needless to say the only camera I had was on my phone. I am not judging anyone here by the way, this is just an observation of something I don't fully understand.

Whilst I was standing there David came up to me, shook my hand and introduced himself. He was the only recognisable person in the room and he stood up to greet me. We chatted for a few minutes about the use of a MacBook air whilst travelling as I was thinking of and subsequently did buy one, the use of photoshop, where he was travelling to next after the talk and the Lighting DVD that came with the grids and gels I had bought from his website. If you have met David you will know him to be a quietly spoken gentleman and I greatly respected that.

Needless to say the talk was amazing, explaining the hows and wherefores of some of his images and some of the equipment he uses. I recall he had been to Gray’s and obtained one of the de-focus control lenses and was very keen to get that out and use it.

What the heck has this got to do with “On Assignment”? Well, I have bought one of his new products. Namely the Photojournalist 240 Belt pack. And having now used it on several occasions David asked if I would write an honest review of what I thought about it from my own prospective.

So, here is one of the ways I use it:

 

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This is a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24-70mm F 2.8 lens attached.

This is a very well made lightweight, cleverly designed belt pack which has a very useful compartment on the front of the cover flap to house your mobile phone and wallet, Films if you are using an analogue camera, or your point and shoot if you have filled the bag with your lunch! 

So in the absence being a “Pro” I decided I would “assign myself” to the task of photographing the ‘Lee Valley Sculptures’ which form the framework for a long walk or cycle ride around the ‘Lee Valley’ recreational Nature park in the A10 corridor of Hertfordshire UK. This is also the home of the International white water canoeing championships for the London Olympic Games!

So at 10.00am today Diesel, My 49KG GSD and I walked around the Lee Valley In order to share with you these outdoor art pieces which create so much awareness for the work of the local authority who provide a reserve where any one of any physical ability can enjoy nature and the great outdoors.

Here are some of the images, I hope you like them!

 

There are a couple of observations:

1: I would suggest wearing the pack just forward of your Right butt cheek if your Right handed and Left but cheek if you are Left handed, if you have any “Glutes” at all this is the way to go.It distributes the weight more evenly and for my sticky out butt, the way forward!

2: Remember this product is designed to hold your camera and protect it on the journey between leaving your base and using your camera, and any interim journey along the way.

3: There are a couple of velcro pads supplied with the product which either, alternately silence or secure the flap over what’s inside, cover the David Honl logo, or secure the waist strap in your preferred position via the belt for the pack. Very useful!

In Conclusion:

Is it worth the money? $79.00 dollars for the pack? $29.00 for the Belt? 

Well, there are other attachments you can get for the belt if you want to carry more gear, but for me this is so useful for street photography, photojournalism if that is your profession, Bike rides with a camera, or walks and/or travel where you want minimal kit but high image quality.

Remember this is designed to carry a pro DSLR and a lens, Which it does easily, we are not talking 70-200mm here, but a standard telephoto or medium prime, no problem.

David’s guarantee is pretty solid, replacement if faulty or not satisfied. If you think you can use one of these, get one! You will not be disappointed.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

KjC

 

A little goes a long way!

As I write this blog post my mind is wondering how many times I have sat thinking about what every other aspiring photographer does when they see others in the profession with the latest piece of photographic wonderment. Commonly this misplaced envy is referred to as G.A.S, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. This is where you convince yourself that if you have the latest camera, strobe, modifier, software or fad gadget it will make you a better photographer. Lusting after material things is, I have come to the conclusion; a natural quirk of Mother nature and something we just have to deal with.

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MAKING GREAT IMAGES

Now I am lucky enough to belong to a group of photographer friends that get together every month or so and photograph two or three willing victims on a Wednesday evening, in return the said subjects get free images. This is a great exercise as it is a bit like speed dating, in that you only have a couple of minutes with the aspiring models to gain a rapport, direct them, illicit a response and capture the moment, before the next photographer tries to do the same thing.

 

Inevitably the lighting is set up in a generic fashion to accomplish a high key and a low key lighting scenario, adjusting the lighting is pretty much restricted to turning lights on and off as there is no time of much else. Despite these restrictions we manage to get some very pleasing images along with the numerous disasters along the way.

So last night I thought I would try something different, What if, I thought, would happen if i restricted myself to cheapest and simplest lighting set up I could. So where the other photographers were relying on expensive studio strobes, professional modifiers, soft boxes and grids etc, I would make do with one light stand, a 60" umbrella, a Nikon SB800 flash unit set on manual mode and a trigger/reciever to fire it.

 

Anyway the images you see here are the result of that exercise. Save for cropping and a little contrast adjustment these are not re-touched. The camera was in manual mode set to the maximum flash sync speed ( 1/250/sec), ISO 100,The aperture was F4, the flash was set to manual and bounced into the reflective umbrella at about half power which was kept the same distance from the subject but moved around for effect. To add drama I occasionally collapsed the umbrella half way so it acts, as the great Zach Arias says like a "poor mans soft box". 

 

So I suppose the Moral of this story is you can do a lot with very little, there are no bad cameras any more and anything you have that can fire a flash would do the same job. The umbrella cost £30.00, Any flash that can be remotely fired would do the same job as well. 

So don't worry what gear the next guy or lady has got and rock what you have. I have three simple studio lights etc but this was so refreshingly simple and satisfying that I think I will be making a lot more use of this simple rig. As I said: 

'A little goes a long way!'

Have a great day!

KjC