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The Art of the Professional Business Portrait

By April 8, 2015June 30th, 2021Corporate Headshots
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Everyone needs an amazing business portrait today. Whether you are the CEO of a large corporation or owner of a small business, you need a fantastic portrait to project your image in the best possible manner. Especially in today’s internet centered world, more than ever, we all need an incredible portrait.

Realtors, Loan Officers, Doctors, Lawyers, Insurance Agents, Executives,¬†business owners,¬†politician, anyone on Facebook, anyone with a web site, anyone on LinkedIn or other social media site, anyone looking for a job to go with their resumes, anyone who is single for their dating and matchmaking activities, models, actors … we all need an amazing portrait.

WHY IS A COMPELLING PROFESSIONAL PORTRAIT NEEDED?¬†Isn’t a cheap snap shot good enough?

Remarkably on occasion someone asks me why an amazing professional portrait is needed, and because this is a broad topic I decided to address it here for future reference.


One example comes to mind instantly.  Just today my dear ole mother told me that she recently chose her doctor from a mailing that she received in her home.  She stated that the large color picture of the doctor on the front page of the postcard dressed in the professional white doctor gown (or whatever they wear) was compelling to her.   The doctor appeared professional, confident, approachable, warm and friendly.  She happened to be looking for a doctor at the time when she received the mailing and was considering other advertisements and referrals  for doctors in the area, but she didnt know what they looked like or if she would feel comfortable with them.  However, this compelling photo gave her an immediate comfort level with the doctor in the  mailing which trumped the other advertisements and referrals, and she immediately called and scheduled an appointment with this doctor and has been using him or her ever since. This is a true story and it happens all the time. I dont care what business we are in, it is crucial that we have the right photo.

The key here is that not just any photo will work. In fact, the wrong photo would have had the opposite reaction and my mother would have run the other direction.¬†My skill is in knowing what kind of photo needs to be created for the intended purpose and having the capability to create it. This is my mission. It is a challenge that I enjoy and find success very rewarding.¬† Not just anyone can create the right kind of business portrait. Most photographers are busy¬† thinking about fstops, iso’s, apertures, exposures etc.. but are lacking when it comes to bringing out the best in you.¬†¬† Of course, people having their photographs taken have no idea what to do and are relying on the photographer.

Above and beyond photography’s technical aspects is the art of working with people to bring out the best in them. Let me try and explain. In addition to the technical aspects of photography and lighting, and using the finest state-of-the-art Nikon and Profoto gear, the people aspect raises the bar and takes the portrait to a whole new level. We all have a natural tendency to freeze in front of the camera and make big smiles. If the big smile is put on for the camera it reads as fake, not to mention the fact that it decreases the size of our eyes and causes wrinkles.

I dare to say that if the doctor had a big fake smile in the above example my mother would have not been compelled to call him and schedule an appointment. I know that if I have the time, and you have the willingness, I can help you relax,  forget about the camera,  and guide you into angles and expressions that will produce the desired result. What is the desired result? That depends on your business and the purpose of the image, but most often the desired result, and my goal, for a successful business portrait is the following:

1) To create the most Attractive image as possible

a. enhance your beauty or handsome quality, youth and vibrancy, within reason, as much as we can

b.  appealing lines, angles, contrast, negative space, nice crop and design

c.  clean and simple image with supporting elements such as background and clothing complimentary to the subject but not distracting

2) To impart a sense of Confidence and Professionalism

a. image must convey to the viewer that you are very good at what you do and are very confident in your ability to succeed

3) The portrait  must convey a sense of  Honesty and Integrity

a. A big “fake” smile often comes across as disingenuous, creates caution in the viewer

b.  It needs to be real.  This is where I help you forget the camera so you can be who YOU really are. You just need to just BE YOURSELF.

4) The portrait must convey warmth and approachability

a.  Does he or she look friendly in the portrait? This is a very important element.

There are many additional factors that I consider when designing the successful portrait for you. What angle is best for you? In what positions do you feel most comfortable? Most people have one eye that is smaller than the other…one side of the face which is smaller than he other. Certain angles work better of thin people and others work better for heavier people. I am not going in to all the body considerations that cause one set up to work better than the other, but I’m sure you get the point.

Another consideration is location. Of course, if we are doing a tight headshot the location is not important, but if we need to create a more full body shot that brings in other elements, for example,  your company sign in the background, or a skyline with tall buildings in the background , we will need more time for the session. You may have a business or a message that you want to convey that combines your portrait with these other elements to add interest and differentiate you.

After considering all these factors and completing a successful photo session, we will have many great images to choose from and my work is not finished yet. We will pick the  final image(s)  and I will retouch the image which will take it to a whole new level.

Now you will have an amazing professional portrait that you can use for so many good purposes. Perhaps you will use it in your social media online in Facebook, LinkedIn etc.., perhaps you will use it on your web sites, business card, brochure, promotional literature, mailings, postcards, and advertising. Perhaps you will use it in a model portfolio or a dating site. Maybe you will send it to a publisher to use in an article about you or your business. The potential uses are endless and the doors that it will open are many.¬† I’m sure the doctor, referenced above, has no idea the impact his photo has made in his or her life.

As you can see, there is much more to my work than taking a picture. I feel more like a marketing consultant, therapist, artist, and photographer bundled in one package. There is one thing that I know for sure. You will walk away with the best portrait of your life and it will open doors for you!

It comes down to a feeling the viewer get’s when looking at the portrait,¬† which depends to a degree, among other things,¬† on the body language of the person in portrait.

How many of you are in careers, such as Realtors, where a business portrait is particularly important?

There are 2700 realtors in Montgomery County MD alone. 90% of the  population starts their home search and research online. Within a very short time the home buyer or seller is looking at dozens of real estate agent portraits trying to decide which one they would find the most appealing to work with. Would you like your portrait to act like a magnet drawing in clients wherever it is viewed?  Perhaps you are beginning to realize what I have been trying to convey.  After reading my little article, i f you can now recognize the value of our service, give us a call.

Call www.bethesdaheadshots now at 301-873-4701  to see how we can help open doors for you, and schedule your appointment for a photography portrait session today!



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Give us a call if you’re looking for a top headshot photographer in Rockville, Maryland.

Mark Lovett

Mark Lovett, of Bethesda Headshots, is an international, award winning portrait artist, headshot photographer and portrait painter serving Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia.

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