Frequently Asked Questions

professional headshots
Why do I need a Professional for a headshot?

Here are four very good reasons why you need a professional photographer like me:

1. Equipment: A professional will use professional-grade lenses, cameras, and lighting. I use Canon cameras and my lenses are all Canon professional-grade lenses. Just the lenses cost more than the most expensive iPhone – frequently by a factor of 2 or 3. Their quality in both sharpness and resolution is unmatched.

2. Experience: you need someone that knows what makes a good image, who understands exposure, posing, lighting, and perhaps most importantly what sort of image will best represent you in the pursuit you’re undertaking (e.g. a lawyer needs to look different than a restaurant owner).

3. Editing: taking a good picture is where it starts, but editing is where your image will pass or fail. You need a professional that can even out colors in skin, increase the sharpness in your eyes, soften the wrinkles, and reshape or alter faces, wardrobe or exposure to create an image that makes you look your best.

4. First Impressions: You Get One Chance! If you’re trying to get a job or trying to make that killer first-impression, you need an image that will deliver on that promise. Almost a third of the United States is on LinkedIN and you’ll get just a few seconds with a user to catch their eye, so you’ll need your best look to help you separate yourself from your competition.

What if I hate taking pictures?

Disliking your own appearance in pictures is actually a very common experience, and one that I have encountered frequently in my experience. It’s very similar to hearing your own recorded voice – it’s a very strange experience for many and downright uncomfortable for some people. There are a lot of reasons why people, in general, don’t like to look at their own image, so please don’t think you’re alone and don’t think you can’t overcome this well enough for us to get a great image of you.

One of the most common aspects of this is comparing yourself unfavorably to others, especially in light of the impossible standards that culture and the media portray as beautiful. This business of comparing yourself to these people and these aspects of appearance can be frustrating and create a lot of totally unrealistic expectations. You are your harshest critic, so my only advice is to be realistic, and step back from the mirror and tell yourself that you may not match-up to them and accept who you are with all your “limitations.” Then you can strive to be the best “you” that you can be.

I’ll be using all my knowledge of posing that will flatter and emphasize your strengths, camera angles that take a three-dimensional problem and distill it into complementary two-dimensional solution, and facial expressions that will project confidence and approachability. All you need to do is trust me as the professional, relax, be confident, and focus on being authentic. I will work with you, coach you, and show off what’s good and de-emphasize what’s not-so-good.

Will my image be retouched and what is included in that?

All images get sent to the retoucher. There we will remove studio artifacts from the background (e.g. lighting that shows), adjust color, exposure, saturation. remove blemishes, stray hair, whiten teeth, and any other correction that is needed.

If there is something specific you’d like to see addressed, please make that known during your session and we’ll do our best to meet your needs.

How do I prepare for my session?

There are two things I’d like to share with you here: 1) I’m using some fantastic equipment (e.g. double-diffused lighting that is super soft and flattering), professional cameras and lenses, and the most advanced editing techniques in Photoshop; and 2) I’m going to give you clear and complete instructions on what you need to do (both prep and posing), so that together we create images that are phenomenal and you’ll be proud of.

So I have number one covered – how about your part? Clicking on this link will take you to my guide for your consideration. These are tips and tricks I’ve used over my many years of experience to achieve the goal of directing the viewer to your face and leaving them with your best impression of who you are. With a little effort on your part, you’ll arrive prepared and feel confident and relaxed in front of the camera. Our goal in this instance is to help you feel your best so that we can capture the real you.

Why would my business need headshots?

I’ve worked with a few businesses and must say that it’s refreshing for me to see a business that cares enough about its people and its image to invest a modest sum in their people. If you’re a business owner, or you know a business owner that needs headshots, please call me. Here are four excellent reasons you should make headshots for your employees happen:

1. Branding on Your Website – you need a consistent polished look for what matters most to your customers – your employees and their service to the business. If the images you present look consistent, your business looks like a team. They look like they’re working together to create something of value for your customers.

2. Branding on Social Media – your customers probably know your employees. Do you think it’d be important for that consistency and that polish to shine through via their social media outlets – yes of course. Your brand will extend automatically and reach your customer base as well as their extended family and friends.

3. Promotional Purposes – sometimes your employee will need a promotional picture, such as when they are doing a speaking engagement, or publishing a paper. What image will you use for that purpose – a selfie just won’t do. You could also use these images in email signatures and for security badges.

4. Goodwill Towards Your Employees – employees want and need that professional headshot for themselves. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had someone in front of my camera telling me that they haven’t had a professional picture taken of themselves in decades. People feel good about themselves when they get something that becomes a timeless heirloom for their loved ones and for their own purposes.

How long will it take to get my final images?

We usually ask 7-10 days to turn these around but depending on the current workload, we can almost always do better than that. Please be patient and recognize that the final product will amaze and impress you.

Kevin Elwell Photography, LLC

Serving the District, Maryland, & Virginia
Studio in Centreville, VA 20121

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