First Byte: First Bytes are 1-2 minute summaries and suggestions that tie directly to a specific blog post. I'm hoping they're helpful in expanding the topic of the post itself.
I lived in the Los Angeles area back in my Rangefinder/WPPI days and the only professionally done business head shots, with the exception of the actor portfolios, were realtors. Sadly, most of them were overdone glamour shots, but that's so LA!
Let's move the concept into your community and it all starts with your timing. The first quarter of the year is always slow - so why not launch a head shot special and literally position it as a "Community Clean Up" campaign?
I'm betting that right now you can easily find fifty people whose head shot is horrible and could use an updated image. Look at business owners, realtors, leaders in your community, teachers, managers, doctors, even the clergy. You're going to find very few who have a great head shot.
In searching the Internet, for examples of bad head shots, I ran across an article by an acting coach in Hollywood, Matt Newton. Remember, for actors, a decent headshot is often critical to getting an audition. Here's the link to his full article, which was directed towards aspiring actors. He listed seven categories for better headshots, starting with working with a professional photographer. Even though most of you are relatively seasoned professionals, Matt Newton's tips are a solid review and a great reminder.
Go for personality over glamour.
It’s all about the eyes.
Pay attention to framing, lighting, and background.
Natural light vs. studio.
Clothing and props.
Don’t go crazy with the makeup.
- In terms of the promotion itself, personally I'd start with a postcard mailing. You can build your own list or mail against a list you purchase by zip code. Remember to have some fun with the concept...show a sense of humor and encourage people to help you clean up the community.
- Consider a couple of partners in the project. A program like this fits nicely with a hair salon for men or women, a clothing store and don't forget one or two other photographers, just to name a few.
- Think about a continuity program. A continuity program is simply building in a new headshot two years down the road with an automatic renewal for a sitting. It's all part of the promotion.
- Tie it to a charity. It's a clean up campaign so tie it to something going on in your community that's a non-profit and a cause you believe in. You don't have to give up all your profits, just a portion of the proceeds to give back and remind people you're not just a member of the community, but a supporter.
- Pound the pavement! Direct mail on this kind of program has great potential, but nothing beats knocking on doors and introducing yourself. Work on meeting as many business owners in your community as you can. As my good buddy, Scott Bourne, has said, "Own you zip code!"
- Go environmental. Every head shot doesn't need to be just a nice generic portrait. Pull out a wide angle lens now and then and bring in a little of the subject's world, their job and interests.
- Use your blog - this is perfect for blog content. Use your blog to show some of the results and tie it into community profiles. Each person/business you profile is also going to become an ambassador for your business. It's a win-win all around.
The first quarter is right around the corner and you've got more than enough time to put a head shot promotion in place and launch it right after new years. It's an easy to do campaign and it's got a great side benefit - you're going to get to know the key people in your community and even better, they're going to get to know you.