"To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart." -- Thomas Watson, Sr.
While I prefer to spend my time in the studio, I recognize that for my business to grow, a certain amount of day-to-day maintenace is required. A new headshot has been high on my priority list for several months. I've been putting it off as, well, I don't like to be photographed. I always feel awkward the moment a camera appears.
Why do I need a headshot in the first place? It's a primary tool for marketing my business. Whether I am at a gallery opening or walking the floor at a trade show, it's important for people to recognize me. Yes, my work should be enough, but seriously, does it sprout legs and develop the capability to talk? No. If I want to get my work into that next show or land a contract for a project design, I need people to place a name and a face to the work.
Headshots should be used in all social media platforms as the avatar, on a website and blog with a bio and in brochures. Well-known project designers in the crafts industry also suggest you use it on your business card. A logo is lovely, but you are your business, not your logo. Point taken and I will soon to rectify this ommission now that I have a swanky new headshot. Thank you Michelle Kaffko of Organic Headshots!
I didn't think much about headshots until a few years ago when more and more requests were being made from marketing departments at universities. I was doing a fair of amount travel as a visiting artist / guest lecturer. At first, I used basic snap shots friends took such as these three.
They are cute photos, so what's wrong with them? With the one of the left, you can't really see my face. My work dominates. Yes, I want my work to be showcased, but not in a headshot. And even if you can see my face, I'm squinting from the glare of the sun. The second is a great shot of my face, but the background is really busy. Really, really busy compounded with a busy outfit. My face and background art are fighting to win which is noticed first. The last one is great shot, but obviously a snapshot taken of me in my winter coat outdoors one winter afternoon. Ho, hum.
So, I tried again. I love this photo. It shows me having a great time with my face framed by my work and was perfect for promoting my community art. One problem, I no longer do The Red Thread Project®. If I no longer do it, why should I still use an image that promotes it? Sigh. Back to the photographer.
This time I met with photographer Larry Sanders. I love these! They are silly, funny and non-traditional. They promote both my art and my handmade hat line. Fun, but ultimately limiting. These photos tell an education or marketing director of a craft company that all I know how to do is textiles. As a project designer, I work in a variety of mediums - paper, clay, glass, paint and metal as well as textiles.
Here we go again. This photo was taken by Maria Ponce for the Chicago Artists Month 2011 poster. It's an amazing portrait of me, but is it actually a headshot? I wasn't sure, so didn't use it other than to promote CAM 2011 events.
So on I struggled continuing to use the shot of me from The Red Thread Project® until this spring when Michelle Kaffko took this shot of me for the Chicago Craft Mafia. I love this photo! Wow! Colorful, sassy, confident. Perfect! Yeah! Headshot trauma over! I've been using this image on Facebook since it was taken in May. But when folks saw me at the trade show in July, the frequent refrain after visiting my booth was, "Oh, wow! You don't just knit." Arrrrrrrrgh! I had limited my business once again with a single photo. I am a knitter, but not just a knitter. Oh my lordy! I wanted to hide under the covers.
You are your business. If you want to be seen as friendly, professional and confident, then your image must show it. It can be as colorful as you are, but the image of you shouldn't fight with backgrounds, funky clothes (unless you are a fashion designer wearing your own clothes) or other props As I do so many things, I need a photo that showed me as me, minus the art or the tools. After 10 years and multiple attempts, I think I finally have one that will work. Let's just hope my hair doesn't turn fully grey in the next year!