Bonnie: Natural Headshots

I met Bonnie through my networking group at the end of July. Before I’d even finished introducing myself she was on board and handing me a referral slip, and then promptly telling me she hates all photos of her. It’s an interesting mix, that. She’s handing me a referral slip before even seeing evidence of my work and also telling me she’ll hate the results. How exactly does one process that? And how was I going to give her a natural headshot that not only served the purpose of her hypnotherapy business, but also fulfilled my own goal of giving her photos that she not only won’t hate but actually like?

Natural headshots are something I embrace – gone are the days of a cold, corporate headshot in which a photographer just plugs in a new subject, clicks, repeats, and delivers images without any personality. Bonnie’s a practitioner in a natural field, so for her I wanted to create an even more natural scene. We started in my home studio but I didn’t feel like I was pulling out of her exactly what I wanted to see – her. So I suggested we head out to her property out in Helvetia with a red barn and woods. The way she spoke about her home told me a lot about her. And the very first frame I took at her house confirmed my guesses. She’s most comfortable in her own environment. She pulls energy from her woods, and that’s exactly where the best photos from her shoot came. I love photographing in the studio, controlling the light just so and shaping it around you. But my primary goal is a full and well-rounded set of images.

Seeing Bonnie in the studio a week later trying to narrow the images down was all the reward I needed. She came in and fully expected to dislike every last image. She started filtering through the images, apologizing for her pickiness. I of course reminded her that’s her job, to be picky about herself. We all are! So she went from 30 to 12, 12 to 8 and then started really having trouble going from 8 to 3 for her three headshots. She did in the end, but it took time. And at one point, during that time, she laughed at herself. She really thought it would be easy to pick a few and forget about the rest. I exceeded her expectations. And for that, I’ll keep on.