How cost effective is it using an in-house “photographer”?

Anyone can take a very good photo today, whether it’s to update a headshot for a new LinkedIn profile, or capture some snaps for a company event. If you are running any kind of event for your company one of the ways planners look to contain costs or reduce the budget is to use a (usually junior) staffer to document the event rather than hire out to a professional. Depending on the size of the event and the ultimate purpose for the photos, this can certainly save costs and is worth doing, especially if your internal resource is interested in photography and really wants the added responsibility.


But…there a few things to consider before asking your graphic artist or comms coordinator to cover an event you are hosting or a conference you’re running.

  1.  What is the opportunity cost? While at first glance it looks like a cost savings to use a resource you’ve already got on salary to do an additional job, at what cost in the use of their time and skill set does it come with? Does your content marketer (whose job it is primarily to write) or your graphic artist (whose job is to work on design, layout and production of materials for web or print) have extra time available to process the images for you? If not, what project are they taking themselves away from to manage, edit, post and deliver your images?
  2. How good are they? Notwithstanding high quality cameras on everyone’s phones, taking good, usable photos at an event requires more than just technology. Does your employee have the character, personality, vim and vigour necessary to get out there and mix it up with the attendees? Will he or she be willing to get up close for speakers and panellists, or group senior managers and executives for portraits? Interaction with guests and attendees is a critical part of getting lively, useful photos from events that will have consistent marketing value afterwards. Is your junior staffer up to the task?
  3. Do they want to do it? If they are asked to “grab some shots” while attending the event, is the request something that is viewed as an opportunity to do something fun (and show off their skills), or is it seen as yet another additional task added to their already large and growing to do list? If the latter they may not be inclined to do more than the minimum which could mean the difference between receiving 10 to 15 images (max) from an event vs 150-200 or more (depending on the length of the event) from which the person receiving the photos has to choose.

DIY photographers are a part of the industry and no professional ever got to where they are today without having started somewhere. If you have budding photographers on your team (and want to encourage their hobby which may result in them eventually leaving your employ) then there is no problem letting them loose at your next company event.

But if you are serving a specific market, and the images from your company events are part of what your clients uses to evaluate your business, think twice. All content produced today scores higher in engagement and ultimately is more effective when paired with strong visuals. Whether you sell access to events or simply want to present your company and its culture to prospective recruits, having a solid bank of quality photos to choose from for your next recruitment or ad campaign, trade show attendance, blog/Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn post, newsletter, etc will have an impact. Nothing kills a piece of good content like a dud photo or an ineffective image.

Don’t let short-sighted thinking limit your ability to deliver on what your company needs to achieve to ostensibly save a few bucks. In the end, it may wind up costing you a lot more than you anticipated.



Free headshots for your employees can help your company attract new talent

CORPORATEPROFILE101Your current employees are your company’s best brand ambassadors. Central to effective talent acquisition and recruitment today is having an effective employee referral program plugged into your hiring practices. LinkedIn is probably the most important tool in this arsenal and it has a wealth of content available for companies looking to fire up their recruitment drives and engage employees. And yet, how many of your current employees don’t have an updated LinkedIn profile?

You can help them – and yourself in the process – by setting up a simple LinkedIn training session accompanied by an onsite headshot photo session.

Alas, gone are the days when it was enough to just pay your employees a decent salary and they’d be grateful to have a job. As an employer you’re now also on the hook for making your workplace a fun place to be, that respects and provides for work life balance, as well as all kinds of other perks to keep your employees engaged in a world of distraction. Sorry, but free coffee isn’t going to cut it in a world where talent is always on the move.

Social media (where half your workforce right now is “investing” a bit of company time), is unavoidably where you have to be if you want to attract, retain and engage the best talent out there for your workforce.

An updated profile picture is a necessary tool in today’s workforce. It’s a simple thing to get wrong and if you or your staff still isn’t using one, you’re losing up to 40% of your views and you look a bit creepy.

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Would you trust this guy?

Giving your employees the tools and assets to up their own game on social media sites is a value-add benefit that will pay back dividends to the company, especially if it’s tied to a smart in-house referral program. Remember, there’s a lot more “me” in social media than you’d think.

Plan a morning or half session where you gather your social media specialists (either in-house or bringing in a consultant) and offer a short presentationCORPORATEPROFILE18 (1) on how to leverage LinkedIn for career development and to promote your own company.

A headshot session in this context is about as cost-effective as it gets. That doesn’t mean you cheap out and do it in-house. Hire a pro, but leverage the volume to get a low cost/head or negotiate a fixed rate. It’s way cheaper to get all your staff done at once than to bring in a corporate photographer on an urgent basis when you realize your executive that’s just been nominated for an industry award is still using his vacation pic from Cancun in his profile.



How does your profile picture rate?

Using profiles to sort through people is a bit of a dirty word in policing but online we’d all be lost without one. We’re now “seen” hundreds if not thousands more times by people (and bots, and spammers, and other internet undesirables) online than we ever are in real life – but are we paying a proportionate amount of attention to how we -or our avatars– are being perceived?

You probably wouldn’t leave the house without at least a cursory glance in the mirror to check your hair, scan your complexion and make sure you had nothing large and green stuck in your teeth but how long have you had that cropped vacation pic up as a placeholder on LinkedIn that you’ve been meaning to change but just haven’t got anything better to replace it with?

Here’s something fun you can try out. I discovered PhotoFeeler while listening to a great podcast from Terry O’Reilly’s The Art of Persuasion . The site lets you upload a photo of yourself and have it ranked across three metrics (that change depending on whether your purpose is business, social or dating). The “free” test actually requires 10 credits which you can get easily enough by voting on ten other photos of random people the site serves up to you. The results, as this excerpt from an email I got today show, can be quite revealing, showing marked differences in opinions on the same person from photos taken seconds apart:

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Here are my results (for the first two I selected “Business” and the last one “Social”):

This is my current LinkedIn photo (soon to be old LinkedIn photo as you can see from the results):

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Not what I expected, but then maybe I should have sprung for the $12 evaluation which gathers more than 10 quick hit votes. Or maybe I need to change my photo. I do think that with half my face hidden behind the camera I may be turning off people as it’s hard to trust someone if you can’t see their eyes and a smile.

Now here are the results from my last LinkedIn photo that I just changed away from (but looks like I’ll be switching it back in!):

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My personal Facebook photo did alright, though I care a little less about this one. I think the hat is pushing up my grade in the Fun category.

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All in, though this was only the free version and a rough vote, I think it probably correlates well to how these images are perceived. A handy tool for anyone on the job/dating market looking to get a bit of insight in what their profile picture says about them. I’d like to see, in addition to these raw results, a few guidelines on how to improve the photos selected and more detail on what elements people are reacting to in particular, but perhaps that comes with more votes/the paid version.  In any case, a fun way to get a look in the mirror through someone else’s eyes.



Back to school specials

Fall is one my busiest times of the year as a corporate portrait and event photographer in Montreal. It’s a little bit funny to me, as it’s not like my corporate clients are all heading back to school, but there is something about this turn of the seasons that drives event planning. I’ve noticed the pattern over a number of years and each year it holds true.

Young professionals
Young professionals

With the summer holidays out of the way (a pleasant glowing memory I hope), it’s time to get back to work. Projects are started, recruitment campaigns hit their full stride, new hires are taken on and everyone it seems has a sense of busyness, as if psychologically we are preparing for the coming winter months  and need to hurry to get the harvest in before the first frost.

2013 is no different and as the wedding season winds down, the corporate event season is just gearing up. Even corporate portraits pick up around this time as people on the job hunt decide to invest in an updated Linkedin profile picture, or corporate communications teams start updating their websites and profile pages for their staff, agents, etc.

And if you are a student heading back to school this fall, I’m glad to offer you a super sized student discount on your profile picture should you be thinking that this time next year you might be looking for a job and maybe it’s time for a professional headshot. (Mention this blog post for 50% off your headshot with proof of enrollment in college or university).

Start 2013 with a new LinkedIn profile picture

LinkedInblogYou don’t have to pay a professional photographer to do your profile picture for LinkedIn, but if you are serious about your career, why wouldn’t you? For less than the price of one work outfit you can have an expert corporate photographer take your portrait providing you with at least three different shots to choose from so you can even refresh your image throughout the year at no additional cost. If you monetize and factor in the time it would take you to take your own photo, edit it so you look your best and then post it to your profile, the cost of having it professionally done for you is a wash.

But hey, maybe even knowing all that, one of your goals this year is to be as frugal as possible and you think you can do as good a job as a pro on your own. If so, you need to at least make sure you do a few things right – and a cropped shot of you from your beach vacation in Cancun isn’t appropriate in case you were wondering. What might look great on your Facebook profile page viewed by friends and family isn’t necessarily what is appropriate for the more professional “Facebook for adults” environment that LinkedIn represents.

While having a profile picture is not mandatory on LinkedIn, would you trust someone online who didn’t want to show a true likeness of themselves, particularly in a professional networking context? Did you know, for example, that “LinkedIn can remove your profile image if it is not your likeness or a headshot photo and that if LinkedIn removes your “photo 3 times, you will not be able to upload a photo to your profile again.”

With that in mind, you need to also make sure your photo is in the following formats (taken from LinkedIn’s photo settings recommendations page):

  • You can upload JPG, GIF or PNG files
  • File size – 4MB maximum.
  • Pixel size: 200 x 200 minimum and 500 x 500 maximum

I would recommend using the maximum pixel sized image to take full advantage of the space allotted to the profile photo. Try to show yourself in the best  light possible, ideally looking straight on into the camera with your shoulders at a slight angle to ensure you don’t look like you are posing for a mug shot. Have your hair done as best you can, apply a small amount of glare reducing makeup and even though this is a professional site, you don’t have to look like a stern prison warden (unless of course, that’s the kind of career you are pursuing).


1-day only headshot profile picture deal $125 makeup & photos November 15, 2012- book today!

Are you looking for a job? Updating your profile on LinkeIn? Thinking of changing careers? Dating online? Whatever your motivation, having a good professionally taken headshot these days is a requirement for any serious professional. Having recently spent several days on location shooting profile pictures of executives and staff throughout Montreal, I would like to offer the same high quality service to a wider audience as I know that not everyone works for a large corporation and there are many people who would like a new set of headshots but haven’t felt it was affordable or easy to do. I’d like to change the perception and make sure that anyone in Montreal (or who can get to Montreal from surrounding regions) that is interested in having a professional headshot taken can do so. So here’s my offer:

The $125 headshot + makeup deal – what you get

  • 1 portrait session take (15 minutes) with as many poses as you can fit in.
  • 3 final images selected by you for final editing and digital delivery
  • All RAW file image proofs included with online delivery
  • Onsite makeup artists to prepare you for your portrait session in advance
  • Complementary glass of wine, beer or beverage of your choice (to help with any “I hate having my photo taken” jitters)
  • Incredibly positive, supportive and enthusiastic conversation with your professional photographer to make the session thoroughly enjoyable

All for an incredible value of $125!

But wait, it gets better! Sign up three of your friends and your session is free!


How do I sign up?

To sign up simply send an email to me here with the subject line: HEADSHOT NOV 15

Please indicate in your email your preferred start time for the shoot. We will attempt to accommodate your preferences and will confirm your precise shoot time once all bookings are in.

The session will run from 5pm to 11pm Thursday, November 15th. You will be allocated a 15 minute time slot for your shoot and time in advance for your makeup to be done.

As good as this sounds, please don’t wait too long before you decide as the deadline for locking in this great deal is October 31, 2012. 


Want to see a few samples?

Check out these links of recent portraits here:

Corporate portraits 1

Corporate portraits 2

Professional portraits 3


*A minimum of 10 bookings is required to ensure this deal goes through so please share and spread the word.