InMenlo contributing photographer Scott R. Kline is also a commercial photographer, working for businesses ranging from sole proprietors to Fortune 500 companies. He creates executive portraits, head shots, and photos of people plying their trade.
Recently, fueled by the rapid growth of social media, particularly LinkedIn, Scott found a lot of customers wanting professional headshots. In response, he created what he calls Headshot Day. He takes over a local salon and creates a photo studio dedicated to making headshots happen. We caught up with Scott and asked a few questions about Headshot Day, which he will be holding in Menlo Park on March 4.
InMenlo: Why Headshot Day? Why don’t you just go out and take the photo at the person’s place of business?
Scott: I do that, too. But usually the cost is prohibitive for an individual headshot, particularly for the solo business person or small company. There’s my travel time along with set-up and tear-down of the lighting and backdrops. By combining multiple headshots in one location, we can add a makeup artist, which is available to all the participants at no additional charge.
InMenlo: So how does it work?
Scott: We rent out a space for the day. In Menlo Park, we set up at Los Salonez on Alma Street. There are two backdrops — one black and one white — and each person gets some shots on each. I change the lighting too, so you really get two different looks.
Each person gets a coached 30-minute photo session. Before the photo session, they also get 30 minutes with our hair and makeup artist. We have 16 appointment slots during the day.
InMenlo: What do you mean by “coached session”?
Scott: This is not a high school photo where you sat in a chair and got photographed before you realized what happened. I actually help people figure out what mood and message they are trying to send. We get different expressions and looks. I also try to set the lighting up for each person based on their face and things like whether they have glasses. In advance, we talk about wardrobe, too. It’s all very interactive. There is no formula.
InMenlo: Why do people need these photos? Why not just use a selfie?
Scott: Particularly on LinkedIn, people are trying to present a professional image. LinkedIn has become a lot more than an online resume. Although a lot of people do rely on it for job connections, just as many or more are marketing their businesses on it. They are making sales connections and networking.
I spoke with Yumi Wilson, Corporate Communications Manager at LinkedIn. She said that a profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be clicked on than one without. You want to make sure that someone searching on your name knows which person is you.
InMenlo: What’s the cost — and what does a person get?
Scott: It’s $175 all in. That includes makeup and hair. After the 30-minute session, I get each person a drop box link to the “proofs”. They let me know which two shots are their favorites. I edit and retouch those. I return three crops of each photo — full, 3×2, and square. There is a High Resolution version of each shot for printing, and a smaller-sized photo optimized for web and email.
People can call me (650-619-1381) or sign up from my website. When they sign up I send them tips on how to dress, pose and use their expressions.
Head shot photo samples taken by Scott R. Kline from top to bottom:
-Lincoln Miller from Sonic.net.
-Renée Alexander of GrassrootsPR and Pam Card from Surefire Online Marketing
-Jayne Heggen of The Heggen Group
-Todd McCormack, Marketing and Communications Executive