Why you should take headshots/portraits during a video shoot

There is an opportunity to easily capture great photography while shooting on-location with video clients that should not be missed. In the normal course of producing videos we shoot a lot of interviews, and that means opportunities for headshot and portrait photos of real people abound! I’m going to describe an easy way to capture images your client can use later, even when there is very little time to add “something else” to the day.

Mixed Bag Media has always taken great pride in making interview subjects look great on camera. After all, our specialty is working with real people, and along with sounding their best, we want them to look their best. So the question naturally arises: why not get some headshots and portrait photos of each person, in that beautifully lit spot, before you let them go?! It really only takes a few extra minutes to capture something your interview subject can use for any number of professional and personal applications.

When shooting photos at the end of a video interview the two things you’re going for are:

Headshots and Portraits. Think of a headshot as someone’s LinkedIn profile picture. It is literally head and shoulders and meant to make them look good. A portrait is meant to be a little wider, and looser in concept so there is more flexibility with what you shoot and how it can be used.

Headshots – Have your subject look into the camera and ask them for several different poses: smile with teeth, closed lip grin with no teeth, and “serious work face”. Tell them “Imagine you’re about to head into your first big meeting at your new job, or you’re about to talk with the board about the $100 million dollar initiative you just know will work” – that takes serious work face to do that.

Portraits – These tend to be wider and the subject can be looking at the camera, and off to one side too. Portraits can be action oriented, i.e. a business person on their phone equals “working with others to make things happen”. Even an action like this can still take place in the same spot that you just conducted a video interview. Change the framing, put a phone in your subject’s hand and you’ve got a whole new scene.

Some tips for making the process go smoothly:

  1. Upon their arrival, make sure to tell each person “After we’re done with the video interview, we’re going to snap a few photos of you too, ok?” Tell them ahead of time, so they aren’t surprised when you ask them to stay for another 10-15 minutes. Be nonchalant and make it sound really quick, easy and casual – because it will be!
  2. Do not keep them for more than 10-15min. at the very most for photos.
  3. Do not take more than 10-15 shots per person. This is an easy upcharge for you to pitch and most clients to pay for. But even if they are not interested, try to get images anyway as a gesture of goodwill and portfolio builders, so the next client will pay you to do this.
  4. For the camera operator – Use your wired remote trigger – for photos when the camera is on a tripod, I love the flexibility this gives you to capture moments in between poses. Authentic moments and looks often happen between specific looks you ask for. Have your finger on the remote trigger and pay attention to what’s happening in front of the camera, even while talking, laughing, etc. with the interview subject. If you say something that makes a person laugh, or shake their head – push the button!

After years of shooting video and having to wrestle with ambient sound issues (leaf blowers, loud talkers, etc) something I love about photo shoots is that it’s totally fine to have noise in the background: to be talking, have music playing, heck, even the lawn care guys outside don’t matter. It’s great!

Mixed Bag Media is a team of collaborative creatives and visual thinkers who tell compelling stories and create eye-catching imagery. With offices in Decatur, GA (near Atlanta) and Concord, CA (near San Francisco) we partner with talented people near and far to serve a wide clientele. Got any questions? Let us know at info@mixedbagmedia.tv. Find us on LinkedIn and Instagram.