A lot of my clients have been getting new headshots (get it ladies!), and many of them have asked if I have any recommendations for what to ask the photographer for. And it just so happens I do.
For your personal headshots, do what ever makes you feel confident and happy but for use on your website we need to think bigger. No really, I mean we need bigger photos! A headshot is usually a square photo but if you want those large, banner-type photos on your site, a square headshot is not going to cut it.
Photos for hero images or banners
When you talk to your photog, ask for shots that are landscape and have a full background behind you. If you want to use them in the hero section at the top or as a background on anything we need more stuff behind you versus a close up. Vertical/portrait photos often don’t work well for websites because computer monitors are landscape. Portrait photos work well for lots of other applications (headshots, social media, etc.) but we need to make sure you walk out of your shoot with ALL the photos you need to shine online.
In my perfect world you’d walk away from your photo shoot with the following:
Landscape photos where you are at the left, right, and center of the shot. Sometimes we don’t want you right in the center, so options are nice.
A few different backgrounds. Some that have casual stuff behind you like a kitchen, office, living room, trees, etc. Some that are plain colors.
Shots where your full body is in the frame in addition to shots where just your torso is shown.
This picture of Mary Catalogna is a great example of a landscape picture that would work great as a hero image. It is zoomed out enough to show more of the background behind her. I’d love to have this shot also with Mary either to the left or right.
This picture of Wendy Garvin Mayo is beautiful but there isn’t enough background behind it to be use it as a full width hero image. The background is very complex, so I wouldn’t be able to redraw it or recreate parts to add to it. If Wendy’s photographer had stepped back, made Wendy a little smaller in the frame, and included more of the background this picture would be perfect.
Your photog is going frame your face or body in the way that is best for the shot, but it’s not always what’s best for our needs on your website. If they take any close headshots ask them to also take a few shots where your shoulders are both fully in the frame. We can always crop it smaller but what happens is I end up having to redraw shoulders because it looks weird if your shoulders are randomly cut off. It’s easier and looks much better if your head and shoulders are included in the original shot.
In my perfect world we’d have:
Different poses that include your whole head/hair and both your shoulders and arms.
Traditional headshots but also more casual and relaxed poses.
Standing or full body shots in addition to sitting poses. (We don’t often use the full body, but it gives me more to work with and then we can crop where it makes the most sense for the website.)
This picture of Cazandra Campos-McDonald is great because we have her full body AND it’s on a neutral/solid background. If I needed to turn this into a banner image, I can easily add on more of that solid beige color to make the photo work.
This picture of Lisa is great for a headshot but isn’t ideal for a website. Though she looks amazing, you can see her hair is out of the frame as well as one of her shoulders and both of her arms.
Remember! We can always take away from photos but it’s much harder and often impossible to add.
You may know me as the Queen of GSD, your go-to for websites, digital marketing and cute dog pics on Instagram (seriously, check it out!) I hit the scene in early 2019 ready to dazzle everyone with my skillz but there’s something you may not know about me.
New logos are exciting. When you release your new logo your vision and your business start to come to life. You’ve got your jpegs and maybe a transparent gif. You can put your logo all over the internet and maybe even on some swag. But let me ask you this…could you blow your logo up and put it on a billboard?
If you received any files from your designer that end is these file extensions, you can have that billboard.
These are editable, vector-based file types. Editable being the key word. This means if you ever need to enlarge your logo to the size of your SUV for a car wrap, you can. If you don’t, no car wraps for you. Let me explain…
Here’s a brief lesson in file types
There are two main types of image files: vector and bitmap (pixels).
Vectors are scalable to any size and I mean ANY size. All text is vector-based. Line drawings, shapes, and many illustrations are vector-based items. You want a vector version of your logo so you can scale to any size and so you can edit the original file easily.
These are vector-based file types: pdf, eps, svg, ai.
A vector file can be exported to create a pixel-based file.
Bitmap is the old school term for pixels. Every digital photo has pixels, you’ve seen them when you try to blow up a picture and it gets all blurry and pixelated. You cannot scale a pixel-based image to any size. They have limitations on how big they can get and the images you take on your phone will NOT scale to a billboard. Or your car. Or to a poster. You can probably get a screen saver and be happy with the quality.
These are pixel-based file types: jpg, png, gif, tiff.
A pixel-based file CAN NOT be exported to create a vector-based file.
Ok cool info, but really why do I care about these file types?
You need them because one day when you go to a different/new designer you have the files that they need to create all the stuff you want. I have spent lots of time (and your money) recreating logos because my clients were never given the correct file types. The reality is that you will probably never need these editable file types, you don’t probably don’t even have software to open them, but your future designer will need them and it will make them super happy to have the right files from the start.
My logo protocol
I always produce logos as vector-based designs because it not only offers endless options for scalability, but it makes it incredibly easy to produce other file types, and edit the original work.
This is what I give most of my clients if I’ve created them a logo
Editable pdf, eps, svg, and ai files
jpegs in full color & black and white in approx 5 different sizes
gifs in full color & black and white with transparent backgrounds in approx 5 different sizes
pngs in full color & black and white with transparent backgrounds in approx 5 different sizes
logo in square file size
I give my clients between 20-30 different versions of their logo so that way they always have what they need and if they don’t, they can easily get it.
What if I don’t have editable files?
Your designer should be giving you a SLEW of logo files. So many that you’re overwhelmed because this means you’ll have everything you’ll ever need moving forward. If you have a designer that has not given you these file types, I highly recommend you email and ask them for editable versions of your logo in a pdf, eps, svg, and ai. And specify editable. I have received editable files that have jpegs pasted inside them. That doesn’t help me and delays the process.
Your designer should not have a problem with sharing these files with you unless you signed a contract stating that you don’t own your files. PS: Always own your files.
If your designer has fallen off the face of the earth and you have no way to get your original file, we can recreate it and solve this problem once and for all. If you’ve gotten into a bind with your logo, send me an email and we can get you on the right track.
I really want to be your hairstylist. Wait..what I mean is I really want to be like you hairstylist. Let me explain.
Today, for the first time in 8 months, I got a hair cut and long-overdue color update. I’m not proud of the recent state of my hair, but it was the result of making hard choices, like paying bills or having kick-ass hair. The beginning of 2019 was really hard for me. I had no business, no clients and no money but things have turned around and now I can pay bills and have kick-ass hair. I’m really living the dream.
Ok, but why are you talking about your hair?
I really like getting my hair done. I find the whole experience really appealing and exciting. My stylist, Michelle, has been my friend for about 8 years and I met her while doing a half marathon for the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation. We’re both Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients, and I like visiting with her, talking about her family and talks about our diseased butts. It’s just what we do. I love having my hair colored and washed, and Michelle massages my head and I think I’ve almost proposed to her a few times while sitting in her chair. I always leave looking far better than when I walked in and today I realized that I also leave feeling really confident. I’m confident about how I look, which makes me feel good, which makes me even more confident and so on. It’s not just about having good hair, because if you’ve ever seen me in the wild, you know that I can’t really do my own hair and I’m sure Michelle is embarrassed by what I do on a daily basis. Anyway, getting my hair done is about the experience. It’s about the relationship I have with Michelle, and the confidence I have that lasts well after my appointment. I know I look good and I wish like hell I had a presentation or something to give right now. Instead, I’m just going to take 10 selfies to post on Instagram.
Ok, but really…you’re still talking about your hair…
Here’s my point. Finally. I want the relationships I have with my clients to be like the one I have with Michelle. I want to know about their lives, to create friendships with them, and most importantly, I want them to feel like I make them look good. When I write an enewsletter for a client, I want her to be confident about how it will be perceived by the people on her list. When I design a website for a client, I want her to know her business looks good and to feel like she can snag any potential client she meets. The relationships I built with my clients are more than transactional and I hope working with me is an experience that they want to keep doing.
Shameless plug: If you’d like to talk about how we can create a relationship like this, shoot me a messageand let’s talk about how we can do cool stuff together.
Extra Shameless Comment: But seriously, look how good my hair looks!