Personal Branding: Does your headshot represent your business?

This discussion of headshots comes up often with another photographer friend & a business associate. Both comment that people do not have professional headshots on their business cards & LinkedIn pages or they have no image at all.

The photographer of course is focused on the bad images. She says that she sees so many bad headshots representing businesses. People use selfies taken in the car or bathroom, headshots taken in bad lighting, bad hair & makeup.

Link your name with your face

My business friend is frustrated with the fact that so many people don’t even have a headshot to represent their business. Her & I go to a lot of networking events. We swap a lot of business cards with other professionals. Her complaint is that she is not going to remember every face. She often sets up meetings in public places with people. She has no idea what they look like because they don’t have a headshot on their business card.

I agree with both of them. At the most recent networking event, I interacted with 25 new people & swapped business cards. Out of those 25 cards, only 2 have a headshot image. I am not going to remember everyone I meet! Connecting the name with a face is very important. Especially if you are the owner of the business.

A professional headshot is going to link your name with your face

And I’m not just saying this because I am a photographer. Just google the phrase “importance of a good headshot.” The results are endless.

The selfie vs. the professional headshot

Here is an example:

Selfie vs professional headshot
A business woman’s headshot selfie compared to professional headshot

In the age of the selfie, I guess it is better to have some kind of image of yourself as opposed to no image. But which one do you think looks more professional? While this lady is definitely pretty in both, clearly a professional photographer is going to capture a better image with good lighting & no background distractions. You want to represent your business in the best way possible!

And while we are on this subject, BE A PROFESSIONAL! I see bad “professional” headshots too! No duck lips! (Yes, I see people do that!) No silly faces! (Unless you are a clown or represent child themed entertainment) Get your hair & makeup professionally done. And guys, seriously, shave your face! And even if you have facial hair, clean it up! You represent your business. You are the face of it! Give people a good headshot to remember you by.

Headshots with Tuscawilla Photography

To see my headshot portfolio click here:

All of my boutique personal branding sessions are customized to your needs. Sessions include a consultation, styling advice, hair & makeup & 5 digital images. I provide image resizing for social media & websites when requested for no additional cost. 

Tuscawilla Photography is a portrait & headshot photographer based in Micanopy, FL & serving the greater Gainesville, FL area – from Lake City to Ocala, from St. Augustine to Cedar key.

To find out more & book your makeover headshot session with Tuscawilla Photography today, click this link. Let’s talk about how you want to be photographed!

Flower crowns add creativity to portraits! Tuscawilla Photography includes them in creative portrait sessions for your little girls & teens!

Creative portrait shoots by Gainesville, FL based photographer Aimee VanGelder at Tuscawilla Photography

Flower crowns add creativity to portraits! Nothing says girly like flowers do! Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or a field of flowers, girls LOVE flowers! And they should, because flowers are symbols of beauty & delicateness. And how much more so should that be reflected in a beautiful makeover portrait photoshoot?

I include flower crowns in my creative portrait sessions with little girls, teens & high school seniors. I find cheap ones in stores like Michael’s & WalMart & even Ebay. There are some beautiful & unique ones on Etsy. And I make some flower crown with fake flowers and a string of fake pearls. I even make them out of feathers! But I want to make some out of real flowers too!

Gainesville, FL photographer creative portraits with flowers crowns
Some creative portraits I have done featuring some of my flower crowns. All images captured in my home studio in Micanopy, FL.

How to make a flower crown

Making flower crowns is not too difficult. A few cheap supplies & some patience is all that’s needed. Stem wire can be found in most craft stores for a few dollars. Florist tape is only a couple dollars & the roll will last a long time. Alternatively, hot glue can be used. Fake flowers abound in the craft stores & online. And real flowers can be found pretty cheap at WalMart & Trader Joe’s. Then it’s just a matter of attaching the flowers to the wire in whatever fashion you wish. They can be big or small & dainty. Here are the 2 that I made with fresh flowers I got for less than $10. The long one can be used as a fascinator, placed along the neck line, shoulder or arm or can be fashioned as a crown.

fresh cut flower crowns that I made eating a mix of green, yellow, orange & peachy colors
Flower crowns made with fresh cut flowers

I can make fresh flower crowns for photoshoots. They can be made ahead of time & stored in the refrigerator for a few days. After the photoshoot I am going to hang them to dry & see how they turn out. I may be able to continue using them as dried flower crowns.

A crown of fresh flowers on a recent creative teen photo shoot

Here is the best part about flower crowns? One size fits all & they can be used over & over!

Book a creative photoshoot with Tuscawilla Photography

Flower crowns add creativity to portraits sessions! Want to give you high school senior a photo session that is extra special? These flower crowns can be part of your teen or high school senior’s creative photoshoot! Just tell me ahead of time if you want fresh flower crowns in your session. What a great gift to give your high school senior! And the beautiful memories will last a lifetime!

All of my boutique portrait sessions are customized to your needs & include a consultation, styling advice, hair & makeup, access to my fun wardrobe, snacks & a reveal session to select your favorite prints. It is so much fun!

To find out more & book your makeover portrait session with Tuscawilla Photography today, click this link. Let’s talk about how you want to be photographed!

Tuscawilla Photography is a portrait & headshot photographer based in Micanopy, FL & serving the greater Gainesville, FL area – from Lake City to Ocala, from St. Augustine to Cedar key.

DIY V-flats

An inexpensive alternative to reflectors & backgrounds

I wanted to share a few different types of v-flats & give you some ideas for making your own. I paid about $100 for a reflector/ diffuser/ negative fill kit, which folds up nicely for travel & storage, & I do use it occasionally, but it is only about 4 feet across when open & I have to either have an assistant hold it or set up a stand that holds it. V-flats can be made to be quite large & will stand on their own. And frankly, they are just better at reflecting light in my opinion.

Getting your hands on some v-flats is not easy or cheap. They are difficult to find if you don’t live in a major city like New York or Los Angeles & can be pretty expensive to buy online. Additionally, the shipping is expensive.

Making your own v-flats is an inexpensive alternative & is a pretty quick & easy project.

I made my first v-flat with 2 pieces of polystyrene foam insulation boards from Lowe’s. They are 4 feet wide (8 feet wide if fully open), 8 feet tall & 2 inches thick. So when put together, it is quite sturdy. Each piece is about $20. I peeled the coating off of each side & painted one side of each on with black chalkboard paint. These stand well on their own. I have seen some photos & videos where people create sends for a single board & even put them on wheels with locks so they can be used as a make shift wall for posing.

My first DIY v-flats, pretty thick & sturdy, gaff taped all the edges

The next set I made, I used the same poly boards from Lowe’s, but in a thinner size-about a half inch. The intention was to have them be portable so I cut a few inches off the long side & about 1.5 feet off the short side so they would fit in my van easier. I painted this one grey-green on one side & green-gold on the other. This one is not as sturdy, but it stands fine on its own & it makes a nice background & is very portable.

My 2nd DIY v-flats, green-gold painted side

The next v-flat I made is my favorite. I got foam board/ foam core from Blick Art Supply in Tampa. Each board is about half an inch thick, 4 feet wide & 8 feet tall & very sturdy. These sheets run about $35-45 each. So 2 sheets of white & 2 sheets of black set me back around $165. I did ask for a discount because some edges & corners were slightly damaged. I think they gave me 10%. You don’t ask, you don’t receive, right? Still cheaper than purchasing a v-flat online & having it shipped. Although, transporting these myself was a bit of a trick. I have a mini-van & had to fold down all the 2nd & 3rd row seats & take the head rests off the back of the front row seats. (I don’t recommend doing this!) So, got those home, put them side by side, ran black gaff tape down the long edge of the black ones & white gaff tape down the long edge of the white ones. Quick & easy.

2 4×8 foot foam boards from Blick Art Supply- these are my favorite v-flats because they are thin & sturdy & were the easiest to make.

I keep getting requests to do corporate headshots on location & V-flats are so essential to me, but I don’t want to transport my big v-flats. So my next set was meant to be portable. I bought 4 sheets of black ($8.99 each) & 4 sheets of white ($5.99 each) foam board at Hobby Lobby that measure about 32 inches by 40 inches. They were also 40% off. I gaff taped all 4 pieces together & they make approximately 3 x 6 foot panels folded. Then I can fold again for storage & transport. The tricky part with these is getting them to fold down flat but yet still be sturdy enough to stand on their own. Mine are not folding down completely flat, but it’s enough to get them out of the way & fit in my van easily. I might cut them apart & see if I can get them taped in a way that will fold flatter & yet still stand up on their own when open. I will post an update if I get this accomplished.

v-flats that fold up & fit in your car for traveling to on-location shoots

So in summary, v-flats are one of photographers’ most useful tools, and while they are difficult to source, you can make your own very easily with products that are inexpensive & easy to find locally.

There are some great how to videos on YouTube for making various kinds. Post your questions in the comments & any suggestions you might have regarding v-flats. Check out my video for a little more detail & please subscribe!

video of the different v-flats that I have made