Start Here

Blog posts by their nature get pushed down as new articles are added.
While we would like to think that everything we write has value and is useful, we do have some foundational articles aimed at professionals who work with photographers. We want to ensure that this “evergreen” content remains visible and accessible.

A Brief Index to Helpful Content

Here’s a short list of articles we feel are of particular value to people like you.

Related to Business “Head Shot” Portraits

Setting Up a Photo Session

Other Topics

Evolution: FayFoto’s Transition to Digital Services

early digital camera

Office Archeology

We have been working at clearing out old and unnecessary stuff recently. After more than 25 years in our current office, you might well imagine there’s quite a lot of that. Recently Wayne unearthed the very first digital camera FayFoto purchased. That got me curious, so I started sifting through old assignment log books for the first evidence of actually capturing assignments digitally.

They started showing up in the Fall of 1999. Given that we’re into the second quarter of 2018 as I write this, that feels like quite a long time.

We weren’t the earliest of adopters, but our market moved us into providing digital services before a lot of other photographers made the leap (or else said “to heck with this” and moved into some other endeavor). Pro-level digital cameras at that time were beyond our means. We eased into the inevitable by scanning negatives and transparencies for years before investing in digital capture equipment. Our first cautious investment in a digital camera was at the upper end of what was then the consumer level. (It was a Kodak DC265, purchased in the Fall of 1999 at the CompUSA around the corner from our office. You can still read the camera’s review in DPReview’s archive!)

Read moreEvolution: FayFoto’s Transition to Digital Services

Managing a Successful Group Photo

empty room waiting for group to arrive

A group photo is like a piece of performance art

I personally find group photos at once terrifying and exhilarating.

If you have never observed a professional photographer organize and capture a group photo, let me outline the stages so that remark makes sense.

The Stages of a Group Photo

  • Your photographer arrives early to get ready. The set is empty.
  • People gradually assemble and make small talk. There is amiable chaos.
  • Your photographer encourages people to pay attention, and starts to arrange people by height so faces aren’t obscured. (This stage is often humorously described as “herding cats.”)
  • Chaos gradually diminishes and the group quiets down.
  • Your photographer fine tunes the placement of subjects.
  • For 5 or maybe 7 minutes there is an splendid sense of order.
  • After the last exposure, people mill about, resume conversations, and gradually drift away. Chaos resumes.
  • The set is empty. Your photographer packs up and departs.

It’s predictable, and yet it’s magic every time I witness it.

Why would you want a group photo?

University reunion groupFayFoto is called to do groups for, among other things, College and University reunions, graduating classes, professional organizations, business units, award recipients, and workshop attendees.

What can you do to ensure that a group photo goes smoothly?

Advance Planning makes all the difference. Following are some key areas to consider when planning and preparing for a group photograph.

Read moreManaging a Successful Group Photo

Your Expression Matters

a grid of various degrees of smile in portrait images

Should I smile?

This is one of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to business head shot portraits. The subject has already wrestled with what to wear by the time he or she arrives to face our camera. Concerns about expression, however, don’t generally surface until the last minute. That concern is, specifically, whether it's okay to smile.

Some subjects come into the set smiling, and it’s clear we couldn’t ask this person not to smile. But not everybody wants to smile. Some subjects are self-conscious about teeth, or dimples, or eyes that close up when they smile. Some feel it’s fine for Facebook but undignified for work. Some are self-conscious because they have been told by friends or loved ones that they look goofy when they smile “for the camera.”

On occasion, a subject will arrive announcing that he or she wants to look fierce. As in "I want to look like a tough and intimidating lawyer."

Our Answer

I tell subjects “Yes, most of your colleagues do smile, but I haven’t been told it’s mandatory. Consider who is going to be looking at these images. Most of the time it will be a potential client or customer, not your business or courtroom adversary. You want to look like someone I’d consider spending a day in a conference room with.”

Read moreYour Expression Matters

Why don’t you show more photos on your website?

Well, I guess that’s a reasonable question.

I’ve seen plenty of photographer websites containing many hundreds of images.

I’m guessing you have, too.

So here’s my response to your reasonable question.

FayFoto Boston has been around for a very long time, and we hope to be around for a long time to come. We work primarily with Corporate clients. We have some internal limitations regarding what we can show. These aren’t “industry standards;” they mirror our own ethical position which has evolved over time and over many business interactions.1

Here are two questions I’d like you to consider:

Read moreWhy don’t you show more photos on your website?

Head shot portrait retouching

portrait retouching notes

Head shot portrait retouching

What’s in a word?

I’ll begin this article with a few words about the word retouching. We understand that this is the word everyone uses and understands, so we use it, too.

Reluctantly.

Frankly, most of the connotations about that word are negative. At best it implies fakery. At worst it suggests repair work on a flawed subject. We don’t want our work to suggest either of those! We are much more comfortable using the term polishing, which suggests making something good even better. So we’ll continue to honor the term which is used by most of the world but, between you and us, polishing comes closer to what we do.

These days, just about every head shot portrait image we release to our clients has been looked at carefully by an experienced digital technician. 1

You don’t have to specify or explicitly request the basics of retouching – you can count on that being done as part of our service. It’s built into our pricing.

Read moreHead shot portrait retouching

Client-Vendor Relationships

At a recent networking group meeting, customer service became a topic of discussion.

As part of the conversation a smaller, local hardware store was contrasted with the "big box" store across the street. How does the smaller shop survive in the shadow of the larger?

The consensus was that the customer experience at the local store was far and away better than the customer experience at the Big Box store.

I don’t know that FayFoto has a "big box store" parallel, but I can say that, because our market is saturated with competent photographers, we work very hard to make customer support our distinguishing attribute; our brand; how we want to be remembered and described.

I really enjoy knowing our customers. I love knowing their kids' names. I love knowing their dog's name or their favorite soccer team. I love picking up a conversation a month later. I love starting an email reply with "It's good to hear from you again!" I love walking up to a client’s reception desk and greeting the receptionist by name.

Read moreClient-Vendor Relationships

How to Give an Award

How to Give an Award

Alternately titled:

Giving awards with your photographer in mind

Recognizing your team by giving awards is an important way of expressing the value your company places on achievements or other contributions. Sharing these moments on the company website or newsletter or press release is an important way of sharing. With just a little bit of foresight you can improve the odds of getting great photos of your award presentation.

You might be the presenter. Your might be the event coordinator, needing to “coach” the presenter. Whatever your situation, you probably want usable photographs of the award presentations or you wouldn’t be reading this article. We have witnessed great award presentations and hopeless ones (from the point of view of the photographer), so here are a few tips.

Read moreHow to Give an Award

Our Policy on Archiving Your Images

detail of hard drive data storage devices

Archiving: Our Policy

First, a quick caveat:

This is our Policy, not a Guarantee

With that out of the way, with a mutual understanding that bad things can happen to good data, you can be assured that to the best of our ability we archive all the work we produce.

In the days of film we saved negatives. When we made the transition to digital we saw no reason (or justification) for discarding images.

In the specific case of portraits, we also archive the additional images in addition to the selected images.

The images we produce for you are still yours – we don’t release them to outside parties or stock agencies.

However, it does now and then happen that months or years after a picture is taken, a need arises for a different size or crop. It does occasionally happen that a subject wants to review his or her options later, after the portrait sitting. It does sometimes happen that a client will accidentally delete, misplace, or overwrite a file.

For those reasons and others, we do our best to maintain copies of the images we produce for you.

We don’t charge extra for this service. We feel it’s a professional courtesy. We don’t have to reach into our archive every day, or even every week. But when we do it’s usually in response to a distress call, and the party on the other end of the phone or email is grateful and relieved when we can produce the missing or damaged resource.

This is one important advantage to having and maintaining a long term relationship with a vendor such as FayFoto Boston. We want the best for you and your marketing/communication efforts.

What to wear for a business head shot portrait

collage of various business portrait wardrobe choices

What to wear for a business portrait

This is probably our second most asked question (second only to “what will it cost?” and maybe “when are you available?”).

We only have one universal response, and that is “unless your work attire demands it, avoid solid white.” If you are a chef or a lab technician or a physician you might need to wear solid white. Otherwise, if you don’t need to, please don’t. Getting a good exposure for a normal complexion generally causes solid white garments to wash out. That being said, a white shirt or blouse or dress under a darker jacket is almost always fine.

I’ll get into some more detail in a moment, but our second generalized response is “wear something you feel good in.” Seriously, if you’re feeling good – confident and professional – that will reflect in the appearance you project.

Read moreWhat to wear for a business head shot portrait

Headshot Business Portraits: How it Works

location portrait lighting setup

How it Works: Portraits

You may have worked with other commercial photographers in the past. Or, you may not have and you have no idea what to expect. Either way, this article will outline what to expect if you hire FayFoto Boston for a business portrait, or “headshot” assignment.

(Note: While we certainly work directly with individuals in need of a head shot or business portrait, the bulk of our interactions are with marketing or practice development staff, or with executive AAs. The tone of this article reflects that orientation.)

The first half of this article deals specifically with sessions conducted in your office. The second half applies equally to location assignments and sessions in our Brighton studio. The former is more convenient for your personnel. The latter is more economical. If you have any doubts as to whether to send your people to us or ask us to come to you, please get in touch. Outline your needs, and ask us for a quote.

Read moreHeadshot Business Portraits: How it Works

How to book a portrait assignment

How to book a portrait assignment

We try hard to make it easy for you to work with FayFoto but there are a few things to be aware of when setting up an assignment. This article will focus on setting up a headshot portrait session at your office, but much of the information applies to assignments of other types. (Note: Portraits in our Brighton studio don't require setup time.)

Details Matter

With a little attention given to clarifying a few critical details, arranging for a photo shoot at your office becomes a lot easier. Here's a little script:

The x-Company would like to arrange a photo shoot for x-Number of employees on x-Date at x-Time (am/pm).

That was easy, wasn't it? So here's a little additional information. It takes us 20-30 minutes to set up, so when you specify a time we'll invariably ask "is that ready-at or arrive-at?" For example, if you state that 10:00 am is the ready-at time (meaning when the first subject has been told to show up), we'll probably arrive at your office by about 9:30.

Read moreHow to book a portrait assignment