Environmental Headshots… What are they and why do them?

Headshots and Business Portraits should tell the story that you are wanting to convey through your eyes, facial expressions and body language. Very subtle changes with each one of these can convey a completely different message to your viewer that may go unnoticed to the logical brain but will register deeply with the subconscious brain and trigger an emotional response. The environment of the subject and their surroundings and can also be very suggestive in the message you are trying to convey and have an intended or, unintended impact through the subconscious mind of the viewer. Everything from subtle nuances of body language to the effects of color harmony and psychology can have an impact. When composing an image a Creative Director or Photographer must consider and be aware of every little detail if they wish to be intentional in the story the are wanting to convey to their potential viewer.

Environmental Headshots sit somewhere between the purposely posed shots of a studio headshot and candid shots, which capture people almost incidentally as they go about their daily lives such as you see in Lifestyle Photography. If you look at the picture above you can see that the picture is obviously posed and aware of the camera. It has a very modern look with a true white background and flattering lighting that is a typical lighting set-up for females (yes, lighting for males and females is different). This photo was taken in our studio in the Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas at DFW Pro Photo Studio for Dentist Deepa Patel of Depot Dental. She has a very pleasant and welcoming look on her face, a genuine smile, her eyes light up and the overall image gives a very pleasant and welcoming feeling with her body language and facial expressions. Meanwhile, the solid and simple true-white background has a very polished and professional presentation conveying professional confidence. “But wait, there’s more!” If you click on the link to the site you will notice that the background has been changed in the image to match the background of the other images on their site. Having the solid color background can make doing this much easier for future uses. Something to also consider when picking what you would like to do with your headshots.

Now let’s compare and contrast to this following image. This would be considered an Environmental Headshot. This shoot was set up by Amber Fernandez  of Chicago Title - Hesse Group for one of her Realtor clients Tatiana Mendoza of Mersaes Real Estate of the Dallas area. Amber likes to take good care of her clients and spoil them. On to the point though, she wanted something for Tatiana that conveyed her warmth and sweet personality. Tatiana also loves Starbucks. Notice the cup? That was intentional and what we mean by noticing details. We are telling a part of her story with this image. She is also seated and we are engaged in conversation as the shoot is going on. Having her talk about what she does, who she is and what she loves helps her light-up from the inside and that shows through her eyes and beautiful smile. Another factor that may not be obvious, is the lighting. You probably thought it was natural lighting since it is outside but, it was actually lit using a professional strobe and soft box light modifier to give the image a clean, polished and professional look. The overall look of the image is casual and engaging as well as inviting. Makes you want to sit down and join the conversation, doesn’t it. 


Now, you may be thinking that if you work in an office that you have to have the standard or traditional type of headshots for your staff but, nothing could be further from the truth. These images (above) are from a shoot I did for 18 beautiful people of the Las Colinas Federal Credit Union for their branch staff at their Valley Ranch Location in Irving, Texas. Their CEO wanted something with a beautiful background that was outside and he really liked the canal area located on a walkway path close behind their branch location in Valley Ranch. Once again, you may be thinking this is natural lighting but, it is not. Lighting  is one of the trickiest areas of photography. The brighter the light is outside the more more powerful the strobe needs to be to overpower the sun. Otherwise you get very harsh light on the subject and harsh shadows leaving you with very unprofessional looking images. This light also has to be balanced with the ambient light of the environment. If this is done incorrectly the background is either too light or too dark and you know immediately that it does not look right or natural. As you can see in these images both the subjects and the backgrounds are properly exposed and the subjects still separate and “Pop” from the background. They look great and there is consistency across all of the images. This is another design principal that is important in your overall presentation on your website when you want to convey a sense of professionalism. Every detail matters, no matter how small you think it may be!


It really pays to invest time into what you are wanting to accomplish in your images and then to hire a professional that can help guide you through that process and who has the expertise to make your vision a reality. In today’s world of social media, Content and Engagement is an important and on-going process. We engage with our potential clients and customers often times through a social media platform or company website before we ever meet them in person. Your images and the story that they tell can be the difference between success and failure. I know that sounds a little dramatic but, if you really think about yourself and your own buying habits and decision making processes you will realize that is the case. As the saying goes, “Image is everything!” That statement has never been more true than it is in today’s world. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rick Porier is a Dallas Photographer and the Owner and Lead Photographer of Rick Porier Photography, corp and DFW Pro Photo Studios located in the Las Colinas area of Irving, TX next to the Mandalay Canal. He learned photography at a very early age from his father, who was also a working professional photographer in the Dallas area. He furthered his skills at the Art Institute of Dallas and continues to learn and evolve every day, following his passion for photography and the art of advanced editing. 





A Diamond in The Ruff - Dallas Real Estate Photography

According to Redfin, In April 2021, Dallas home prices were up 14.3% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $400K. On average, homes in Dallas sell after 24 days on the market compared to 38 days last year. There were 1,504 homes sold in April this year, up from 861 last year. The market is HOT!


That’s why this property for one of my regular clients, Dallas area Realtor Maru Yrizar really stands out to me. She had scheduled on my portal through my website and then called me up to tell me about the property. When she first told me the price it was selling for, I was thinking to myself, “well this property isn’t going to be that good at this price.” Boy was I wrong. You can see the property on Zillow here. Finding anything in the current Dallas Real Estate Market as of this writing in June of 2021 for around $200,000 that you actually would want to live in, is almost unfathomable. 

Little blue 1950's Dallas Home beneath partly cloudy skies shot by Dallas Photographer Rick Porier


Pulling up to the property, the place looked cute, small, well taken care of, about what you would expect for the money. Then once I got into the property, I was blown away. I was like, “Ok, I could definitely live here!” This surprising beauty was updated so well and looked fantastic. Every little detail seems like it was thought out and well executed. You would never imagine by looking at the front that it is actually a 3 bedroom, 2 bath and 2 car garage, home. This place was a steal! A true “Diamond in the Ruff!”

Photo by Dallas Phoographer of ineterior of an updated 1950's home in Dallas with new hardwood floors, new kitchen appliances, fireplace and lots of windows.
Beautiful updated kitchen in updated 1950's Dallas home with white cabinets and tile backspplash and brand new high-end appliances. Shot by Dallas Photographer Rick Porier.
Two room view from hallway of updated 1950's homw in Dallas Texas. Photo by Dallas Photographer Rick Porier.


It just had a charm to it that only houses built during this time can have. Lots of windows, huge shade trees outside sitting on a good-sized lot and updated and nicely done on the inside. I was shocked to find a pretty good-sized walk-in closet in the master bedroom too. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. 

Updated bathrom in Dallas home form the 1950's Bathroom has marble floors and tile around show and bathroom with white cabinets and wall, oval mirror hanging above sink. Interior real estate photo shot in Dallas of a walk-in closet with lots of shelves and white walls. Updated bathrom in Dallas home form the 1950's Bathroom has marble floors and tile around show and bathroom with white cabinets and wall, oval mirror hanging above sink.


Now, I have definitely photographed some more lavish and expensive property’s (see those here) but, on average most of the properties I shoot for Dallas Realtors are in the $500k range and going up into the millions sometimes. That’s why I was so impressed with this awesome little property that would easily be in reach for the average person with decent credit. Now when you consider that the national median for rent is $1740 and in Dallas and the DFW metroplex is around $1600 (some great information here), that means you could get into this little cutie for less than you would pay in rent in a one or two-bedroom apartment. 


Dallas has grown exponentially over the last 10 years and projected to continue to grow by another 1.4 million through the next 8 years, according to an article on Dallas Culture Map citing Cushman and Wakefield. All of that would suggest that the demand in the housing market in the Dallas Real Estate market isn’t going down any time soon. Meaning this could be a great investment for a first time homebuyer. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rick Porier is a Dallas Photographer and the Owner and Lead Photographer of Rick Porier Photography, corp and DFW Pro Photo Studios located in the Las Colinas area of Irving, TX next to the Mandalay Canal. He learned photography at a very early age from his father, who was also a working professional photographer in the Dallas area. He furthered his skills at the Art Institute of Dallas and continues to learn and evolve every day, following his passion for photography and the art of advanced editing. 


Understanding a Photographers Pricing

Understanding Pricing for Photographers


If you have been looking for a photographer, understanding the huge variance you see in pricing may have you feeling confused and potentially overwhelmed. The pricing for photographers just in your area can vary greatly from genre-to-genre and from one photographer to another and the Dallas Photographer Market is no exception to that rule. I am writing this to answer some of those questions that you may have.


The old saying may come to your mind, “You get what you pay for” when looking for a photographer. You may also be inclined to make the assumption that, if someone is more expensive, then they must be better. While both of these thought processes are natural and understandable, and in most cases true, that is not always the case. There are many things that factor into what is called, the cost of doing business. 


The cost of doing business is exactly what it sounds like, the sum of all expenses incurred in order to operate your business annually. Miscalculations or poor business practices will mean that most of the photographers near you that you are considering today, may not be around tomorrow. As Dane Sanders lays it out in his book, Fast Track Photographer: Roughly 85% of all photographers fail. 60% fail in just their first year and another 25% before the end of their second year. The thing that is interesting is that it’s not always that they are bad photographers. Sometimes they just aren’t that great at running a business. 


Quality photography equipment is notoriously expensive and can cost a substantial amount of money just for the bare basics of getting started, or roughly $10,000 to $15,000. And that is just for the basics. Let’s say for example, one good camera body for $2500. A set of good lenses, to cover most applications you will need averaging about $1500 a piece with a minimum of about 3 to get started. Lights that average about $300 a piece on the low-end (minimum of 4 to cover most applications.) You will need a quality computer that can handle the high demands of editing at roughly $1500 and up. Honestly though, we are just getting started. The list is long and full of so many more things just in terms of equipment. Never mind considering things like studio time or maybe a studio lease, if they own their own studio like we do at DFW Pro Photo. The cost of accountants, employees, and day-to-day expenses of operating a business. The list goes on-and-on.


Now, you may be thinking, “Why should I care, if I can get a good deal?” Well, probably because it will be a good indicator of what to expect in terms of service, quality and professionalism because, most of the time, you really do “Get what you pay for.” 


Here are some good questions to ask:

1.     How long have they been in business? Are they established and for how long? 

2.     Do they have a studio? 

3.     Do they have a website with a portfolio of work that matches what you are looking for? 

4.     Are they a true professional instead of a hobbyist making money on the side?

5.     When they answer the phone, do they say, “Thank you for calling (business name)?”

6.     Do they answer your questions confidently?

7.     Do they seem confident about their pricing and packages when you ask them?


All of those questions will serve you well in making a decision and getting an idea of what to expect. The more “yeses’” you had to the above the questions, the higher your expectations should be. That being said, always check out their reviews. You would be crazy not to. I personally rarely buy anything these days without checking out reviews for products and services alike. 


Some other things you can factor in:

1.     The Dallas Photographer Market is roughly 9% below the national average in terms of pricing across all genres. 

2.     Photographers charge between $25 and $500 per hour with most costing $94 to $262 per hour on average. Prices largely depend on their skill level and what type of event they are shooting. Extra costs include travel time, prints, digital image files, and photo editing fees.

Average Photography Prices for Dallas Photographers

Weddings

$200-$2,500

Portraits

$100 to $350

Head shots

$85 to $350

Real estate

$100-$375

Commercial

$125-$700

Engagement

$150-$350

Pets

$100-$300 

Sports

$120-$500 

Nature

$100-$400 

Boudoir

$125-$450 

Aerial

$125-$450  


Now, what I am about to say is probably the most important part of the whole process that you need to understand and be clear on when speaking with your potential photographer. Some in the business, lure you in with really inexpensive initial rates and then slam you with additional fees for each individual image or editing and it ends up costing you more than 3 times the amount you initially planned on spending. I personally hate this tactic and don’t believe in doing business this way and that is why, at my studio the pricing us upfront, very clear, and very transparent. We have packages for most things we do, and we are very clear about what you pay, what you get for that price, as well as, what is extra if you decide to include more, images, products, or services. 


To help, here are a list of questions (in order) that you need to ask: 

1.     How much does it cost?

2.     How much shooting time does that include?

3.     How many outfit changes does that include?

4.     How many different looks, or locations does that include?

5.     How many edited images are included in that price?

6.     How much will it cost for additional edited images?

7.     How much editing is included in that price? Just basic or advanced edits?

8.     What (if any) products are included in that price? (prints, albums, etc.…)

9.     How are the images delivered and what size are they (if digital)?

10.  Is there a deposit? Is the deposit refundable?

11.  Is there anything else I should know in terms of your pricing and what is included or NOT included?


The DFW Metroplex and Dallas area have many great and established professional photographers. The professional photographer that is right for you will depend upon your budget and your needs and only you can make that decision on who is right for you. If you like their work, their professionalism when you communicate, and the price is right, then you probably have a winner. I would also throw in there, to always listen to your gut too.


Hopefully some of this information will help to make the process a little easier to both do and understand. The main thing is to ask questions if you don’t, until you do. And then to clarify it for good measure. If you need any help with anything or have questions, I would be happy to help. Just shoot me a text or give me a call at 972-878-9669.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rick Porier is a Dallas Photographer and the Owner and Lead Photographer of Rick Porier Photography, corp and DFW Pro Photo Studios located in the Las Colinas area of Irving, TX next to the Mandalay Canal. He learned photography at a very early age from his father, who was also a working professional photographer in the Dallas area. He furthered his skills at the Art Institute of Dallas and continues to learn and evolve every day, following his passion for photography and the art of advanced editing. 

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