Yolla S. Kairouz
Assistant Vice-President Private Banker at Wells Fargo Bank
Douglas C. Lane
President & CEO, Applied Integrin Sciences, Inc.
Our studios are located in the historic Downtown Los Angeles Art District at 915 Mateo St. We work with businesses, corporations, Law firms, Advertising, Design agencies, publications, and individuals promoting themselves, a services or a product. We have served the greater Los Angeles business and corporate community for 30 years, producing executive portraits, business headshots, corporate headshots, and portraits for editorial and advertising purposes.
Sometimes as business people we can get so focused on the forest that we miss the trees. We forget that we are walking billboard for our companies and that our portraits are often one of the first lines of introduction to our target market. Your portrait or headshot has to convey an image that will generate a response, email, phone call or direct purchase, from your customer base. It is a core part of your branding.
It is said that a poor first impression takes thirty additional attempts to repair.
Here's why. Imagine that you're racing for a taxi, waiting for a latte at Starbucks or pacing outside a courtroom preparing for your next deposition. Someone catches your eye. You didn't intend it but, all of a sudden, you have an exchange with a human being that you will see only once in this lifetime. Immediately, your subconscious kicks into overdrive. "She looks kind," you think. Or "Good God. What fool let that ax murderer out of jail?"
The longer you look, the stronger that internal voice speaks. "I wonder if she would go out with me." Or "Does pepper spray have an expiration date?" Funny thing. That stranger you are staring at? The one you are making those assessments about? He or she is having some of those same thoughts and emotions about you. We just can't help ourselves. As human beings we make assessments based upon what we see.
When we make eye contact with someone else, even for a fraction of a second, we make thousands of judgments and evaluations about them based upon that eye contact. Some are good; others you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
The same thing happens with a headshot or portrait.
For that reason, before you get your portrait taken, consider the demographics of your target market. What are their age, income, gender, ethnicity and geographic location? What are they looking for? What feeling or impression do you want them to experience from your website? What will make them pick up the phone and call?
In a culture drowning in a sea of information, branding yourself to your target audience makes all the difference.
That is why your portrait must convey the right message, not about your company, but about you.
If you are running for public office, you have to look commanding, someone not easily blown over by impossible obstacles.
If you deal with corporate acquisitions and mergers, you are someone who negotiates in the shark tank. So when your competitors look you up on the Internet, you want them to see your portrait and say, "That dude looks pretty sharp."
If you are a investment company, you have to remember that too many fast-talking, slick dealers in plaid jackets have sullied your world. You want to move away from the used car salesman look to an image that conveys trust, integrity, kindness and competence.
Even though a portrait is a two-dimensional, non-living thing, when we look into your face, we feel as though we are making eye contact. With that eye contact, we make a cascade of assumptions, opinions and decisions about you.
Understanding this core human dynamics essential when hiring a portrait photographer. You have to work with someone with the ability, experience and know-how to capture your image in a way that will convey the message you want to send about yourself.
"I am intelligent." (I won't make your problem worse.)
"I am full of integrity". (Bernie Madoff and I are completely unrelated.)
"Trust me." (If the money in the bank were mine, I would lend it to you today.)
"I am a shark eater". (I will eat your competition for lunch.)
Bottom line, it doesn't matter if you are, as my dad used to say, "plain as a mud fence." The only thing that is important is working with a photographer who will create with you a portrait that conveys the core message about you.
Accomplish that and you are at a higher end of portraiture!
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