Lines of Sight

The business side of photography

Toronto Photographer: 416-540-5494

Why you need a professional sports photographer

If your company is organizing or sponsoring a professional sports event then you know that you need photography. The photos can be used for your social media, press releases, event programs, annual report and to market next year’s event.

Look at the following pairs of photos. In each, one image was shot by an employee with a cellphone or a cheap camera and the other image was made by a professional photographer. Can you figure out which is which?








In each pair, which photo has more visual impact and will create more interest? Which is more likely to get published in newspapers, magazines and news web sites? Which gives a better impression of the event and the people involved? Which makes the event look more professional?

Half of the above photos were used on Twitter only. The other half were used on Twitter, on the event’s web site and in the sports event’s daily printed program. Half of the pictures will be used to promote next year’s event and to attract new corporate sponsors. Care to guess which half?

This is why you need a professional sports photographer to photograph your professional sports event. It will cost more than employees with cellphones but you get an experienced photographer with top-notch equipment and full editing know-how.

Better photography means better communication with your customers.


Business Headshot Makeup

“Why do I need makeup? This is how I look at work.”

A 2011 study looked at the effects of women’s makeup on first impressions of competence and trustworthiness. It concluded that the use of makeup produced “a significant positive effect on judgment of competence.” Makeup had a lesser but still positive effect on perceived trustworthiness.

. . . makeup had significant positive effects on ratings of female facial attractiveness at brief and longer inspection times. Ratings of competence increased significantly with makeup look tested on first glance and longer inspection. Effects were weaker and more variable for ratings of likability and trustworthiness, although generally positive.

Here are three sample sets of headshots from that study. In each row, from left to right, the model is wearing no makeup, natural makeup, professional makeup and glamorous makeup. The latter three labels were used by the study’s authors.

Which version of each woman do you think looks more competent and trustworthy?
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The Language of Business Portraits

Current official portraits of (clockwise from top-left) Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump.

Look at the portraits of the four world leaders. Who looks friendly and approachable and who doesn’t? Who looks comfortable and who doesn’t?
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Let’s Face It

In 1985, the Getty Museum in California bought a rare sixth century B.C. Greek Kouros for $9.5 million. But before the purchase, the museum brought in scientists to examine the 1,100-pound statue to make sure it was authentic.

The scientists used scientific and technical analysis to examine the marble statue. Their conclusion was that the statue was indeed authentic.

But some art scholars also examined the work using their eyes and gut instincts. Their conclusion was that the statue was a forgery from the 20th century.

It turned out that judging the statue on its face value was correct. The statue is widely considered to be a fake.
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Pickles, Cookies and Photo Editing

Why do people living near an airport say they no longer hear the planes flying overhead? Why don’t people working in a sodium-vapour-lit factory notice the orange-coloured lighting? Have you noticed that if you always eat the same flavour of ice cream, you enjoy it less? Why aren’t garbage collectors bothered by the smell?

This psychological effect is called habituation. It happens because your senses naturally adapt to what’s around you.

When you spend a long period of time editing photos, habituation means your eyes will start to adapt to the images in front of you. You’ll lose your point of reference for editing. For examples: you can’t tell if skin tones are too warm or too cold; poorly white-balanced photos may start to look okay; you can’t tell if an adjustment is making the image better or worse; you can’t decide how much Unsharp Mask to use.

This is why, when doing large editing jobs, I’ll make one pass at post-processing the images and then leave the pictures for a day or two before going back to complete the work. As much as possible, I’ll edit photos about 80% of the way and then finish them another day with fresh eyes.

Similarly, after a long day of shooting business headshots, if time permits, I’ll make the proof selections on the following day. I find the extra day allows me to view the raw images more objectively. A long day of shooting anything can really tire your eyes and dull your editing judgment.

Near where I lived, there was once a Dad’s cookie factory located directly across the street from a Bick’s Pickle factory. When passing through the area, depending on wind direction, you could smell either the sweet scent of cookies or the odour of pickles. Some days, you could smell both at the same time ;-)

Having spoken with some of the employees at each company, the workers said they didn’t notice any smells inside their own factory. I thought this was probably good for the pickle people but not so much for the cookie makers.


How much should you pay for business headshots?

If you’re thinking of getting a business portrait done, you’ve probably found out that, in Toronto, the price ranges from about $50 to over $1,000. Why is there such a wide price range?

Why does the price of running shoes range from $20 to over $300? Why does the cost of a men’s haircut range from $8 to about $450 in Toronto? Why does a Toronto hamburger cost from $1 to $100?

The magic phrase is: you get what you pay for.

When it comes to professional photography, a higher price means that you get more service (i.e. better advice, attention to detail, professional editing), more quality (both technical and artistic) and more experience (i.e. the outcome is more reliable and more effective).
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