The Importance of Great Corporate Headshots

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Why is it crucial that you invest in professional, appealing corporate headshots? Why shouldn’t you just get a friend or employee to snap some shots with their camera? Why shouldn’t you continue to use the professional photos you had taken eight years ago?

Because the internet is your first chance to make a good impression. And that impression really matters.

I recently had 20 clients and friends do a small experiment. I sent them links to three websites with great corporate headshots, and links to three websites with really awful corporate headshots. I asked them to write down the words that best described their impressions from both sites.

For the websites with really bad business photos, these were the most common words:

  • Dated
  • Cheap
  • Tacky
  • Unprofessional

For the websites with really good corporate headshots, these were the most common words:

  • Success
  • Quality
  • Professional
  • Contemporary

That simple little exercise defines exactly why the photos you choose to represent yourself and your business are so very important. They can be a key factor in generating new clients or new work. And they can be a key factor in turning people away.

The photos you use online, define you, define your business and define your brand. Get them done properly and update them every three to five years. (Hairstyles, clothing and even photography styles change. You want your photos to be current.)

When considering which professional photographer to hire, remember this…  Business photos are tax-deductible, so don’t let price be an issue. Choose a pro whose portfolio, personality and photography style, is a good match for the tone, style and branding of your business.

Great corporate headshots are an investment in your own success. That’s why they’re important and that’s why they’re worth taking the time and money to do well.

If you’re looking for a corporate headshot photographer in Vancouver, BC, you can view my corporate photography here:

Online Dating Photos That Get Results


Have you been wondering how to make sure your online dating profile gets the kind of results you want? Have you wondered if there’s a way to improve the quality and number of people who contact you? There is. It’s your photos. They’re the first thing people notice and they’re why someone decides to take the time to learn more about you.

The truth is, someone is going to look in depth at your profile because they find your photo appealing. So how do you know if your photos are bad or good? You can tell by the type and number of connection requests you receive. If you’re finding yourself really disappointed with those things, it’s likely that your photos need improvement.

WHAT IS A BAD ONLINE DATING PHOTO? What immediately turns people away or makes them instantly skip past your profile?  There are several types of photos that give bad first impressions:

A blurry, grainy photo.  People want to see what you look like. If they get eyestrain trying to make out your features, they’ll skip right past you.

A photo where someone else has obviously been cropped out. It gives the impression that you may not actually be single.

A photo of you wearing a brimmed hat and/or sunglasses. Again, people want to know what you really look like, especially your eyes.

A photo with a drink or cigarette in your hand or obviously under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This one is self-explanatory.

A web-cam photo or mirror selfie. It’s important to show you care enough about yourself and others, to make the effort to use decent picture. Web-cam and mirror selfies do not give that impression.

A super-closeup, head-only photo. This one is off-putting much like someone standing way, way too close to you. Too intense and a bit odd.

A group-photo or a photo of you with pets. You want the focus to be on you, not on your friends, not on your dog, cat, horse, turtle, etc. (No matter how adorable your friends or pets may be.)

An obviously retouched photo. These give the impression of insecurity, vanity and attempted deception.

A photo in gym clothes or ratty, stained, faded or dirty clothes. Basic rule… If you wouldn’t wear it to work or on a date, don’t wear it in your online profile photos.

A photo that’s clearly several years younger than the age listed in your profile. People feel instantly that their intelligence is being insulted. And it also gives the impression of insecurity and deception.

WHAT KINDS OF ONLINE DATING PHOTOS GET THE RESULTS YOU WANT? This is a much shorter list that can be summed up in two words… Good ones. According to dozens of articles written about this exact thing (a few of which I will link to at the bottom of this post), your absolute best bet is to use high quality photos where you look comfortable, happy and natural.

A smiling photo. A picture of you with a smile that’s clearly genuine, is the most attractive photo you can use. It doesn’t have to be a big, toothy grin, what matters is that your smile shows in your eyes. It’s simple human nature, that real smiles automatically create a positive response.

A flattering hips/waist up photo. People want to see your body shape and type. Use a picture where your body language is relaxed and confident.

A candid, personality photo. Something that shows you being yourself and/or displays something you’re interested in.

An outdoor photo. Natural light is the most flattering, and outdoor backgrounds are generally more interesting and visually appealing.

TO MEET A GREAT PERSON, USE GREAT PHOTOS. Online dating experts and match-makers will all tell you… If you want attractive, intelligent, confident people to be impressed and intrigued by your online profile, the best choice of all, is to hire a professional photographer who specializes in online dating photos.

When you immediately start getting much better results and a lot more of them, you’ll realize the investment is more than worth it.

Do some research by finding photographers in your area and looking at their online portfolios. When you find yourself thinking how appealing and nice people look in their pictures, then that’s the photographer you should choose.

If you need an online dating photographer in Vancouver, BC, you can see my portfolio here:

To read some of those articles I mentioned, check out these links:

Your Stress-Free Professional Photo Session


Do you need to have your photos taken by a professional photographer? Are you updating your business website? Upgrading your Social Networking profiles? Online dating? Whatever the reasons for getting your photos professionally taken, are you nervous and stressed about the whole process? If so, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Many (most) people feel the way you do.

When you’re promoting yourself, your business or even just networking with other professionals, how you present yourself online is incredibly important. The first thing people notice, is your photo. And they do form an immediate opinion based on what they see.

Of course you’re worried and concerned about getting it done right. You may feel unhappy with your appearance. You may have had a bad experience with a photographer in the past. You may believe you’re not photogenic. You may be new to getting your photos professionally taken and you don’t know what to expect.

As you’re reading this, are you feeling a jumble of anxiety rising up inside yourself? Take a nice deep breath and read on, because things are about to get better…

What you’re most concerned about isn’t your photos. Your real concern is about the results you want from using those photos. Which is understandable and normal. But most people tend to misdirect those anxieties into extreme worry and overemphasis on the experience of getting photos taken. When that happens, it’s common for people to become hyper-critical of themselves, obsess over details and generally go into some form of panic mode before their photo session.

Here’s the part where it gets better. All of that worry and self-criticism and stress is completely and utterly unnecessary.

Yes, having good photos is important. Yes, you want to look your best. But in the grand scheme of things, getting your pictures taken is not a huge, scary life-event. You’re not appearing on a witness stand, you’re not on an operating table, you’re not writing an exam or giving a public speech. It’s a photo session where all you have to do, is just be yourself. At most, it’s a couple of painless hours out of one day in your life.

Even with that perspective, it may still be difficult to feel relaxed and confident if you’re concerned about how you look, what you’re wearing, how you appear overall, etc. The thing to realize, is that it’s not all on you. When you want good photos, just be positive, pay attention and show up. The rest is up to your photographer. When you hire a professional photographer, our job is to help you look your best.

We’ll provide you with information in advance about how to prepare for your session. Tips on what to wear, styling, what to bring and how to get yourself ready. When you’re given clear guidelines, you just need to follow them. No over-thinking, no obsessing about details. It’s simple and it’s easy to understand. For example: Do wear solid colours, don’t wear bold patterns.

We’ll photograph you in flattering ways. We find your best angles and we know how to emphasize your best features. We make sure you’re in nice light. We make sure you’ve got good body language and that you’re sitting or standing in attractive, comfortable positions. A professional photographer will also edit your images to make sure you look your best. We soften worry lines in your face. We eliminate blemishes. We reduce under-eye circles. You don’t need to worry about any of those things.

Finally,  a good photographer knows how to put people at ease. Your photo session isn’t a stressful thing. We won’t bark orders at you or make personal comments. We won’t tell you to do something you don’t want to do. For example, you won’t be asked to: “Stand on one foot, on the top rung of that ladder, close your eyes and sing ‘Let It Go’ from ‘Frozen’ as loudly as you can.”

You’ll be given simple guidance and reasonable instructions. You’ll be asked how you’re doing and how you’re feeling. You’ll be chatted with just like anyone else having a conversation with you. In general, professional photographers are polite, we’re kind and we’re actually pretty nice. We like people; which is why we choose to make our living taking pictures of you.

Having happy clients with attractive pictures is what being a professional photographer is all about. We want you to look and feel great, and it’s our job to make it happen. You can trust us and you don’t need to stress about your photo session.  By trusting your photographer and releasing yourself from anxiety and pressure, you’ll be relaxed and confident for your session and in your photos.

Tamea Burd is a professional photographer in Vancouver, BC. She specializes in natural, genuine photos of people at their relaxed and comfortable best.

The Best Time to Get Your Online Dating Photos Taken, Is Right Now

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It takes a great deal of courage to try online dating. I’ve photographed hundreds of people for their online dating profiles and I admire each of them.

There is no ‘perfect’ time to do most things. Being brave and pushing past the urge to procrastinate or panic, is how we succeed and accomplish our dreams and goals.

One of my favourite things about my job, is when my online dating portrait clients  get in touch with me weeks or months after their photo session, to tell me they met someone wonderful. I’ve photographed weddings of clients who hired me originally for their dating profile photos. And I’ve even photographed family portraits a few years later, with their spouses and children.

Although good photos are definitely a key element in successful online dating, they’re not the only factor.  People find love online (or anywhere) by being courageous, motivated and determined. One of the many things they do right, is to accept themselves and present themselves just as they are. No waiting, no excuses.

If you want to change your life and take the chance of meeting someone who makes you happy, because they like you just as you are… The time to get your photos taken, is right now.

Tamea Burd is a Vancouver photographer who specializes in online dating profile photos. Her website:

3 Crucial Wedding Photography No-No’s


You’ve no doubt been reading articles and speaking with people (including your photographer) about all of the things you need to or should do on the day of your wedding. But there are also some key things not to do

1: Don’t rush though the important things. This includes your posed photos of course, but it also includes dinner. Weddings rarely run exactly as scheduled and you may find that you’re a bit behind. If you’re concerned about your photography going past the time you originally booked for, don’t try to speed through your posed photos or your dinner. (Keep in mind that your guests have all been waiting patiently to eat for several hours.)

Yes, you will have to pay your photographer for the additional time, but it most likely will only be another 30 to 60 minutes. If you’re stressing about it, ask yourself what’s worth more… Rushing your photos and rushing your guests through dinner? Or paying a little extra to ensure that your photos are perfect and that everyone attending your wedding gets to enjoy being there and to enjoy the meal you provided?

2: Stylists, Event and/or Wedding Coordinators should not be present during your posed photos. It’s essential to ensure that your photographer is able do their job as well as they can, without being impeded. For some perspective on this, imagine you’re at work and someone is looking over your shoulder the entire time, although it’s vital to your task that you be unsupervised. To make matters worse, they’re interrupting you, slowing you down, and offering their opinion of how you should do your job, even though they have very little idea of what it is that you do. Could you work like that – let alone do your best?

Onlookers who are not in the photos, are a serious impediment to your photographer being able work properly and as quickly as possible. For the people getting their pictures taken, having an audience makes it impossible to feel comfortable and not self-conscious. All of which will poorly affect the quality of your photos. Also, stylists and coordinators will often feel it’s their business to offer suggestions and advice to your photographer or to you, which is actually the opposite of helpful.

3: Don’t disagree or be ungracious when your photographer tells you it’s time for a quick break. Assuming your photographer is a professional, they will know when it’s appropriate to take a few minutes, for their sake and for yours. You should expect and encourage them to take ten minutes every two hours or so.

Remember, they’re carrying a heavy bag of equipment and a heavy camera in their hands constantly, while having to be energetic and friendly with every single person at your wedding, all day long. Unlike almost any other job, your photographer doesn’t get to take a half hour for lunch or a few moments to themselves, or even visit the washroom whenever they need to. They’re working intensely and pretty much non-stop from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave.

In order to do their job properly and well, your photographer really needs to rest and recharge every once in a while. Pushing them to the point of exhaustion is not going to result in good photos or good feelings for anybody. When they tell you a break is needed, it’s because it’s necessary. Be gracious and don’t argue about it.

One final thing to think about: After your wedding is over, your photographer still has literally weeks of work to do, editing and retouching your pictures. They have to look at and work on hundreds – often thousands – of images of your face, over and over again. If your photographer had a difficult or unpleasant experience at your wedding or with you, it could negatively affect the amount of effort, time and care they’ll put into working on your photos.

Paying attention to these important ‘Don’ts’ on your wedding day, makes all the difference to the quality of your wedding photos, not just on the day of, but afterwards as well.

Tamea Burd is a Vancouver photographer who specializes in portraits, headshots, corporate and wedding photography.

How to Enjoy Having Your Photo Taken. Yes, Even You!


Many people feel a genuine dread when the cameras come out, but having your picture taken is almost inevitable in life. Either at social functions, family get-togethers or business pictures at the office, eventually someone is going to take a photo of you.

A large percentage of my clients begin their photography session by saying “I hate having my photo taken”. They quickly follow with some disparaging remark about themselves. “I look awful in every picture.” “I’m not photogenic at all.” Not one of those statements is true…

The reason people (I’ve really loathed some bad shots taken of me too, believe me) think they look terrible in photographs, is because they think they look terrible in photographs. No, not a typo. Thinking you look unattractive, automatically affects your posture, your body language, your facial expression and the look in your eyes.

Of course there are times when your photo is taken at the exact wrong moment, when your mouth is half open, your eyes are in mid-blink and you’re doing something blurry and odd looking with your hands. But that has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with poor timing on the part of the photographer. They just snap a shot almost randomly and don’t think about what they’re doing.  We all have friends and family members who take really bad photos of people. That’s about their lack of skill, not about how we actually look.

Getting past your photo-phobia:

The first step: Remember that taking a good picture of someone, is a two-person effort. If you’ve got someone in your life who takes many unflattering shots of you, you can quite easily ‘train’ them to do a better job. Either ask them to count to three first, or simply ask them to wait until you’re ready. If they don’t, then turn away from the camera. You’re not obligated to let them take a bad photo of you!

The second step:  Re-think the way you physically react when you’re in front of a camera. If you hunch your body, tense your muscles and get a glazed, stiff look on your face, then of course you’re going to look awful. So make yourself relax. Breathe. Seriously, focus on taking deep, slow breaths. Your posture will instantly improve and your facial expression will be natural and calm.

The third step: Don’t think you have to smile, because you don’t. There is nothing worse than an obviously false, frozen smile. It makes most people look completely insincere at best and slightly insane at worst. That said, don’t hold a smile back either. Trust me, you have a beautiful smile. Everyone does. Everyone. Do you ever look at a photo of someone really smiling and think ‘They look hideous.’? Of course you don’t. And nobody will think that about you either.

The fourth step: If or when a professional photographer is taking your photo, trust them. We know what we’re doing. Help us. Help us to help you! Instead of feeling resentful and insecure, think about the fact that a huge part of our job, is to make you look good. We’re going to do our best to get the most flattering photos possible. When you trust us, we’re able to make you look wonderful.

The fifth, final, and most important step: Be in the moment, not in the photo. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it makes all the difference in the world. Stop thinking ‘my picture is being taken, my picture is being taken’, and instead think about where you are and who you’re with.

  • A family reunion? Think about how much you love (at least some of) the people around you.
  • A wedding? Think about how happy you are for the married couple. If that doesn’t work, think about how happy you are to get free food and beverages.
  • On a trip? Don’t think ‘This is me posing in front of the Eiffel Tower’. Do think ‘I’m in Paris! Right this moment, I’m in Paris!’

In all my years of being a photographer, not once have I taken a terrible photo of someone who is in the moment, relaxed, breathing and smiling naturally. We look good when we feel good. It’s a cliche because it’s true.

Tamea Burd is a Vancouver photographer who specializes in portraits, headshots, corporate and wedding photography.

5 Tips for Your Family Portrait Photography Session

Tamea Burd is a professional photographer based in Vancouver, BC. She specializes in family portraits, portraits, headshots, corporate headshots and wedding photography. Her website: Tamea Burd Photography

When you’ve hired a professional photographer to take family portraits, it’s important that everyone has a good time and enjoys the experience of having their photos taken. The happier everyone feels, the better your photos will be.

Here are five simple things you can do to make sure your family portrait session is a really good one…

1 – Communicate beforehand. Sounds obvious, but it isn’t always something people remember to do before a photo session. Because your photos are going to be shared with everyone in your family, its a good idea to be really clear on exactly what everyone’s requests, requirements and expectations will be.

2 –  Make a list in advance, of all the different combinations of photos you’d like to have. (For example: Grandparents with grandkids, cousins together, siblings together, etc.) Especially for bigger families, this is a must. Be sure to have the list with you at your session.

3 –  Do a little bit of co-ordination about clothing choices before-hand.  Unless you want to, nobody has to match, but you generally don’t want just one or two people wearing really bright colors if everyone else is in more muted tones or if everyone else is wearing black or white.

So it’s best that either everyone wears bright colors, or nobody does. Also, everyone should avoid clothing with really bold patterns or logos, as those really distract from everyone else in the photo.

4 –  If your portrait session is at a location away from your home, be sure to bring some supplies.  Water or juice to drink, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen, hand-wipes, and any makeup or hairstyling tools you might need.

5 –  When planning your location, always be sure to have a back-up choice in case of weather. Many family portrait sessions take place to commemorate a special occasion or a reunion. Which means that rescheduling isn’t always an option. So just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate, always have an indoor choice as well as an outdoor one.

One final bit of advice… Have fun! Truly, getting your family all together for pictures is a happy event. There’s really no need to stress or feel uncomfortable about it, just relax, trust your photographer, enjoy yourselves and your pictures will turn out beautifully.