A New Headshot for a Fresh Head Start

Guest Contributor, Phil Albinus


You’ve changed jobs more than once over the last 10 years. You’ve had new business cards, offices, phone numbers and email addresses. So why are you still using the same headshot?

I am an editor of business-to-business publications, and I know that one of the most popular features in print and online is People Moves. When an executive is hired or promoted, the company whips up a press release and blasts it out to editors and reporters who cover that industry. I always check to see if a headshot is attached—and whether it’s any good.

At my former job as editor of a leading hedge fund publication, the numbers didn’t lie. The Traders On the Move stories were the second most popular stories we produced. Readers loved seeing the person’s name, new job title and responsibilities—and, of course, their photo. The most popular features we ran included pictures of industry professionals at cocktail parties and networking events. These images, taken by a professional photographer who knew how to frame a party shot, were web traffic gold.

Asking PR people for a headshot is a crapshoot. New candidates usually provide their own, often taken at previous jobs or by a colleague with a smartphone. Sometimes they grab a picture from Facebook. Once, the only photograph a new executive could provide featured him roaring past the camera on a jet ski.

Even professional portraits that people provide are often outdated—some use the same headshot for decades. Of course, it’s understandable to want to appear younger—with fewer chins, smaller waists, lower hairlines—but using an old picture is not professional. In fact, it is misleading.

Having an updated and professional photographed headshot in various settings and poses is important. A headshot with a serious expression is the standard but consider a picture of yourself smiling. Do you look like someone people want to do business with? Do you represent your company well? Are you on the cutting edge or are you stuck in a cubicle waiting for retirement? An officemate with an iPhone cannot capture what you want to convey.

"Are you on the cutting edge or are you stuck in a cubicle waiting for retirement?"

I am guilty of this. I had been using the same headshot that Amy Fletcher took of me for my LinkedIn profile since 2006. I was younger then, but I actually think I look better now. Sure, there’s more gray hair, a little more roundness in the cheeks—I frankly look like someone who needs an intervention with a salad. But my eyes are clearer, I am happier and I am more at ease these days. The old headshot was taken at a challenging time in my life and this new photo is me at peace with myself, my career and my life. This is what a professional photographer can capture.

So, get that headshot retaken. Take time out of your busy schedule for an hour or two to work with your photographer to get the right photos. And when you change jobs, keep a high-resolution version of that photograph handy. No editor wants a small, matchbook-sized image for the next People Moves slideshow. Have it on file—it’s as important as updating your resume and refreshing your LinkedIn profile.

After all, it’s your picture that tells a thousand words about you.


Phil Albinus has been editing websites and magazines for more than two decades. Follow him on Twitter at @philalbinus.


No matter who wins, I've got this...

Since founding A.E. Fletcher Photography 10 years ago (Woo Hoo!!), I've had the opportunity to photograph many intriguing people. In addition to a huge variety of quite interesting and down-to-earth corporate executives (you know who you are!), I have also photographed a number of notable celebrities and politicians. In fact, I have photographed two former presidents, and two of this year's presidential nominees. No matter who wins this election, I will have photographed all occupants of the oval office for the last 24+ years! 

Except for one... So who can introduce me to President Obama??

Thank you to all of my clients and friends for spreading the word about AEFP over the years! I wouldn't be here without you.

xo Amy

(This is the second installment of my "ten for ten" posts, celebrating A.E. Fletcher Photography's 10-year anniversary)


Mugshot or Passport? The joke is on travelers.


A dear friend of mine was very distraught by the "mugshot" passport photo she had taken at a local shop. She was scolded when she tried to smile for the photo, so she ended up with something more like a scowl. I didn't want her to be stuck with that for 10 years, so I offered to have an emergency photo shoot to see if we could do better before she submitted the photo. We played it safe with a closed mouth smile. (But it turns out we didn't need to play it so safe after all)

To smile or not to smile, that is the question.

Passports have somehow become the cruel joke of the photo world. To this day, when getting your passport photo, you will likely be told that you must not smile. Many business travelers have complained to me recently about this, so I decided to get to the bottom of it. And the truth is that YES, Virginia, you can smile! The requirements I found clearly say that "a neutral expression or a natural smile" are acceptable.

Had smiles always been allowed, or was this a new update to the guidelines? I reached out to the State Department to find out, and they answered with this: "Common myth is that you cannot smile in your passport photo. You can, as long as it isn't an exaggerated smile."

So now we have the clear answer and there is no reason to guess if you're posing for a mugshot or a passport photo. From now on, SMILE! Though passport photos aren't broadcast throughout social media, it doesn't mean nobody will see them. Now you can impress the customs agent with your beautiful smile.

I wish someone had told these kids:

To see full requirements for passport photos, look here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/photos/photos.html

And finally, today, I realized I have many years of my own documented proof that we can smile in passport photos... Here are the photos from my last two passports:

Smile! -Amy

A.E. Fletcher Photography, www.aefletcher.com


If you are in need of a new passport photo, we can help. In honor of A.E. Fletcher Photography's 10-year anniversary, and because people are stuck with passport photos for 10 years, we are offering (over the next 10 weeks) high-end passport photos... You'll find more info if you click here: FANCY PASSPORT PHOTOS!

(This is the first installment of my "ten for ten" posts, celebrating AEFP's 10-year anniversary)

Fancy Passport Photos!

It’s been 10 years... time for an upgrade?

Have you always dreamed of having great passport photo rather than that unflattering mugshot from the local CVS? Well, now you can! You could be jet setting in style! Join us in celebrating A.E. Fletcher Photography’s 10-year anniversary and we'll upgrade your photo.

Contact us at info@aefletcher.com to hear more about getting a new fancy passport photo in Downtown Brooklyn between now and the end of December 2017.

ADD TO A STANDARD HEADSHOT SESSION: Passport photos are FREE when added to a standard natural-light headshot session at AEFP between now and the end of the year. You just need to ask for it. Contact info@aefletcher.com for more details.

PASSPORT SESSION ONLY:  You only need a passport photo, not a headshot? On scheduled days throughout 2017, you can visit AEFP for a new passport photo. For $80 you’ll get a passport photo (and a cup of coffee and a laugh)... smile for the camera, select your favorite photo (yes, you get to choose!), we'll make sure it looks great, and you'll walk out with prints ready to go. For an additional $20, we'll email you the digital file! Ask us about upcoming “Passport Days”.

(DISCLAIMER: Yes, we realize this offer is not for everyone... If you don't travel often, you may feel that this is a ridiculous amount to pay for a simple passport photo. But there are some people who just want to look GOOD!)


Thanks to Mom, AEFP Celebrates 10th Anniversary!

A.E. Fletcher Photography Celebrates 10 Years

In early 2006, my mom had a vivid dream about me. In this dream she saw that I had a very successful photography business, employed other photographers, and had clients around the world. So she urged me to quit my day job and go for it. 

As my day job, I had been doing photography for a department store catalog (photographing George Foreman Grills, pots and pans, flatware, etc). On the side, I had been photographing "breakfast briefings" and cover stories for publications at Incisive Media, my first real client, and occasionally shooting business headshots for anyone who needed one. My corporate photography business had begun to grow. Calling in "sick" and being late to the department store job just wasn't cutting it anymore!

Later that year, with my mom's dream in mind, I finally decided to quit my day job because I was getting so much freelance work. It was time to start my photography business! When I told my roommate, she said "That's great! Congrats! I'll need you to move out by the end of the month." 

Within two weeks of quitting my job, I found my own apartment that would double as home office, promptly tripling my rent, and A.E. Fletcher Photography was born.

Here we are 10 years later... Over the next several months, I will be celebrating this momentous anniversary by making 10 blog posts relaying crucial photo-related information, client case studies, historical (occasionally hilarious) stories about my early days, and contests and giveaways that can get a "natural" smile from anyone... and you all know how I feel about genuine, natural smiles. 

I'd like to extend a sincere THANK YOU to my friends, family, colleagues, and clients who have helped us get this far!!! And a special thank you to my mom and dad for believing in me.

xo Amy



#1 Photo (If we May Say So) Inc. Top 50 Women Entrepreneurs


Lauren is #23 on this list, and clearly has the #1 photo!

Yes, we may be biased, but take a look at the variety of photos (of amazing entrepreneurial women) here on Inc. Magazine's list of The Top 50 Women Entrepreneurs in America. We think you will agree.

(And THANK YOU Underscore Marketing for providing Inc. with the proper photo credit information. That doesn't happen as often as it should.)


This year I will not be dressing up on Halloween (except maybe in Mets gear, as I have a game to attend!). Instead, today I am posting some highlights from AEFP's (mostly) Black and White Halloween last year, clockwise from top left.



1.  Chico (fantastic makeup artist) and friends

2.  Me and lovely cousin Mish, clearly b/w movie stars - Thanks Chico!

3.  AEFP Studio Manager Phillis, masquerading as Steve Urkel

4.  Mike, AEFP Photographer + beekeeper, with a gory bee sting (courtesy of Chico)


About Your Teeth...

looks like you've got a little lunch in there!


by Amy Fletcher / notes from AEFP HQ

Many of you are familiar with our “quick advice to look nice”. Our regulars are well versed in the dos and don’ts of preparing for their corporate headshot. And as much as we like to give you a hard time about your crazy tie choice, fidgeting out of the perfect headshot position, or giving a cheesy fake smile (we are determined to get a real one from you), there is one thing we hate mentioning... That bread in your teeth from the delicious sandwich you had at lunch! Or maybe it's some spinach from that uber-healthy salad!

Taking a quick look in the mirror (or flashing your teeth to a trusted friend) before stepping in front of the camera can alleviate this problem. Nobody wants to be the bearer of such news, but we will mention it when we see it... and there are occasions when we may miss it initially. Food in teeth is not the most difficult thing to remove with Photoshop, but it’s certainly not the most pleasant part of retouching.


So remember ladies and gents, don’t wear white (it washes you out), bring your best smile (or we'll need to tell you bad jokes), and CHECK YOUR TEETH!

Now back to the fun stuff.