Today marks the 11th anniversary of when Jaimie popped the question that changed my life.
The year was 2006 and we had just moved from Brookline to Newtonville. Back then I made a daily ritual of walking to the local bakery where I would sit and scribble on a legal pad for about an hour, hoping to delve deeper into the deluge of business ideas bouncing around in my head.
But on this day 11 years ago instead of me sitting alone, I was joined by my beautiful bride who eagerly assisted in the consumption of fresh chocolate ginger scones, coffee, and whatever else uber chef Eunice Feller would bring to our table. Jaimie read the newspaper and I went back to my “work” of sorting out my next big career.  After a time, she peered over at my notes, appraised the situation, and offered to me these life changing words:
“I see photography at the top of your list. How come you don’t take that seriously?”
I remember her words stinging a bit.  The delivery was perfect, with just the right amount of confrontation without actually being confrontational.  I soon realized there was no good answer and more importantly, I was excited by the possibilities.
It was this little intervention in our neighborhood coffee shop that propelled me forward.  Ultimately decisions made that day led to the incorporation of our photography business, and just a few years later, opening our headshot and family portrait studio in Needham. How the business has grown over the past decade is something we both are incredibly grateful for.  I feel so lucky to have had someone in my life who said the right thing, in the right way, at just the right time, and that I followed through to the end.
This morning I mentioned the “anniversary” to Jaimie when it came up on Facebook.
She smiled back at me, thought for a moment and said:
“Hey, I wasn’t wrong. It was a really good question.”
(photo taken at our table in Bread and Chocolate, 2006)
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I received a quick note from a client telling me that her headshot was being used alongside an article in the Boston Globe today. I have to admit, the excitement of seeing one of my images published in a newspaper never gets old.

It got me thinking how insanely competitive headshots have become in the past year. Gone are the days of posting an awkward photo of yourself standing on a beach as your official LinkedIn or Google+ profile shot. Today’s corporate headshot has taken on a much greater meaning. Your headshot is now your personal brand, and you are the product. In today’s marketplace a headshot tells the world who you are.

Headshot guru Peter Hurley and psychologist Anna Rowley have recently teamed up to explore the psychology of personal branding and issues we all have with self-acceptance. They coined the term “psyphotology”. Learn more by watching their recent TEDx talk in Cambridge.

I’ve personally observed a spike in the frequency of urgent sounding email seeking a new Executive Portrait “right away”. Why so urgent? Some people have last minute press release requirements, but for the majority of folks, they seem to have experienced some sort of branding crisis. Once someone realizes the importance placed on a “simple headshot”, there’s apparently no time to waste.

Anyway, thank you Skylar for unintentionally getting my literary juices flowing today. She’s an amazing person, totally on top of her game, an expert in her field, super friendly and a force to be reckoned with…just like her photo suggests.

Executive Headshot with Skylar Griggs in Boston Globe.

Executive Headshot with Skylar Griggs in Boston Globe.

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Mr. Turner showed up in great spirits yesterday.  He was bright, focused, happy and it was a pleasure to see him as always.  If you haven’t read previous blogs, click here and here for past pics.

This is our third venture into the studio over the past 4 years and the first thing I noticed when he walked in was his choice of wardrobe.  Mr. T brought a suit and tie.  Now I’ve known this man 43 years and when I see him in a suit and tie I immediately have a flashback of being sent to the Principal’s office.  Yes, Mr. Turner office.  I was a regular there, which in a funny way is how I got to be so lucky to have this opportunity now.  I’m not sure exactly the details of what led to all those trips to the Principal’s office, but I remember Mr. Turner eventually taking me out for ice cream.  Maybe he saw a kid who had great potential, perhaps he wanted to hear my side of the story and an ice cream intervention was the only way to get me to talk, maybe he just wanted an excuse to get away from the office for an hour and I was in the wrong place at the right time.  In any case I remember feeling special.  Years after graduating from Oak Hill Elementary School I would ride my bike over visit Mr. T’s office window just to poke my head in and say hello.  No longer in trouble, just checking in.

Fast forward to 2014.  Mr. Turner is in his 80’s and looking better than ever.  While it’s always great to catch up with him, strictly speaking as a photographer anyone can see he has one of those faces you could spend an entire career shooting.  So many stories to tell with just one glance.  He was in the mood for suit and tie so I ran with it, then we accessorized with my Zero G’s for extra flavor.  Everything was shot with Nikon D800, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens, Profoto lighting and accessories with exception of one giant Octa by Elinchrom.

As always, I have the deepest gratitude to Sam Turner for sharing his afternoon with me.  In his presence I was pushed to try a little harder and to be a little better.  It’s a job he’s been busy doing for 4 decades, so why stop now.


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Five years ago if you told me that shooting headshots would fast become my #1 requested studio portrait, I’d say “oh, bummer…I really don’t like headshots”.  True story.  I had not yet met acclaimed headshot photographer Peter Hurley in NYC and experienced an awakening for my absolute love affair with headshots.  Today I photograph CEO’s, CFO’s, actors, doctors, lawyers, money managers, real estate agents, people seeking employment, people simply looking to upgrade their branding, LinkedIn profiles, dating profiles…it’s absolutely incredible.  And I honestly LOVE what I used to hate.  OK, hate is a strong word, how about…strongly dislike with a passion?  Now I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about creating a new face to someone’s brand.  It’s pure joy.

These images are of Erin, 20 years old, finishing acting school in Ireland and in Boston for a few weeks.  My favorite makeup artist in the world, Bre Welch (Voted Best of Improper Bostonian 2013) did her magic on Erin for an hour, then we went to work.  But I use the word “work” loosely, it was an absolute pleasure.  Enjoy!


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WW2014awardpromoI’d be lying if I didn’t say I was beyond excited by this news.  I am so very proud of my team for all their hard work these past 12 months to help earn Rick Bern Photography a little recognition.  This award places our studio in the top 5% of all event photographers in the country for 2014.  Just typing that sentence is a little surreal, and I have no hesitation to also add that it was truly a team effort.  Without the talented people whom I have come to rely upon to create astonishingly good images, there is no way this award could have come to be.  And while this recognition appears to only apply to our weddings, we shot an equal number of bar/bat mitzvahs in 2014 and those reviews were also taken into account.

Anyway, thank you wonderful shooters, thank you amazing clients, thank you to my wife and kids for tolerating me working on the weekends…it was a great year.

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