As long as I can remember there has been one background color that just never sat right with me. It seemed cold and somehow in my mind, cheap, yet I saw it EVERYWHERE (including the DMV)
You guessed it... That Church-directory, DMV ID photo color of blue-grey.
Recently, a friend of mine that works as a rep for Comcast commercial called me for a headshot update. I saw Chad's photo in his signature and cringed at the prospect of him asking me to match the color. "No, that's just something that the company did for us".
PHEW!.. I relaxed by shared this information with him. (See his before and after below - used with his permission to help illustrate a before/after).
This background is anything but complimentary to you as a subject. (If you're a photographer reading this, please accept my apologies in advance if this offends your current options, but PLEASE consider this information for the love of your clients and our industry.)
In the 90's I attended a full-day training session with the late, great, "Grandfather of Classical Portraiture" - Monte Zucker. I've trained with some pretty talented photographers, but none with half of Monte's conviction for increasing the standards of professional photography.
"Get rid of that $%#@ blue-grey background, and here's why..." (Keep in mind, this explanation is all prior to digital photography.)
Portraits were mostly created on film, which means color reversal. (a.k.a. negatives - then reversed onto color paper)
On a film negative, blue's opposite is yellow.
As some of you are old enough to remember, there was the huge company who's name I respectfully not mention, who made a mass amount of money traveling around the USA to create church directories, all with that background I can no longer look at without cringing.
That color, as Monte explained it, was hard to screw up in the reversal process, so for the convenience of the lab - it became a convenient standard. Let me rephrase that, it was not selected for being appealing, complimentary or in any way artistic, it was chosen to save time in the lab with color corrections.
No matter what color your skin is, you have a red-based pigmentation. Black, brown, white, yellow - we all bleed the same color.
Colors that compliment colors most are opposites. What is the opposite of our red-based skin? GREEN! We're not talking green-screen, primary green, rather a warm, earthy tone that dropped behind those millions of families would certainly relax your eyes.
I specialize in headshots. It is my job to help people to appeal to their next client, potential employer and sometimes spouse. In most cases, these images are going onto business cards, web sites, and most-commonly mentioned by my clients - LinkedIn.
LinkedIn (though their logo is "that color") recently accented their site color with a warm teal. Teal, being in the green family, makes me want to give a big high-five to their marketing/branding peeps. (feel free to connect with me on LInkedIn if we've done trade.
While grey is a very safe color, and looks great for most basic professional attire, it doesn't look quite as fresh as a simple white.
So... Before you hand out another business card with your DMV photo on it, please consider this information and give us a call. We are sensibly priced, and on a mission to undo that blue!
Thank you Chad for letting me use your before/after, and seriously, if you EVER need a reliable ally with Comcast (especially moving your business) THIS IS YOUR GUY!!!
I used to equate my 1-800 experiences to "Like giving childbirth, painful process, but once you've got..."
Now, I just call Chad at 503-716-6212