The Therapist’s Couch

Some of my clients are awesome. Last week I got to add a new person to the awesome list. He is a psychotherapist who works with troubled teens. He’s saving the world one kid at a time, and talking with him during his portrait session was both educational and inspiring.

We did a traditional multi-purpose professional headshot that represented his balance of reserve and approachability:

After reviewing his headshots on the computer and selecting his favorite, he asked if I could do a more informal portrait that showed him in an environment and also demonstrated a bit more of his personality and the experience of talking with him one-on-one in a therapy setting. I quickly pulled apart my headshot lighting setup, dragged the couch from my client seating area across the room to the far wall, and concocted an environment for my subject to sit in. The jacket and tie came off, and we just started talking.

This was our winning portrait:

The image above looks casual and un-posed, but is still a descriptive headshot that shows his face clearly. He liked the image a lot, but as we were looking through the images from the couch session, he saw the image below and almost leaped out of his chair. He loved the spontaneous editorial quality of the image, and even though it doesn’t show is face quite as clearly, he requested the image.

I’m not sure I would have initially stopped to look at this image as a headshot. However, as I looked at the image more and more, I grew to share my client’s excitement about it. And it works as a supplement to the more formal eyes-to-camera images we had already selected.

It’s a keeper.