My manager took my headshots but I don’t like them, now what do I do?

Blog by Los Angeles Headshot Photographer: Vanie Poyey

I received an email from an old client whose manager had offered to take her headshots.  In her email she wrote “I figured that would be a great idea since she would know what clients are looking for. I REALLY DON’T LIKE THE PICTURES! How do I have new ones done (and submitted) without making her feel bad? I, of course, want and need her to consider me for jobs.”  Ouch.

Sometimes being honest and facing the problem head on is the best approach, and in this case, I’d advise to do just that. Let your manager know that you value your relationship with her and that you would like her to continue submitting you for jobs but ask if she would be offended if you took more photos with another photographer.  Don’t say any more than that.  Don’t justify your question by providing reasons.  Simply listen to her response and hopefully, by being honest yourself, you’ll receive an honest response.

If she says no not at all, then you’re working with a gracious person whose intention is to get you work.  If she seems offended or upset or even defensive, then you clearly are not working with a professional and it’s best to do yourself a favor and move on.

Now to the bigger question.  Should you have your manager take your headshots? The answer is no.  For a multitude of reasons.

  • One, it’s a conflict of interest.  Your manager is there to manage you not to be your headshot photographer.  Her job is to get you work and in turn earn her pay.  If she’s making her money by taking your headshots then I would question how good she is as a manger.   I would also question how good she is as a photographer!
  • Do you really want to find yourself in the situation my client found herself in?  What if you don’t like your photos?  What if they don’t work for you?  How do you deal with that?
  • Three, by having your manager take your headshots, you’re not exercising due diligence by first doing your research of photographers.  Being your manager doesn’t earn her a free pass to being the best headshot photographer for you.

Hopefully you won’t have to learn this lesson the hard way so if your manager offers to take your headshots, kindly decline and instead, hire a professional who isn’t going to have a conflict of interest when it comes to your career.

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