A great headshot is your best calling card in today’s digital world. Getting photographed now is more convenient than ever. David Beyda, a headshot specialist, has just opened a studio in Teaneck, in addition to his studio in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. “It’s much more convenient for people who live in this area,” he said. “I can do everything here that I do in my New York studio with the same attention, level of detail and quick turnaround time.”
First impressions are key in business and social circles. A headshot is presented before any meeting and may determine if you even get your foot in the door. “A good professional headshot makes you stand out,” said Beyda. “For LinkedIn, you want to look professional, capable and intelligent. On a shidduch resume, you want to look happy, positive and attractive.”
A professional headshot on a shidduch resume helps young men and women get noticed. Potential dates appreciate when someone cares enough about their image to have a photo taken that shows them at their best. “One mother of a girl whose shidduch photo I took, told me that the photo got her daughter so many first dates that it really made a difference in finding her bashert,” said Beyda. “Of course, headshots for shidduch resumes are not just for the ladies. Female recipients highly appreciate when a man takes the dating process seriously and cares enough about his image to get a proper photo done.”
Beyda said art and psychology are combined together when he takes a good headshot. “I don’t just snap a few photos and say goodbye,” he said. “Sensitivity to the needs of my subject is of paramount importance. True, joking around and kibitzing to bring out various expressions during the session is of the utmost importance. However, all the while I am listening and being attentive to the all important clues dropped by my subject. Picking up on those clues is key to creating a great portrait, which will be unique to the individual. That’s the aspect of the art of portraiture that I really like.”
Beyda also photographs events and families. “The same principles apply for great family portraits and event photos. The way family members relate to each other is what I find most interesting and what I try to capture. I always shoot fast because those expressive relationship moments come and go in a momentary flash.”
With his trained eye, Beyda knows how to sift through all the images to choose the right one. “I might have three or four hundred pictures, each with a little different smile, look in the eye and tilt of the head. I’m after the perfect one, with a certain quality that gets them noticed and makes them look like a million dollars.”
The pandemic is changing the way business operates and people are pivoting into new jobs and careers. A fresh new photo for a LinkedIn profile can give people the confidence to reach out. “I cheer them up when I take photos,” said Beyda. “I bring up their spirits and get them excited; that’s how you get a beautiful picture.”
Beyda wants clients to express their individuality so he gives guidelines, rather than telling people exactly what to do or wear. He’ll tell businessmen to wear the ubiquitous dark suit, light shirt and bold tie, but to also bring along a few counterintuitive extras like a polo shirt. “It’s always good to bring a few options. You never know what effect a garment can have on your subject. Colors and cuts can enhance the portrait, and just feeling comfortable can help.” A great casual photo can also be good for social media or a shidduch resume. And with his mastery of Photoshop, Beyda can correct any flaws and enhance a photo while making it look natural.
Beyda’s interest in photography began in high school, back in the days when film was developed in a darkroom—which he thought was very cool. He graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied photography and filmmaking.
Beyda began producing headshots for clients when he realized that even though he was a photographer, taking his own photo was challenging. “I needed someone to talk to me and take me out of my shell. I spent money getting a good headshot and I thought, ‘I could do this; I know how to talk to people and make them look great!’” He opened a studio in New York in 1997, where he has photographed many famous people in entertainment, sports and business including Martin Scorsese, Alex Rodriguez, John Paulson and Carl Icahn. His clients include prestigious law firms, banks and hedge funds.
By Bracha Schwartz