Dr Simon’s Formulaic Branded Headshots Session, with the Art of Distraction

Simon pointing jokingly to his temple indicating brains and genius


Simon Raybould is known as THE Presentation Genius.  Why?  It’s for a couple of reasons really.  The first, he wrote the book on it:

The second is that he lives and breathes presentations and speaking coaching.

I first time I met him in the flesh, was at the PSA (Professional Speaking Association).  Worryingly, I was doing a professional photography presentation on headshots there and I knew that he was a bit of a stickler for marking the visitors with his reputable barometer on public speaking.  Kind of a double-edged sword isn’t it?  Great for the feedback, but knee-knockingly scary at the same time.

Sepia Toned Headshot of Simon Raybould, before he used Laura Pearman Photography Headshot Services

Simon’s older collection of headshots.  I’ve been sworn to secrecy on just how old they are.


Simon mentioned to me in passing briefly that he must get his headshots updated, on the very same night I just told you about, in the bar after I’d given my presentation.  A lot of people say this to me a lot of the time.  When I first set out as a headshots photographer I felt 100% sure that this meant that every single person actually meant that they probably would be booking me to do a headshots session with them very soon when they came up to me and told me this lovely news….

I quickly learned that this, in fact, is NOT the case.  Everyone is quite different.  What they say and what they do are two entirely different things.  Nothing to lose sleep over here.  In fact, it’s really just all part of the tapestry of how people fascinate the life out of me.  Have you ever pondered upon our random-ass behaviours?  We are all such beautiful freaks, aren’t we?

I digress.

Simon’s lead up to shooting with me was completely unique.  He is the anomaly that proves the rule.


In Simon’s case, I found myself in a small think-tank a couple of months later helping some business buddies out as they were trying to develop a new book idea.  Picture this:

Exhibit A) A Start Up business there to see if this style of working was in fact a think-tank or if it was the opportunity to network/mastermind and get some coaching all for free.

Exhibit B) Simon.  Speaking frankly, analytically, and looking to ALWAYS prove theory on behalf of the chaps getting us to think in their tank.

Exhibit C) Me. Speaking frankly, in rash general terms.  Flying from one creative wildness to the next.  All in the spirit of the ideas fruition.

Exhibit D) The poor chaps running the bloody tank.  Dinging the half-time bell.

Within each of these meetings Simon would mention to me (always in passing) that “I will even-tu-ally get around to shooting those headshots.”

I would nod and smile along.  Or sometimes swear back at him.

Imagine my surprise when Simon really called my bluff! In his email me out of the blue, a couple of months later saying that NOW was the time to shoot “those damn headshots”.


From the unique and meandering consultancy that was happening with Simon’s headshots planning over the months I’ve just described to you, I had already formulated a good idea of his true nature and personality.  When it came to planning the professional photography side of things, it was key for me to match all of that along with Simons key objectives.  They were incredibly direct and succinct:

  • Practical – His methods are always practical, he is a doer, as well as a thinker.
  • Proven – No BS. Whilst science-based, it’s not too “sciency”.
  • Prophetic – He has a LOT of knowledge to back up his style of training and coaching.

Having these 3 very clear and succinct brand values gave me some precise grounding.  We were then able to pull out some more practical plans for shooting these concepts.  I was able to really challenge Simon’s reluctance to get into the nitty-gritty on the actual shoot arrangements.  He made it very clear he was stalling on this because he really did not like having his pictures taken.


In the run-up to the shoot, I had a venue in mind and I struggled to get it confirmed as perfectly as I wanted to.  It would make me a terrible Professional Photographer if I were to name and shame the venue involved in this process, but I still want to tell you that after about two days of scouting, persuasive phone calls and endless emails with Press Officers and their Superiors, it all died on the vine.

Hey, it happens sometimes.

Nevertheless, my trusty contact list and a few more phone-calls paid off.  Having explained my bind, and being let down, I was able to secure some ultra-exclusive access to an INCREDIBLE venue for Simon’s Shoot.


I met John Musham when co-working at the library in 2016.  Having explained to him the details of my venue situation, and the type of shoot I had in mind, he simply said

“Laura…. Click To Tweet

I gave Simon a rough overview of where we would be going “Libraries n books n stuff…… to your happy place”.  His face lit up with joy when he found out that we were going to be accessing the vaults and archives behind the library secret walls.

Simon leans against a library archaving shelf in Newcastle City Library and laughs, dressed casually for his professional photography headshots session

Simon filled with (natural) glee at being granted ultra-exclusive access to the library archives.

Simon gets excited at finding really old maps of the North East region inside Newcastle City Library's archive. Professional Photography shot by Laura Pearman Photography

Simon literally jumping up and down at finding map records from hundreds of years ago.

Huge thanks to John and the team at Newcastle City Library for welcoming us to the library and for saving the day.  If you would like to find out about the extensive work that the City Library does for regional small businesses you can follow this link here:

Dr Raybould laughs whilst working in the atrium of Newcastle City Library


After getting a couple of more formal shots of Simon at Newcastle Central Arcade (See the Blog Feature Header Image), I told him that we would head for a cuppa to shoot his testimonial video.  That was in fact a complete lie, I wanted to get a couple more shots of him.  This is one of my absolute favourites from the session.

Simon was completely relaxed and mid writing some fake notes that I had him sketching out as I’d told him I was testing the balance of the camera.  By this point he was a complete pro-poser and totally unaware of it.

The official Tyneside Coffee Rooms Logo, Professional Photography
I’m just reading @presentations Quirky Branded #Headshots blog and now I want to shoot with @laurapcreative Click To Tweet


You can jump inside my phone and watch the re-run of my Insta-Story from the day of the shoot.  Watch it right here:


Simon and I met online to narrow down his selection of images from his private online gallery to a final collection.

He’d had a few trusted colleagues visit the gallery and pick out their favourites, so it was fun to compare which images they had chosen to each other and discuss why that might be.

We then cross-referenced this back to our original brief, and those uber-succinct branding buzzwords that Simon had as the foundation of the shoot in the first place.

Scientific and formulaic? You Betcha!


Retouching on this collection was hugely tonal in focus.  Given that we spent a lot of time capturing professional photography under fluorescent lighting in a library archive, it took a while to ensure that these images balanced (within reason) to the images we shot outside in the much more natural lighting at Newcastle’s Central Arcade.


Remember I told you about my trick with the coffee bribe, and then having Simon do a presentation/feedback piece to the camera?  Well, we did actually go ahead and record that testimonial footage.  Here’s what happened:


If you are like Simon Raybould, and you are in the business of presenting yourself to the world in a professional capacity, but, you know that your headshots are way out of date (over two years and I’ll wag my finger at you like your primary school teach did).  Then we need to talk!


Get some inspiration for your next headshots session, and see what has been done before.  Why not pin some of these images to your very own secret Pinterest board.  You don’t even have to tell anyone you are doing this.


If time is more of the essence and your headshots are as old as gone off milk, then here is my price guide.  Download, and we can get going pronto on the right service for you bibbety, bobbety, boo!

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