From Sniper School to Headshot Photography: How Military Training Can Enhance Your Skills as a Photographer

C Co 1/508th ABN in Iraq 2003

As a graduate of the US Army sniper school, I’ve had the opportunity to develop skills that I never would have thought could translate into the world of professional headshot photography. Yet, here I am, using my prior experience to bring a unique perspective and skill set to the industry. One of the most obvious skills that I’ve been able to carry over from my time in the military is precision shooting. When you’re a sniper, you have to be incredibly precise with every shot you take. This requires a level of attention to detail and focus that is hard to come by. 

In headshot photography, precision is just as important. Every detail matters, from the lighting and composition to the facial expression and posture of the subject. With my training as a sniper, I bring a level of precision and attention to detail that can help ensure that every headshot I capture is compelling and impactful. Another advantage of my prior military experience is the work ethic, discipline, and professionalism that I bring to my work. In the military, you learn quickly that hard work and dedication are essential to achieving your goals. This is just as true in the world of photography. 

As a professional photographer, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to ensure that your clients are happy with the final product. You have to be disciplined in your approach to your work, always striving to improve and refine your skills. And, of course, professionalism is key. In the military, you represent something larger than yourself, and the same is true in the world of business. Being punctual, courteous, and respectful is essential for building strong relationships with clients and colleagues. 

Finally, my experience in the military has given me a unique perspective on life that I bring to my work as a photographer. When you’re in the military, you see things and experience things that most people will never have to deal with. This can give you a deeper appreciation for life, as well as a sense of purpose and meaning that can be hard to find elsewhere. As a photographer, I try to capture the essence of my subjects, to show their personality and character in a way that is authentic and real. I believe that my prior military experience has given me a unique perspective on life that allows me to bring a level of depth and meaning to my work that might not be possible otherwise. 

In conclusion, my experience as a graduate of the US Army sniper school has provided me with a set of skills and perspectives that have proven to be highly valuable in my career as a professional headshot photographer. Precision shooting, attention to detail, discipline, and professionalism are just a few of the qualities that I bring to my work, along with a unique perspective on life that allows me to capture images that are authentic, impactful, and meaningful. I’m proud to have served my country, and I’m equally proud to be using my prior military experience to create beautiful and compelling headshots for my clients.

Four Tips for a Confident, Photo-Ready Smile


Did you know studies show that your smile is one of the first things someone notices about you when they meet you for the first time? With so many relationships beginning online nowadays, have you considered what your profile picture says about you, or even
what you’re communicating to employers on LinkedIn or other professional networking platforms? If you’re feeling like you need a fresh headshot, but you’ve been putting it off because you don’t feel confident about your smile, I have great news for you. First of all, you’re not alone, and secondly, there is hope!

As a photographer, I will never ask my clients to smile during the headshot session. My goal is to elicit a natural expression from anyone in front of my camera, however, some clients are self-conscious about their smile and work hard to fight the laugher and keep their mouth closed for the photograph. When I ask them why, it’s inevitably always
the same answer: they don’t like their smiles for one reason or another, and I
honestly can’t blame them. There’s nothing worse than investing in images of
yourself and then being distracted by the fact that you wish your smile was
straighter, brighter, or that you felt prouder of it. This got me thinking about teeth and how to care for them, so I came up with these four tips to help
you get your smile photo-ready before you step in front of the lens:

One: Dental Hygiene Is an Everyday Necessity

You might be able to say you brush your teeth on daily basis, but how often do you floss? Doing these things together is crucial for keeping your teeth safe from plaque build-up and protecting your gums from infection. It is one of the best preventive things you can do for your oral health. Plus, you’ll have pearly whites that you’re proud to show to others.

Two: Discuss Invisalign With Your Dentist

One of the most common reasons I hear clients say they’re not happy with their smiles is because they feel like their teeth are crooked. If you can relate to that sentiment, even if the misalignment isn’t very noticeable to others, it can play a huge role in deterring you from having the confidence you need in front of the lens. If you’re ready to have a straighter smile without sacrificing by wearing brackets and wires, your Arlington Heights dentist can offer you the transforming treatment of Invisalign. The best part is that the clear aligners are impossible to notice in a photograph, even a headshot!

Three: Have Your Teeth Professionally Whitened

Who would turn down the opportunity to have a whiter smile for their next professional headshot? If you’ve tried over-the-counter whitening products before, then you probably know that the results don’t exactly turn out like the advertisement images. Instead of wasting more time and money on strips and gels, ask your dentist about in-office professional whitening. They have state-of-the-art treatments that can brighten your smile by several shades in just one visit.

Four: Just Be Yourself

It sounds like the simplest piece of advice, but “acting natural” in front of a camera lens is something that many people struggle with (especially if someone is telling them to do so.) The great thing about having a beautiful smile that you love is that it allows you to take your mind off of trying to hide it and truly be yourself. In my experience, the best images I take are the ones of people who have learned to love themselves, and I would be honored to take your next headshots.

What Does 40 Milliseconds Say About You?

Have you ever been so shocked by a social media post that you jump to an extreme conclusion? That’s what happened to me and my college friends when we saw Will’s LinkedIn post supporting a veteran’s outreach program. At first glance, it looked like an obituary, and we all thought the worst. It just goes to show how quickly we can jump to conclusions based on one image or piece of information.

The same is true for your headshot. Potential clients will form an opinion about you and your brand within seconds of seeing your headshot. In fact, studies show that it takes less than one second for someone to form an impression based on your headshot.

Your headshot is a powerful tool for communicating your approachability, competence, youthfulness, and dominance. It can make the difference between a potential client choosing you over your competitors or vice versa.

In my next post, I’ll explore the importance of a great headshot and how it can help you stand out from the crowd. But for now, I invite you to take control of those critical 40 milliseconds and book an appointment today to optimize your headshot and enhance your personal brand.

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