Subtlety and Nuance Capture the Imagination


Finesse is Appealing.


Copy of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

My first job as a photographer in 1986 was shooting children and family portraits. My mandate was to ensure everyone looked happy, showing wide toothy smiles in their photographs.


Recently, one of my mentors described the contemporary headshot aesthetic to me. He said: “Your executive headshots need to depict your client as a confident and approachable professional. Their expressions should come out naturally.”


Leonardo da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa is the most famous example of nuance in a portrait. The subtlety of her expression has captured the imagination of many for centuries. I work to create the same psychological and emotional tension to capture the viewer's imagination.

Woman's headshot on dark background in Professional headshots Palo Alto studio.
Chelsea Ramm, CEO, and Founder of Sum Savvy Consulting

My outlook towards photographing people has grown more sophisticated over the years. I still shoot images with toothy smiles; however, I now work towards capturing a range of expression, strength of character, and depth of personality. Today, my mandate is to create headshots that show confident and approachable leaders in their fields ready to take on the next opportunity.

Dean Birinyi- About the author. Dean Birinyi is an award-winning photographer, founder, and owner of Professional Headshots Palo Alto. He specializes in expression coaching to guide his customers on presenting themselves as confident, approachable professionals ready for the next opportunity.