A person’s credibility, professionalism, and unique personality factor into the first impression they make. When Omaha photographer Lane Hickenbottom pursued headshot photography, he saw a need to be an asset for job seekers, employers, and business professionals ready to communicate confidence to their audience.
While attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he fell in love with a photojournalism class required for his major in news-editorial. As his collegiate career progressed, Hickenbottom immersed himself at the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan, and pursued internship opportunities.
In 2006, Hickenbottom balanced freelancing and a staff photographer job at the Grand Island Independent. Before he knew it, the entrepreneur was operating Lane Weddings, his first business that emerged after a one-off wedding opportunity. “I saw the writing on the wall, knew my worth, and decided I wanted to be a business owner,” he said. “It was scary, but I saw a lot of success.”
Along with weddings, Hickenbottom continued to occasionally photograph editorial, families, headshots, and other things under the brand of Lane Photographics. After some business struggles and more than 20 years of photography under his belt, Hickenbottom was ready to part ways with the profession–until an unexpected spark at the beginning of 2019 rekindled his love for his craft.
Combining his love for people with building brands, Hickenbottom launched Omaha Headshot Company. “My love for networking parallels why I love photography—it’s so human-driven,” he said. “I love finding out what makes people interesting and showcasing that through photography, pulling that persona out of them, and letting it shine through a single image.”
The company’s tagline, “Look better than your competition,” is a nod to his clients and how he positions them as heroes. “Many people are on an upward trajectory when they come to us,” he said. “It’s fulfilling being around people looking to improve their lives.”
Whether someone is starting a business, looking for new work, or simply desires a new LinkedIn photo, Hickenbottom leans on his laid-back personality to create a comfortable environment, empathize with people’s insecurities, and put his clients at ease. “Instead of immediately sticking a camera in their face, I like to talk about what brought them here, encourage them, and find solutions to any discomforts.”
Because the company specializes in headshot photography, subtle techniques—like lighting strategies, shoulder positions, and even cracking jokes—help create the best result. Tricks of the trade such as directing people to jut their chin forward or pretend to hold a giant sub sandwich allow Hickenbottom to capture more definition, accentuate features, and create a more youthful or slimmed-down appearance.
Hickenbottom reviews photos with the client at the end of each session, which allows them to address any problems real time, such as flyaway hairs. “We look past things that can be digitally re-touched if the rest of the photo is magic,” he said. “I want people to love their headshot, not just settle with it.”
The value behind a professional headshot is that it establishes credibility, portrays confidence, and promotes a person’s authentic self. Beyond taking photos, Hickenbottom uses his love for people to drive Omaha Headshot Company forward and help people leave lasting impressions. “Know your message, know your audience, and decide how you want to portray yourself to them,” he said. “If a client can leave with a better perception of themselves, and I’m left inspired by their desire for development, I could do that every day.”
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