Tip to consider when planning for your headshot photographer
When you hear the word “headshot,” what do you think of? Headshot photography by an experienced headshot photographer can be as simple or complex as it needs to be. The goal is to get an image people use to identify you but most often to relate to you. You might need one if you are applying for jobs or trying to make connections on LinkedIn, but you want to be photographed professionally as an actor, model, speaker, etc. Headshots can serve many purposes and it’s important that they look good! In this blog post, we will discuss 10 tips and tricks for preparing for your professional headshots so that these pictures turn out great!
What are the different purposes for a headshot?
Understand that there are several reasons you might have a professional headshot and just one headshot might not be enough. Just like you would not use the same tool for every home repair project you have, you also likely will not use the same headshot for every need you have. Websites and billboards can look very different, as one is seen at a distance and the other is seen at close up.
- LinkedIn: The Focus here is all business. This one should communicate well in a variety of situations since a wide range of people may view it.
- Acting headshots or modeling headshots: by far the most complex of the shoots we do. Variety is needed to show the range of options to a casting director.
- Speaking professionally headshot: It’s important to consider this photo when talking professionally since it might influence someone’s decision whether to attend a convention or show up at an event you’re hosting.
- Advertising: this is the most common one and would be used on things like websites and billboards and business cards.
Why do you need headshot photography?
People are still people. We make assumptions about people by how they look. I’m not implying that people are only interested in doing business with attractive individuals, but an image exuding confidence or friendliness can encourage them to work with you.
Since most of the time people are looking to do business with a professional, the headshot can communicate to them you indeed are a professional. At our studio, we figure out what to communicate with the professional image. Some professions need to showcase high professionalism, such as lawyers. While others need to communicate what I would call casual professionalism, such as most real estate agents’ headshots.
Where should you have your headshots taken?
Your headshots should be taken in a location that will show off your personality and look professional. A studio-based headshot photographer is always a good option, but if you’re looking for something more personal or creative, consider having them taken outdoors or in an interesting indoor space. Understand though, in a headshot, relatively little of the background typically shows. It is also important the background not be distracting. It is nice having a casual photo outside until a tree in the background looks like antlers growing out of your head.
A good headshot photographer should pay attention to those details, but I have seen my fair share of bad headshots over the years.
My go-to choice is to consider a studio photo since you’ll have the most control over the situation and lighting, not to mention the hair. This image is often seen up close much more so than many other kinds of images we create, such as family pictures or senior pictures.
Things to prepare for in advance
A headshot session is typically short, so some groundwork should be done ahead of time to ensure that both the photographer and the subject are on the same page with regards to what they want from their headshot.
Discuss what you want to accomplish with the shoot ahead of time. The more information your photographer knows before the session, the easier it will be to get the photos to match your expectations. This is especially true in how you were going to use the image as well as what you want the image to communicate. Remember that a professional headshot photographer near you will have experience lighting, posing, and staging all sorts of headshot photos.
Tips and tricks for getting the best possible results from your headshot session.
Do you hate having your pictures taken?
Many people that come into the studio say that they dislike having their pictures taken. Often this comes from unpleasant experiences they may have had as kids at school where the photographers understandably have very little time to work with each child. Others may not have been posed or lit well in prior photographs or add a photographer who took time to discuss what would look best.
It boils down to nerves and that is the number one tip that I have is to relax. If you have chosen your photographer well you should be able to be relaxed.
Set yourself up for success.
Don’t rush in and out during lunch or put it before or after an important meeting or event. Be able to feel you can take your time without stressing out.
While not necessary, it would not hurt to look in the mirror and see what expressions you like for yourself. It might surprise you how big you need to smile in order to get the expression you need.
Things to prepare for close to your session
Two things that can really help you look the best in your images are proper sleep and good hydration. Getting great sleep the night before is helpful but getting several nights of sleep before is even better. Another thing to consider is hydration. Focus on being well hydrated starting at least the day before and the day of the session. It really will make a difference in the image.
It is also helpful to lay out what you plan to wear and make sure that there isn’t an accessory that you are missing or want to add. It may also have you thinking about changes you might want to make to your wardrobe. We do not mind if people bring more than one outfit to get an opinion on because white might look very well on someone who may not make a great headshot outfit.
What retouching should I have done on my images?
I will always advocate for natural retouching. Everyone needs some retouching because cameras today are exceedingly high resolution and record an abundance of detail. I also operate from the position if you were not created with it then we can consider removing it. Acne is one of those things. Most of what we address is one of two things.
Eye bags: these become more prominent with age and poor sleep habits. We soften these but never entirely remove them.
Stray hairs: the lighter the hair the more these are visible. While we work to reduce these prior to shooting, stray hairs will happen.
For those with glasses, glass glare can be an issue. It is a much bigger issue for you if you have had images taken outside. A professional headshot photographer often can position the lights in such a way that illuminates any need for glass glare retouching. We no longer recommend taking lenses out of glasses – that was for back in the film days.
What are some modern options or unique ways to take headshots
The traditional headshot resembles very much a yearbook photo. This isn’t to degrade this image as we very frequently photograph this style for a large number of businesses. It is very flexible and most importantly it can look very consistent from person to person no matter when they come into the studio.
But what if you wanted a fresh look? One thing that we have seen in recent years is a bit broader view of the individual. Sometimes these are 3/4 shots where the guys’ hands are in his pockets or perhaps the individual has their arms crossed and you can see down to around their waist in the final image.
An additional change in recent years is an image where the individual is not looking at the camera at all. This could be particularly good for websites and general posts for social media where maybe you have a quote along with the image. This can work if you want to show laughing or a very large smile. If you were wearing more formal clothing this is a great way to be very casual even while being in very formal or professional clothes.
What are the clothing and jewelry tips for headshots?
It seems like all of the suggestions we would offer would be centered around clothing, but sometimes clothing is over complicated. Having a darker tone is best. This does not have to be black but could be jewel tones but only in certain circumstances will a very light color work best for people.
Jewelry is perfectly fine but the goal isn’t to make the jewelry the star of the show. Subtle earrings and a necklace, and perhaps a watch are all that is necessary. Some necklaces hand down low or are long. The longer necklaces get cropped off in close-up images.
Do you need professional hair and makeup?
This is a fairly common question or concern.
One thing to avoid is making major style changes before the shoot-make sure you like a look before you get photographed with that look. Significant changes to coloring of the hair right before a session is not recommended – this is to make sure that you are happy with that color or if the coloring was not done perfectly there is time to get it corrected before the photoshoot.
Many do quite well getting their own hair and make-up ready. However, when it comes to hair, it is great to have it laying nice so there are fewer strands to retouch out in post-production. This isn’t so that our job is easier but rather it always looks better if there is less retouching done on the hair.
The next step for boosting your image is finding a headshot photographer near you. We are based in Findlay Ohio and do travel a fair amount to create headshot photography for corporate groups.
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- Link to Pinterest Boards for Ideas
- How to do makeup based on your face shape