22 Tips For A Good Headshot Update 10/2021

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For almost a decade, I’ve shot professional commercial portraits and have learned a few things that can be extremely beneficial when having your photo taken.. Nobody gives you advice, so I thought I’d try to help you get the most out of having your profile photo taken instead.

1. Match it to Your Brand

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Business headshot tips begin with matching the subject’s image with their brand.

Individuals, like companies, have a “brand,” or something for which they are well-known.

You may be the company CEO, and you may be viewed as authoritative, powerful, and reliable because of that. Are you the company’s HR person and are you well-liked?

That image must reflect your personal brand. This is accomplished through the use of photo compositional elements such as lighting, background, clothing, and facial expression. All of these topics will be addressed in the upcoming tips.

Identifying your subject’s brand as soon as possible is critical for business headshot photographers who want to plan ahead.

2. Think About Where Photo Will be Used

The second piece of advice is to consider and plan out how you intend to use the image.

What if the image is used as a profile picture on LinkedIn? Is that a photo you took and posted on social media? On the website of the business?

Business headshot photographers should be aware of this because it will help them plan out the photo orientation, background, lighting set-up and color.

This is important to know before you go out and take a business headshot on a black background because all of your company’s website images will be white.

Aside from that, if they’re going to use it on LinkedIn, and you choose a vertical orientation that’s difficult to crop for the platform, it could cause problems where it “chops off” parts of their faces.

3. Use Proper Lighting

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Proper lighting is the third tip for business headshots, and it applies to all photographs.

Is it more important to use natural light or specialized lighting?

Before beginning a photoshoot, decide on the lighting setup and type of lighting you want to use.

4. Keep the Backdrop Simple

A simple backdrop/background is the fourth tip.

Given that this is a headshot, it’s important to keep the viewer’s attention on the subject, so avoid using a distracting background.

The backdrop you select has a significant impact on the final photo’s appearance.

White, black, and a variety of other colors are all options, as is a blurred-out office setting.

Remember, as mentioned in tip 1, to back the backdrop/background with the brand of your subject.

A dark background, as opposed to a white one, can help convey a more somber or serious message. Do you have an idea of what you want to look like?

5. Choose a Natural Environment

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The 5th tip is to choose a natural environment as a backdrop to keep things simple.

In the event that you decide to use a backdrop other than a plain colored one, make sure the subject is at ease before picking a location.

As an illustration, the location could be the subject’s workplace or some other place where they feel at ease.

If you can capture images of your employees working in their environment, you’ll appear more authentic to your brand and feel more at ease when it comes time to photograph them.

6. Dress to Impress

Dress to impress is the sixth business headshot tip.

Is There a Proper Attire for a Professional Portrait?

It’s best to dress like you’re meeting a new client when getting your business headshot taken.

By doing this, you will be able to stay true to your brand identity.

This implies that you should keep your outfit simple and avoid wearing anything you wouldn’t normally wear.

If you wear something you’re used to, you’ll feel more at ease and look better in your corporate headshots because you’ll be more relaxed during the shoot.

7. Keep Hair Style and Makeup Simple and Professional

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Another tip for corporate/professional headshots is to keep your hair and makeup simple.

When it comes to hair and makeup, the adage “simple is best” applies.

When taking photos, it’s best not to use excessive amounts of makeup because the extra layers of foundation will show up in the final image.

You’ll want to do your makeup the same way you normally do it in your day-to-day office activities to look on brand and not overdone, just like you would for a business headshot.

How Should You Do Your Hair for a Professional Headshot ?

You’ll want to keep your hair and makeup simple, too.

Decide on a simple yet comfortable hairstyle. How would you style your hair if you were going to meet with a high-profile client? Take a chance with your appearance.

Attempting new, flashy hairstyles, especially those that go up, may result in your photo being cropped or your subject being difficult to capture in the frame.

A few days prior to the photoshoot, and not the day of, you should get a haircut for men.

You’ll have more time to get used to your new haircut and make any necessary adjustments if you’re not satisfied with it.

8. Good Posture

The eighth and final business headshot tip is to maintain a straight posture throughout the photo shoot.

As well as helping with photo composition, good posture will also make you look more professional.

A confident and professional demeanor can be conveyed through good posture.

It’s the photographer’s job to make sure the subject has good posture, but the model should remember this as well.

If you want to avoid looking stiff, sit up straight, put your shoulders back, and keep them relaxed the entire time.

Sit as if you’re having a face-to-face conversation with the hiring manager. That’s a cute little story I like to tell people to help them remember it.

9. Stay Loose

The ninth and final piece of advice is to keep things loose.

Even if it seems obvious, it’s easy to overlook this step if you’re the subject and aren’t used to having your photo taken.

Maintaining a conversation with the subject helps keep them at ease, which is something we’ll talk about in more detail later (no pun intended).

Having a natural smile and personality will help convey how you’re feeling free and relaxed.

As a result, you’ll have a better photo in general, and your brand will appear more naturally in the image.

10. Think About Props

The tenth and final suggestion is to consider using props.

Props aren’t always required for business headshots, but it’s a good idea to keep them in mind.

Include a computer, a desk, or a camera if it aids in the communication of your subject’s brand.

As a photographer, if you’re going to use props, you should know the brand of the subject and the purpose of the photo, as mentioned in tips #1 and #2.

A picture of the CEO’s face will do if the business headshot is for the company website and no props are needed.

The prop of their camera, on the other hand, may help better align with their brand and message if you are taking a business headshot of another photographer for their website!

Take a photo with and without props if you’re undecided about whether or not they belong in your photo.

You and the subject can then discuss whether or not using props was a good idea in the first place.

11. Hand Mirror

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The eleventh tip is to carry a small mirror with you at all times.

This tip has to do with putting the subject at ease and making them feel at ease.

Hair, makeup, and clothing can all be checked in the final moments with the help of a small hand mirror kept nearby.

Instead of worrying or hoping that their hair looks a certain way or that they don’t have a shiny spot on their forehead, knowing what they look like helps them relax and be more comfortable during the shoot.

12. Drink Lots of Water

The subject is the twelfth business headshot tip.

Drink plenty of water the day before and the day of the event, according to this advice.

You can keep your skin looking young and healthy by drinking plenty of water.

13. Avoid Lots of Salt Night Before

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The day before your photoshoot, you should avoid eating or drinking anything salty.

When you eat a lot of salt, it can cause water retention in your face, making you look puffy.

Because that’s a bad idea when it comes to photo shoots, right?

14. Get Enough Sleep

The fourteenth professional headshot tip is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep the night before.

It is critical that the subject gets enough sleep the night before the photo shoot in order to have a fresh and awake appearance.

Getting enough sleep will help keep bags under your eyes at bay and improve the overall appearance of your skin.

15. Hire a Professional

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The fifteenth piece of advice is geared toward people who need a professional headshot.

It is critical that you seek the services of a qualified photographer for your portrait.

Your vision can become a reality thanks to the expertise of a professional.

If you want a professional-looking photo, you should spend money on a professional photographer.

You can ask a friend to take a picture with their phone, but the picture will not look professional.

It will help your overall brand image and appearance if you present a professional image.

16. Conversation

The sixteenth photography tip is to put your subject at ease.

To make your subjects feel more at ease, strike up a conversation with them.

If you don’t feel good about the way you look and you’re in front of a stranger getting your picture taken can be a nerve-wracking experience.

In order to keep the atmosphere light and stress-free, start a conversation with your audience member.

Keep the conversation light and informal, as if you were speaking to a friend.

Show them your steps and how you work, and encourage your subject by telling them they are doing a great job — this will give them confidence and reassurance.

17. Glasses or No Glasses

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Choose between wearing glasses or not wearing glasses as your 17th tip.

Even if no one in the office ever sees the subject without his or her glasses, having them wear them in the photograph may help keep the subject’s image consistent.

Make sure they don’t have a red mark on their nose from their glasses that will show up in the photo if they normally wear glasses and choose not to do so in the photo!

18. Watch the Camera Height

The height of the camera is an important consideration when taking professional headshots.

The camera’s height should be at or slightly above nose or eye level.

When taking portraits other than business/professional ones, steer clear of the creative angles.

A low-angle shot can reveal a dreadful double chin or exaggerate the size of someone’s face.

If you shoot from above, you run the risk of making them appear to have a small head.

Make sure your camera is at eye level with the subject and that you are looking directly at them.

19. Smile or No Smile

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People often tell us to smile in our photos, but what if we don’t feel comfortable doing so?

Do not simply instruct the subject to smile when taking a business headshot; instead, find out whether or not they prefer to look their best without smiling. After that, inquire as to whether or not they prefer a smile with their lips pursed or parted.

Smiling isn’t always a good idea. It’s also important to remember that you want the photo to stay true to your brand, so don’t put pressure on anyone to smile.

Telling people to smile for the camera results in an unnatural-looking smile, as evidenced by the way the smile doesn’t extend into the subject’s eyes.

Telling a joke or asking them to think of something that makes them laugh is the best way to get them smiling. Self-deprecating humor always gets a smirk from them, in my experience.

20. Don’t Rush

Avoid rushing when taking professional headshots, which brings us to our twentyth tip.

It’s a little something just for the photographers out there.

If you’re taking photos for the entire company, you may be tempted to rush through the process. However, it’s critical to take your time when taking a business headshot.

Just keep in mind that simple is fast, and vice versa.

If you rush the photos, not only will the subject sense your hurriedness, but you may also overlook or forget some of the important tips we’ve provided you with in this guide.

Make sure you take your time and breathe deeply before beginning each task. Even if you take your time, you are not being sluggish.

Check that everything is in order: lighting, pose, conversation, and a mirror for the subject to check themselves in.

21. Take Multiple Shots

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The twenty-first piece of advice is to take numerous pictures.

You’ll want a wide variety of images to choose from rather than a small number of carefully chosen ones.

It’s best to get several shots of the same pose from different perspectives, but keep an eye on the height.

It’s also a good idea to take multiple shots in case your subject blinks or becomes out of focus in some of them. Unless you see the images in post-production, it’s difficult to tell.

Do not take the “money” photo only to find out later that it was blurry (been there done that).

When using props or items like glasses on and off or other things we’ve talked about, take a few different shots with each so the subject can decide which one they prefer.

22. Get A New Headshot At Least Once a Year

A new business headshot should be taken at least once a year, according to the 22nd tip.

As we mentioned in our first tip, a professional headshot is critical for establishing one’s professional brand in the digital age we live in.

Your brand can often change slightly every year, you can change jobs, you can be promoted, and so on.

New appearances are a result of these alterations.

It’s critical that you establish your new brand identity.