How To Get The Best Headshot.

Why get a professional headshot?

This may be an obvious step for many working professionals, but that is not universally the case. Many younger professionals have been advised to include a headshot in their LinkedIn profile. Many have determined that a photo taken with a cell phone is adequate. There are many reasons this is not sufficient, but the main point is that in order to look your best, you must separate yourself from the competition, and gain the edge to get hired for big jobs you must have a quality headshot.

What is considered a professional headshot? This is where it gets complicated, and you should have a better understanding of this after reading further. It is a photo, primarily focusing on your face that is an accurate representation of who you are professionally. A headshot makes you look good while being accurate to who you are. This picture provides the specific image that you want to convey to those people you work with on a recurring basis.

What to wear?

The most important thing when deciding what to wear in a headshot is to be honest to you appearance. Don’t wear something you would never wear on a “normal” day in the office. Next to that, it is best to keep it as simple and clean as possible while retaining a professional look. Avoid large jewelry unless it is important to who you are. Also, shirts and fabrics should limit the patterns as the are distracting and unappealing in these types of photos (EX: avoid plaid, colorful ties, large patterned scarfs, etc…).

Where to take headshots?

This may need to be negotiated with the photographer you select, but unless they have a studio you are willing to go to they will have to take the headshots at your office. Choose a spot that won’t interrupt daily operations as they may take some time. A good photographer will be able to set up their equipment anywhere that will look good, but a bright room that isat least 10 feet deep in one direction and 5–8 feet wide is ideal.

Why is attitude key?

Have fun! This is not like a trip to the dentist’s office, and getting you to look good in a photo is not like pulling teeth. Open up a conversation and make it a break from the rest of the day. As a headshot photographer, it means being 90% therapist and 10% photographer. What that means is that it is the photographer’s job to make you look good and confident. Walking away from this, you should feel better about yourself because you do look good!

Some tips to get the most out of your session:

  • Lighten the mood with some jokes!
  • Keep it informal
  • Act like you are a model on vogue (as ridiculous as you want!)

How do you pose?

Looking straight on to the camera is the worst thing you can do. It is far too direct and broad. Positioning your body at 30–45 degrees to the camera helps significantly as you look thinner, confident, and welcoming. The next step is bringing your eyes to the camera in a comfortable position while also leaning in. Act like you are going in for a handshake (just don’t actually do so) with the camera. This drops the shoulder slightly and brings the jawline out to make you look stronger. For people with long hair, choose a shoulder you are willing to move all the hair off of to turn towards the camera.

Those are the main ideas, but there is more that you can do to get that little extra! Peter Hurley came up with the ‘Squinch’ a few years ago as something that everyone that is a celebrity is doing. Why? It immediately makes you look much more compelling! Check out the video and you will understand the hype, and then practice it yourself in a mirror.

Tilting your head ever so slightly can be nice as well. It adds a dimension of informality and welcoming to the photo, but you need to be careful when posing like this. Too much tilt and it will both hurt your neck and make it look like you have a problem with your neck in the photo. Remember, it has to remain accurate to who you are every day!

More specific recommendations.

I have given a lot of general information so far, but I want to give you more specific recommendations on what to do.

Men

  • Button the top button of suits only
  • Unbutton your jacket when sitting
  • Wear a tie
  • Don’t force a smile

Women

  • Limit Jewelry
  • Limit Makeup
  • Fix hair for fly-aways

When to get a Headshot

Most people’s Social Media profile pictures change several times throughout the year. It happens because we change regularly and often. Headshots are supposed to be an accurate representation of who you are. Therefore, as your appearance changes over time you should continually update your headshot. You should plan on updating it every 1–2 years.

Who to go to?

This is something you will have to research for yourself. There are many styles that photographers go for that are great! I will link to a couple styles that I think are really great, but it is really a matter of personal preference. Some of the things you should look for include: consistency, style, genre, and experience in the photographer’s portfolio. Look at headshots of celebrity’s or CEOs for ideas that appeal to you, and then find a photographer with a style that matches up closely! It is a tough choice to make initially, but the importance of selecting someone who can bring out the photographic best in you, cannot be minimized.

Look at your budget for getting a headshot and consider this advice. There is nothing more important than professional images of people online in job placement, sales, and developing a business. This is because we are visual beings that can identify the difference in quality between professionally produced photos and cell phone photos.

This is the best marketing tool you could invest in for yourself. So, when you look at who to hire, don’t get too hung up on the cost. Quality photos take a ton of work behind the scenes to create and deliver. You should expect to pay anywhere from $75–1,200 for a headshot session depending on location and the photographer’s experience. If you are a company looking to get photos for your staff, you may be able to get a discount through bulk, but don’t expect all photographers to offer price concessions!

If you would like me to take your headshots, and you read this article I will give you a great deal on booking with me. E-mail me at kylekephart@compellingimaging.com to get your headshot session set up today, and you will receive 15% off the final invoice!