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Professional Headshot Tips

Corporate headshot photography used to only be the domain of senior management and the sales team. With business social media, both internal (Yammer, Slack, Jive, Basecamp, Intramail) and external (LinkedIn), having such a massive impact on the corporate world, having a good professional headshot is now a necessity for everyone.

Here are some things to keep in mind when getting a professional headshot:

(1) DON’T SKIMP ON YOUR HEADSHOT - Sometimes people call to inquire about getting a headshot and when they hear $200 to $300 there is a long pause as they compose themselves. They were thinking it was going to be $50-100. 

If you’re a woman who gets her hair done every few months, you’re likely spending $100-200. Regardless of gender, a new outfit will cost $100-300. Going out for dinner and drinks on a Friday night will cost $75-150. But you’re not willing to spend $200-300 for a professional picture that you’ll likely use for 2-3 years? Hmm…

The prominence of business social media has elevated the role of the headshot. What do most of us do when we’re going to have dealings/meeting with a new client or with someone in our own company we’ve never met? We go to their LinkedIn page and we immediately judge them based on their headshot – before we’ve even read anything. Because studies show that we react far more quickly to images than text.

Regardless of all that, the long and short of it is this: if you are a professional, every area of your public appearance should be professional, including your attire, your attitude and yes, your headshot.

(2) FIND A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER WHO WILL BRING OUT THAT CERTAIN SOMETHING IN YOU - Do some research and find a headshot photographer with a good reputation – someone who has skills both on a technical front and on a personality front. Because a headshot photographer is akin to a therapist. Being that so many people have trepidation about getting their photo taken, you want someone who is personable and will create a safe and inviting space so you can be relaxed.

Check out Google reviews and testimonials and even call the photographer and have a quick chat with them. Why? Because there are plenty of photographers who are technically proficient but who should be taking pictures of products not people. You’ll get a sense of this after a couple of minutes of chatting.

This is important because the days of stoic and serious headshots are over. We are living in a time where people want to see something of you in your headshot - personality, confidence and authenticity. For many us, these qualities will only emerge if we feel we are in good hands. Because what most of us are thinking about while our photo is being taken is what we consider to be our greatest facial vulnerability – double chin, big nose, acne, etc. A good headshot photographer will (a) put you in the most physically flattering position (b) make you feel comfortable. When you are comfortable you will deliver an authentic smile, which will in turn make your eyes shine. When the eyes shine, there is an unconscious impact on people viewing your headshot. They won’t know what it is but if there is a decision to be made between you and another candidate for a position/project, and it’s a close call, a confident and authentic smile could be the difference-maker.

(3) LOOK YOUR BEST - You’re getting a professional headshot taken only every few years. Respect yourself and the process. Make sure you look your best.

Ladies: Get your hair done. If you already wear a lot of make-up, you’re good to go. If you wear minimal make-up add 25%. On camera, that additional 25% will have you looking like you do when you look in the mirror. If you’re into facials, get one.

Gentlemen: Get a haircut within a couple of days of getting the headshot. Groom yourself (ie) trim nose-hairs, eyebrows and ear-hair. If you’re clean-shaven, pay attention to getting the hairs around the corners of your mouth and right underneath your nostrils. If you’re into facials, get one.

Clothing: Regardless of gender, consider the following: (a) wear what you are comfortable in (b) make sure your outfit is clean and pressed (c) use a lint brush on your jacket just before the session (d) your shirt/blouse should not be too busy/patterned – solids generally work best.

Posture: Don’t slouch. Sit up straight. Pull your shoulders back.

(4) SMILE - This has already been mentioned but it’s worth repeating. Get out of your head, even if just for a few minutes. Have some fun. Dig a little deeper than you normally might and be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Happy Headshot Day!

Bard Azima

Livingface Photography


Specialists in Professional Corporate Headshots and Corporate Events Photography


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