I’ve been taking business headshots for individuals and companies since 2005. Along the way, I’ve seen what not only makes a good headshot, but why getting a professional one matters. As a photographer, trying to get my own headshot made is a colossal undertaking so i’ve thought of pretty much every excuse under the sun on why I should wait so i’m pretty immune to the excuses at this point. I’ve created a bullet list below of *why* a good headshot matters and even some tips on how you can get a better photo taken of yourself.
So first and foremost, your headshot is really a “business portrait” and in the day of electronic resumes, online presence and being able to google someones employment and person history, taking the time to put your best foot forward matters. Having a photo that not only looks like you, but is also current, helps that initial meeting with a client, interview for a potential job or even a networking meeting within your industry. You can see my collection of headshots here.
With that being said, here’s a few key points on why getting a professional headshot matters.
- Having a professionally photographed headshot shows you take your career seriously. It’s easy to continue using that photo from 8 years ago but a photo is much like your clothing and/or style. Having an outdated one gives a non-verbal impression that you may not be current in other aspects of your career.
- Having a current headshot that looks like you matters. It’s tempting to use a photo that may be older, or thinner, or have more hair but when you meet someone face to face, you’ve already set a false impression. While you don’t need a new headshot every year, having one that is relatively current matters as it helps set the tone.
- Taking the time to visit a professional photographer, taking your time and getting exactly the look you want will pay off in your professional career. Having a photo on your CV or resume helps a potential employer get to know you and that level of comfort helps in the interview room.
- Having a business headshot done in the field with contextually relevant surroundings helps cement the concept of your professional standing.
- Professional photographers KNOW (or should know) how to get the best from you. They should ask about the uses for the photos, make clothing suggestions, discuss locations, help out with grooming or makeup tips and know how to get a relaxed but professional photo.
So now we get to what can YOU do to get the best headshot:
- Get plenty of rest the night before (bags under your eyes aren’t a great look)
- Drink plenty of water the days leading up to the shoot. Hydrated skin “glows” in photos.
- Avoid new hairstyles, plucking, waxing or other “trauma” the week before your headshot.
- If you use tanning beds or tanning lotions, discontinue at least 5 days before the wedding. Sometimes your skin will turn orange and that is very difficult to photoshop.
- Avoid horizontal strips, bold patterns, large logos or clothing that is too loose/tight. You look your best in well fitting clothes that doesn’t take away from you.
- Avoid large jewelry, watches or earrings.
- If you don’t like your arms, wear long sleeves.
- For women, consider using “slightly” heavier makeup with emphasis on your eyes. Using a lighter color eyeliner will help bring your eyes forward. One of my favorite makeup manufacturers for photography is the MAC Photo finish line (https://www.maccosmetics.com/studio-fix).
- For men, please trim any facial hair and follow steps to avoid razor burn (don’t pull skin too tight, wash with cold water after shaving).
I hope you enjoyed the article. I’ve been a commercial photographer since 2005 and have a full service commercial photography studio in Apex, NC (Just outside of Raleigh). Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about your headshots!