A good headshot offers a glimpse into who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It is a visual connection that offers people a chance to put a face to your name, and it’s incredibly important for any business or brand. There are many factors that go into a headshot portrait, from posing and lighting to angles and editing, and that’s why it’s important to make the investment in a professional if you want the absolute best results. Good images are important, and you and your business deserve them.

While headshots are intended to present a professional appearance, there is more than one way to make your headshot work. Headshots reflect your personality, your identity, and your brand. However, there is more than one use for a headshot. Headshots can be used for your resume, LinkedIn profile, company directory, an audition, or even just for fun. 

Depending on how you plan to use your headshots, you will need to select a look that appeals to your audience. For instance, your company directory may require a more professional look than your LinkedIn profile, which allows for a more relaxed feel.

Professional Headshot Guide

You have your look, you have chosen your photographer, and you have booked your photo session. Now what? How do you ensure that your headshots reflect the vibe you want, are of high quality, and will help you stand out from the crowd? These are five characteristics of a great headshot. If you stick to these simple rules, you will leave your session with headshots you love.

1. Clean and simple – The goal of a headshot is to show who you are in a professional manner. The best way to do this is to keep your headshots clean and simple, with nothing to distract from you.

2. Confidence and approachability– Visibly showing off your personality in your headshot demonstrates self-confidence, which automatically leads others to feel confident in you as well.

3. Smile with your teeth – and your eyes!This goes without saying, but real smiles radiate a genuine vibe that will attract your audience.

4. Personality over glamour – Make sure your headshots look like you. Do not overdo it with the makeup, hair, or clothing. Just be unapologetically you!

5. The right colors – By wearing colors that represent or accentuate you, the focus stays on you, your smile, and your personality.

Now that you know the characteristics that will make your headshots awesome, here are some mistakes to avoid prior to getting your headshots and during your headshot session.

Not coming prepared – You have to put in the work for a successful product. This includes having your outfit ready, your hair and makeup done, and arriving on time. Otherwise, you may feel rushed or flustered, and you will likely be unhappy with your headshots.

Not looking like yourself – A headshot is supposed to reflect who you are, so do not try to be someone that you are not. For example, wearing an outfit, shoes, or makeup that you wouldn’t normally might make you feel uncomfortable, which will show through the photos.

Fake smiles – A fake smile can give off an impression of ingenuity and lack of personality. Not sure how to get that perfect, real smile for the camera? Try bringing a friend with you to the session, or playing music that helps you feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Focusing on “Statement” clothing – Headshots are about you, not your clothing! We want you to look and feel great, but don't let the outfit wear you!

Choosing the wrong setting – Make sure the location of your headshot fits with the image you are trying to create. For example, an indoor headshot makes more sense for a corporate look than an outdoor headshot.

Booking a professional hair and makeup appointment prior to your headshot session is recommended. Why? A headshot will often be your first impression, whether for employers, clients, or coworkers. Therefore, you should be prepared to look like your very best self! Professional stylists can help cover blemishes, balance skin tones, tame your hair, and more so that you look and feel your absolute best.

Another added bonus of scheduling a professional hair and makeup appointment is that you do not have to worry about the details. Instead, you can sit back, relax, and focus on showing off your personality at the headshot session. Besides helping you look your best, your professional stylists will leave you with an added level of self-confidence and belief in yourself that will radiate through your photos.

Remember, if you are using a new stylist or makeup artist, it is always a good idea to do a trial run before your headshot session. This way, you can know for sure that you are getting the look you want. If there is anything you feel uncomfortable about, you can bring that up in the trial run, rather than scrambling when it is actually show time!

Once you have booked your session, follow this simple checklist so that you are ready!

• Determine why you are getting headshots (company directory, LinkedIn profile, resume, etc.)

• Determine the setting for your headshot. Do you want to be in the photo studio, on location, or outdoors? If you are not sure, talk to your photographer to figure out the best place for your photos!

• Get your hair and makeup done. Booking a professional appointment is recommended. Besides bringing your headshots to the next level, you will radiate self-confidence that shines through the photos.

• Pick your outfit. It should be clean, wrinkle-free, professional, and reflect your personality.

• Get lots of sleep the night before your session.

• Smile!