Standing in front of a camera can be daunting for many people. Even for the experienced Headshot regulars. Professional photographers can and do help in preparations but if you need more in depth information here’s our top tips on how you can be well prepared for your photo session.
Your headshot is one of the most important pieces of professional content on your website, LinkedIn and social profiles. But what does it take to get the perfect corporate headshot? In this article, we break down the lead up process for you so you can prepare and show you how to make your next headshot just as amazing as you are.
If you’ve got a busy schedule the day before your shoot, it’s important to plan ahead. Make sure you’ve got enough time to apply makeup, brush hair, and dress appropriately and be crinkle free, so get that blouse or shirt dry cleaned today. Jackets are lint and pet hair free.
If you are due for a hair cut or re colour a day or two beforehand is perfect.
Men, don’t apply too much or any moisturiser. We don’t want shiny spots on your cheek bones, nose, forehead or scalp. For Men’s headshots, are you going with the clean shaven or slight shadow look, decide now.
Clothing; are the jackets and tops crinkle free, and importantly lint free. Especially if you have pets. Pet hair can be a real problem in post production.
At the Shoot:
The first thing to consider when the photographer arrives is; What is my frame of mind right now.
Clear your mind of the schedule ahead for the day. Right now you will allocate the hour specifically to this task and enjoy the process. Our photographer will set up the lighting and equipment and make nice friendly conversation to help you feel at ease.
One of the questions is about what your vision or need for the headshot is again. Good to clarify this in email before the shoot but also double check it’s what you really need and want. And don’t be critical of yourself which is easy to do. You have unique standout features, let accentuate them and have you being easily remembered.
Outdoor Headshots in the Hot Summer months
If your session is outdoors on what might be a warm day, a few extra pointers.
Avoid shiny skin due to humidity by staying cool and in the shade
No sweat on the face
Having a tissue or paper towel to dry the face before each shot is highly recommended.
Runny makeup doesn’t look good, stay cool
Portraits and headshots are only recommended from a shady spot outdoors
Framing and Composition:
Finally, think about composition with the photographer’s help. We will make sure that you are framed well so that you look your best. We’ll also try not to include any distracting elements like people walking or cars driving by.
Typically we shoot from upper waist to above the head and hair. Not so much the old style headshot where it’s only shoulders and head. Full body photos rarely turn out flattering so should be avoided.
We’ll also make sure about perspective correct angles as many headshot photographers can have you with a larger or small head proportionally with poor choice of perspective. Yes, we go to great lengths to have you looking your best.
After the Photo Session
Congratulate yourself is the first thing you should do. Being in front of the camera is not something that comes natural or we are trained to do.
For some bookings you will get a choice of a short list of photos, while other simpler shoots you may be sent 1, 2 or 4 completely processed and retouched photos ready for use. Refer to your package offer for clarification.
Photo turnaround typically is a few days for proofs and a few more for ready to share photos. Although quite often we provide photos for press releases and media blasts much quicker.
Supplying both web size and high resolution files is standard.
See below for more detailed Tips on Clothes Selection, Smiling for Camera and a lot more.
Poor preparation will lead to poor outcomes
50 / 50 – Poor preparation will lead to poor outcomes even if your photographer is doing their full 50%
You’ve spend good money on professional headshots, so make the most of it. Besides, it’s not what Headshots costs, it’s the value that both you and photographer can do for you business or career. That’s the real value proposition. So read the tips and plan to get the best outcome.
To Help You Visualise
Common Options for Background Colours
To help you visualise your premium session (optional)
Avoid Dark Clothes with Pet Hair and Lint
Backdrop Colour Choices are White, Grey, and Black. Or Nature Outdoors, Office or Cityscape options
Searching for a Headshot Photographer Tips
Before you start searching on Google for a Headshot professional photographer, ask yourself a few questions such as;
Are they local to me or where I work?
What is the main purpose of the headshot.
What budget am I going to allocate to having the photo session?
What type of setting do I want in the background?
Where’s my business or personal direction heading?
Does the photographer have a website and not just Instagram?
Is it easy to navigate and find enough information?
Do I like their style?
Do they travel to me at home or office?
Do they have lots of examples in different places so can shoot out of a studio?
Or are their photos all the same and may not be ok in my office or home?
Do they bring lighting and equipment?
Budget that looks fair for the work required?
Background and lighting considerations will also come up especially if its using a natural outdoors location. Always pay attention to the direction the photographer takes with regard to lighting.
Consider together with our photographer what kind of lighting style you’ll be using and it’s effect on the final image.
Is the background simple and non distracting. Does it provide supplementary context to the main subject (that’s you) in other words, does it help tell your story.
If you’re indoors, then you’ll definitely need a professional lighting kit to be used. Natural light will give you good results but off camera lighting augmentation is still needed to fill in the shadows or balance any bright highlights. Our professional photographer will be equipped and prepared.
NB. Some Studio only photographers may not be as adaptable in mixed variable lighting so keep that in mind too.
Headshot Photo Detailed Tips
How do I pose for headshots?
Casual relaxed pose; The relaxed pose captures the way you look when you’re drifting off in thought. The smiling pose; a headshot that shows your soft smile. Neutral pose or assertive expression pose is an option depending on your profession.
Avoid fine detailed repetitive patterns as moiré will be difficult to remove in post production. If in doubt, bring a few choices of colours to add some life to the standard black and white clothes.
How should I prepare for a Headshots?
To prepare for your Headshots use this brief outline.
Allow enough time, plan ahead of time, your hair, clothing and travel to the location.
Before heading out to the actual photo shoot, check your hair, makeup if any under different lighting conditions. Your clothing should be clean and pressed or ironed and be lint free.
What makes a good Headshot?
Good flattering lighting, being comfortable with the photographer, feeling relaxed in the chosen area for the shoot. Have a clear mind going to the shoot. These are key to making good Headshot.
Should I smile in a Headshot?
A good approach to your portfolio is to have a range of images, some where you smile softly and naturally and other photos that you have different expressions. Especially if you work with a broad range of people.
A few tips for taking a great headshot with glasses: Clean your glasses. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure your glasses are clean before your headshot session. Any smudges or fingerprints will be very visible in your photos. If you usually wear them everyday, then wear them for the photo session.
Should I wear jewelry in a headshot?
Our suggestion is to not wear anything that is distracting, jewelry can be a distraction. If the role you’re looking for will have a the likelihood of wearing embellishments, perhaps consider it. Otherwise suggested no unless it is small or non removeable.
How often should I update my Headshots?
Corporate headshots should be updated every two years maximum.
What if I’m not photogenic?
Firstly, what is photogenic, we believe everyone is photogenic by our description. Every face and person is unique and you will appeal to some and not others. That goes for everyone.