How to Take a Great Headshot


So you need a headshot? I’ve captured hundreds of headshots and have discovered a few key considerations to achieve a final image that beautifully reflects who you are.

1) Define the look you’re after

Requirements for headshots vary based on your career field. For example, actors have pretty strict standards (i.e. 8X10, color, no accessories, etc.) whereas most other fields leave more room for creativity.

I shoot headshots in one of three lighting configurations: natural, studio, and studio light on-location. Each offers a different look and feel. Ultimately, you need to define what your goals are for the image and the look will naturally follow.

Natural light. Great for individuals. A personable look.
Studio. Great for corporate and teams. Clean, consistent, and minimal.
Studio light on location. Great for authors and personalities. High-end look.

2) Wear appropriate attire & makeup

Attire

While clothes are an important consideration, they should not be the focus of the image–you are. So, avoid flashy clothing that could dominate the image. A good rule of thumb is to dress how you would when meeting a new client. Follow these guidelines:

• Stick to solids, avoid patterns and stripes
• Avoid trendy looks
• Wear something you’re comfortable in
• Match your wardrobe to your brand aesthetic, if applicable

Makeup

Keep your hair and makeup within your norm. My preference is concealer and basic makeup for a clean beauty look. If you’re afraid of looking washed out, you can turn up the volume a bit. Regardless, make sure you focus on the most important feature–your eyes–to draw the viewer into your expression.

Men can benefit from a bit of makeup too. A simple powder or blotting paper will help remove shine and make your face look fresh and camera ready.

If you’re in doubt, hire a professional.

Ben rocked a classic navy sports jacket and white collared shirt. He looks sharp, but his clothes aren’t the focus of the image–it’s all about him.

3) Delight your photographer

Roughly 5% of the people I photograph for headshots enjoy being in front of a camera. My job is to help you look your best and actually enjoy the process. But here are a few things that will make you more comfortable during the shoot:

Be honest and communicate. Do you believe you have a good side? Let it be known. Likewise, if there is a feature of your face that you don’t like or something that you are self-conscious of, make sure it’s communicated prior to shooting. Photographers get really close and personal with your face during the editing process so there’s no need to hide anything.

Bring clothing options. Even if you’re doing a single look, having an additional jacket and/or shirt allows some room for error and serves as a plan B if you happen to spill something on your outfit prior to the shoot.

Visit the mirror just before your photo is taken. Give yourself the once over to make sure that you’re happy with the way you look. Is your hair on point? Tie straight? Groovy.

Be Encouraged, You’re Not Alone

Everyone is self-conscience and worried about their appearance. We have a tendency to nitpick our looks to death and stress over minutiae that no one else is aware of. Take a deep breath, you got this.

Let’s rock.


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