Headshot Photography | 10 Tips for great portraits

Headshot Photography is an important investment and it is worth spending a few minutes to get it right. Here are Matthew's top tips for great headshot photography.

1. Know what you want

Think about how your headshots are going to be used and what is the intended purpose. Yes, it's to put a name to a face and create a good first impression but what else? A professional law firm will have a different look to an energetic edgy marketing agency.

Take away point

Discuss this with the photographer and brief your colleagues beforehand.

2. Choose your clothes

Generally, neutral colours and solids are best... But it comes down to personality, personal brand, and business brand... and just to add further complexities you need to be aware of your target audience. If you are reaching out to millennials you may decide to take a different approach to baby boomers.

This could be a good time to buy branded polo shirts or other clothing.

Take away point

Have a chat with your marketing manager, director and colleagues to discuss this.

3. Choose your background

Studio headshots are consistent and predictable, however, office or urban backgrounds can also work well. By using portable lighting and reflectors, working with natural light can look impressive. Think what is going to work best for you company brand

4. It's a 50 / 50 partnership

Try and get a good nights sleep so you are fresh and look your best, don't overdo the makeup and do your best to be relaxed.

It can be a stressful experience and many people are out of their comfort zone when in front of the camera.

Your photographer will know this and do their best to help you relax, they want you to get the best shot possible.

An experienced photographer will guide you on how to stand or sit and will make small changes to the position of your head and the lighting, to get the best possible result for you. Everyone is different.

So be relaxed and even if you don't feel it act confident and be bold, you are in safe hands.

If a shot doesn't work it will be deleted and gone forever, trust the photographer.

5. Shiny / Glossy Skin

This is more of a problem in the summer when shooting under artificial lights. Concealer or foundation will help or a quick face wash with cold water before the shoot.

6. Your Hair

If you have long hair I would recommend bringing a hairbrush with you to the shoot. The camera will pick up fine details and it can be difficult to photoshop out straggly ends. If you have a fringe try to keep it from covering your eyes.

7. Glasses

Glasses aren't normally a problem. Many photographers will take a shoot with them on and use photoshop to iron out any issues. However, it is good to give your glasses a quick clean first. Remember to push them back on your nose, when they slip down the top of the frame will often clash with the eye line.

8. Check yourself in the mirror first

It is worth spending a few seconds giving yourself a once over. Check everything is as it should be and your necklace is in the right place, you have no food in your teeth etc.

9. Smile

Nine out of ten people look better with a smile. Photographers use all sorts of techniques to get people to smile. I've tried pretty much all of them and I find it best just to ask. Sometimes it helps to think of something that makes you happy, I will often ask people to laugh. Although it doesn't sound easy I found it to work really well. Smiling with teeth tends to be the best look for most people.

10. Fake it until you make it

As I mentioned it can be daunting and starting with 'I hate having my photograph taken' and 'You'll never get a good shot from me' isn't the best way to start a shoot to get the most pleasing shots. It's unfortunate but photographing nervous people tends to take longer than photographing someone who is confident and follows the above advice.

My advice it to act confident and assertive even if you don't feel it. One of the worst outcomes is a headshot that depicts someone as timid and nervous, this is really an unusable headshot.

So have some faith in yourself and the photographer.

Please have a look at our Headshot Photography for prices and services.

Get in touch with us

stay in touch

Call Matt on 07891 610554

We have offices in Derby and Chesterfield and provide Commercial Photography throughout the Midlands and South Yorkshire.

Banks Mill Studios,
71 Bridge St,
01332 982048

Commerce House
Millennium Way
S41 8ND
01246 387922

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