Your professional headshot is very important for the web first impression, your work portfolio, your book that is being published or as part of a business group. Your headshot is often people’s first impression of you. Having a professional photographer take your portrait for your website, business card, or social media profiles is a savvy business move. Whether you’re an attorney, chef, political figure or hair stylist, it is important that your clients feel confident and comfortable to contact you.
Recently I have had the pleasure of working with many professionals who wanted to update and improve their website and hired me to help with the pictures. I have put together a list of questions and answers about what your photo-shoot should be like:
What should I wear at the photo-shoot? Wear simple colors that compliment your skin. Avoid large patters or complicated fabrics that can distract the viewer. Some people ask me whether they should wear a suit or a shirt…the answer is always: whatever you usually wear when you meet your clients…something that you love, that makes you feel confident and prepared for a business meeting.
Should I be smiling or be serious? It depends on the type of business you are in and how you want your clients to perceive you. I encourage my clients to be themselves in front of the camera, and during the photo-shoot I ask them questions and try to get them to relax and be pleasantly engaged. We take a lot of pictures and pick the best together. Ultimately when you post your picture and biography you want your future clients to find out who you are, what you stand for and how you are going to treat them. If you smile a lot then your head-shot should reflect that. It should be a good representation for the person that is going to shake their hand when they walk into your office.
Should I have my hair and make-up professionally done? This is a delicate matter because the camera usually diminishes make-up by 40%. If you wear make-up on a regular basis then you should have it done a bit more intensely than usual for the photo-shoot. Since I was trained to do make-up for the camera a lot of my clients choose to hire me to take care of that. And for the hair I think that having it freshly washed and styled (even at your favorite salon that usually cuts your hair) goes very far in giving you that extra bit of confidence to be in front of the camera. After all, your picture should ideally be taken in a good hair day 🙂
Should I take the picture in a studio, outdoors or in my office?
The type of business you are in makes a difference in how I would answer this question. Natural light is very complimenting to skin tones and when used right it can reveal your best facial features. I also think a head-shot taken outdoor can portray you as friendly and approachable. A studio head-shot can appear very formal but that might be exactly what you’re looking for especially if you are a beauty product supplier for instance. You should not have your head-shot taken at your office unless you are looking for a biographical portrait- where you are being portrait in your work environment. I recommend a biographical portrait when it is important to you to present your product, your brand or the location in which you work.
Ultimately, keep in mind that your head-shot is supposed to encourage anyone to contact you, do business with you. It is supposed to be inviting and friendly.