The Professional's Guide to Rocking Your Headshot Session
What is the first thing 80% of my clients say the moment they step in front of my camera?
"I HATE HAVING MY PHOTO TAKEN!"
Well, love it or hate it, an updated head shot is essential to business success. It takes less than a second to form an opinion about a stranger and chances are good that potential clients and employers will look you up online before they meet you. So instead of looking at this as an expense we dread, think of it as an investment into your success as a professional. The following tips will help you rock your head shot session so you can be sure to walk away with images you can feel confident about!
TIP 1- Go Pro
Yes! Yes, I am going to start this with a "hire me" pitch, but I do it to save you from yourself. Taking a great photo is about more than having a great camera! I wouldn't go to dinner at Bob Flay's house and say, "wow, that was an amazing dinner! You must have a really good oven." Much like cooking, taking a great photo requires the perfect recipe. You take great lighting, paired with flattering posing, blend the right camera settings and then bake to perfection in post processing. Being able to make a grilled cheese does not make you a chef, and being able to snap a photo does not make you a photographer. When it comes to something as important as your head shot, leave it to the professionals.
TIP 2- COME WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE
Much like baseball.. THERE'S NO CRYING IN HEAD SHOTS! I know. "You HATE having your photo taken," but to be perfectly honest- I. Don't. Care. We've already established this is important to your professional future so let's do it together and let's make it as painless as possible! Make sure to bring your personality with you and be willing to trust the photographer. Unless you have strict regulations on wardrobe passed down by your company make sure to bring your own style to the shoot through wardrobe. Every photo tells a story and this is your chance to tell yours. Communicate with your photographer what exactly you do and how you want to be seen by others. If you're a school teacher your image should probably tell a different story than that of a pit bull lawyer. Ease your nerves by being prepared and having fun with your photographer and SMILE!
TIP 3- DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Your clothing is an important factor in your head shot, but the focus should be YOU! When it comes to what to wear think classic... you shouldn't be able to tell what decade the photo was taken in by the clothing you wear. Avoid loud colors or busy patterns that will distract from your face. The best time to be brutally honest with yourself is while getting dressed for a professional photoshoot. Try on EVERYTHING! Look at yourself in a full length mirror and ask yourself a few questions. 1-"Does it fit?" I repeat- "DOES. IT. FIT!?!?" if not leave it at home! 2- "Do I feel confident in it?" If you're iffy about it at home, you're dang sure not gonna love it in front of a camera. and 3- "Is it the right color and fit?" Fit is very important- You want something tailored, not tight. You want a flattering neckline that doesn't flaunt what your momma gave ya or choke your neck and distract from your face. For a corporate head shot it is best to stick to dark colors- black, navy, and gray always look classic and sophisticated. Never photograph in a color that is lighter than your skin. Chances are, if you have to ask if it washes you out.. it does. For a corporate look wear 3/4 or long sleeves- bare skin can be distracting and considered unprofessional.
For women: Pick a shirt that is well fitted and modest. It is a bad idea to wear a plunging neckline or show too much skin in a corporate head shot. Choose a classy outfit that shows you are serious about your career. Don't be afraid to accessorize and bring your own style to the table with some fun jewelry or a scarf. If you want to wear a patterned shirt break it up with a jacket. When it comes to make up keep it clean and simple. You are beautiful and it is important to let that beauty shine!
For men: Always wear a collared shirt, and consider wearing a suit jacket if your position calls for it. If you want your image to stand out and express your style consider a v-neck sweater, bow-tie, or statement tie. Avoid crew neck shirts as they don't typically photograph well and make your neck look short. If you have a beard make sure it is nicely trimmed. Dark hair tends to stand out so if you have a dark colored beard trim it down so it doesn't overpower your face.
Glasses or not? I get asked this a lot and my answer is always the same? If you ALWAYS wear your glasses then wear them, but be prepared to pop out the lenses or bring an extra set of frames. If you only wear them SOMETIMES then take both!
TIP 4- BRING YOUR "A" GAME
Authenticity in a head shot starts with your eyes! Look right at the lens, smile and BREATH- no one looks natural holding their breath- So take a deep breath and listen to the photographer. I always joke with my clients and tell them if it feels awkward then it looks great, but its true! If your photographer asks you to do something that feels silly GO FOR IT and trust that they want you to look and feel great.
TIP 5- MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Be thoughtful in everything you do leading up to getting in front of the camera. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to your photographer and let them know what you are hoping to portray with your head shots. Ask your photographer to shoot in both landscape and portrait. Why? because different platforms will sometimes adjust and crop your image to fit various screen sizes. Don't be afraid to ask for a quick wardrobe change. Having multiple options never hurt anyone!
Thinking ahead and coming prepared will help you rock all your future head shot sessions. Remember to trust your photographer and to be YOU! Tell your story and keep your best foot forward!