Preparing For Your Business Headshot

woman in professional headshotA business headshot is an important tool for your resume, social media profiles, website, and other purposes. Whether you’re an employee, business owner or freelancer, people form an instant impression of you based on your headshot. The following are some professional headshot tips to make sure you get the best possible results to reflect your business or personal brand.

The Importance of Business Headshots

Business headshots are common, both online and offline. They may seem simple and straightforward, but it takes quite a bit of preparation and skill to get them just right. A simple headshot can provide you with many important benefits. They are used in a variety of situations.

  • Resumes
  • Social media profiles — It’s particularly important to have a professional headshot on LinkedIn
  • Company newsletters
  • Company and personal websites
  • Business cards, brochures, and other promotional items

While professional photos have long been important, in the digital age they’ve taken on an even more vital role. Social media and the internet are driven largely by images. People want to read and hear about you, but the first impression is often based on visual cues. A quality photo helps you establish credibility with your audience before they even know your name. Now let’s explore some tips for creating the best possible headshot.

professional headshot of womanDecide What Kind of Headshot You WantNot all business headshots are the same. While there are many ways to take a headshot, there are two main types of headshots to choose from —traditional business headshots and editorial headshots. You may want one, the other, or both, depending on your preferences and where you intend to publish your photos.

A traditional headshot, also known as a business headshot, corporate headshot, or professional portrait, focuses solely on the subject. This is the type of headshot with a neutral background, usually taken at a photography studio. It’s the most common type of business headshot you generally see in magazines, newspaper articles, websites, and LinkedIn profiles. These types of headshots are a great choice if you want to convey a professional image.

An editorial portrait is a different, more contemporary approach to business headshots. For these photos, the subject is shown performing an activity or posing in his or her work environment. These photos are often taken on location, whether this is a work environment, outdoors, the subject’s home or elsewhere. While a traditional headshot is fairly standard, there are limitless possibilities for an editorial portrait. You can portray yourself relaxing with your family or pets, hiking in the mountains, talking to colleagues at the office, sitting in a cafe or anything you prefer. A good photographer can advise you on finding the right environment.

How do you decide which type of headshot to get? It depends on your goals and what type of image you want to get across. A corporate headshot is appropriate for employees of traditional companies or prefer to keep a low profile while conveying a professional image. Editorial headshots, often preferred by younger employees and business owners, give you a chance to be more creative and individualistic in your approach. You may even want both types of headshots to use for different purposes.

What to Consider When Preparing for Your Business Headshot

professional headshot of a manWhen preparing for a headshot, you need to consider what type of look and mood you want to convey. The photographer can make suggestions, such as telling you to look in a certain direction or smile. However, it’s up to you to decide what kind of image you want to create. The following are some key factors to consider when preparing for your photo session.

  • Your Expression and Focus – You may want to have a serious and professional expression or a more casual, lighthearted one. There’s also the question of where you’re looking. With traditional headshots, you’ll be looking directly at the camera. With editorial headshots, you may be engaged with another activity and not looking at the camera.
  • How You Dress – A traditional headshot is usually taken in formal business attire. A dark-colored business suit is typical. Men need decide whether or not to wear a tie. Keep in mind that bright colors and eye-catching patterns can be distracting and take away from a professional appearance. Some people choose a more casual look.
  • Accessories – If you want to wear your glasses, any jewelry, a hat, or other accessories.
  • Your Hairstyle and Makeup – Some people are tempted to visit a barber, hairstylist, or beauty salon before getting a headshot. However, it’s often best to not style or dye your hair right before getting photographed. Hair that’s just been styled or dyed can look unnatural. Gels and other products create an overly shiny look. Even waiting a couple of days after getting your hair done, will give it a more natural look.
  • Body Language – Your body language says just as much about you as your facial expression. If you want to appear confident, make sure you have good posture. Your back should be straight, and your shoulders relaxed. Avoid appearing rigid or you’ll look tense rather than confident. Unless you’re being photographed performing an activity, it’s best to have your arms at your sides. Arms crossed or hands in your pockets are often considered “closed postures” that may be off-putting.

Business headshots are a valuable tool for enhancing your personal brand. They can be used for many purposes and help you make a stronger impression on prospects, potential employers, colleagues, and anyone you network with. Before your session, make sure you’re clear about what you want and what kind of image you want to share with the world.

See some of the amazing headshots we’ve done for business and corporate professionals.

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