From profile pictures on your business website to photos for your work email, we’ve likely all had to have headshots taken at some point.
Taking a headshot might seem as simple as “point and shoot” to many people, but there are some ways to maximise the quality of your headshot.
Our Sunshine Coast-based photographers are corporate headshot experts and know how to make your photos shine, whether it is for business photography, corporate photography or any other purpose.
A headshot is not just any old photo. Headshots convey professionalism and show your business face and brand. They are often your first impression of the world in the professional space.
Now, this certainly does not mean that you can’t smile or inject some of your personality into the shot, but our photographers do recommend a few tips and tricks to get the best headshots for you.
Your face is the focus of a professional headshot, so distracting colours and styles should be kept to a minimum. Wear neutral colours and avoid bright and eye-catching patterns. For corporate photos, a neutral-tone suit with a shirt is a fantastic look, as is a neutral blouse, jacket or dress.
This also goes for accessories, such as earrings or other jewellery, scarves or headwear. For a casual headshot, everyday wear might be appropriate, but for corporate photography or business photography, wearing more formal attire would be a better bet to make an impact.
You’ll also find neutral styles tend to date less with fashion trends, so you don’t have to update your photos when your statement earrings suddenly don’t look as good as they used to!
Just as you should minimise distractions from clothing or accessories, so too should you minimise distractions from your background. A bright or otherwise intrusive background steals the focus from your face and can make the headshot seem cluttered and busy.
The photographer should also separate the background from you, the subject, so that the background is blurred and soft, leaving the attention on you. This creates a balanced and supporting backdrop, but it also means that you will have to be standing or sitting away from the background. No casual leaning here!
Lighting is everything in photography. Good light can make a headshot glow, while bad light can elongate shadows and create an unflattering and potentially unfair headshot. Opting for soft light and minimising contrasting shadows lets your facial features shine.
If shooting outside, the soft, even light of an overcast day is ideal. If you are shooting indoors, standing near a window allows the light to diffuse over you without being too bright and focused. A better option is to have your headshot taken in a professional studio, where the photographer can control the warmth and brightness of the light with a flick of a switch.
Think about what kind of look you want. Consider what kind of impression you are trying to make. How does your personal brand come across in a visual medium? If you are taking a headshot for business photography, how does your industry or role affect how you want the photographs to look?
Additionally, how close do you want your photograph taken? Just the top half of your torso or so that your shoulders are peeking into the frame. Which way is the light coming in? Should you be facing left or right, or straight on? Speaking with a professional headshot photographer may help you settle on some answers, as their experience will help guide your own creative choices.
While it is tempting to stay with the safe simplicity of the automatic setting, manually changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO to suit the shoot’s conditions gives you much greater control over the final picture.
A professional corporate photographer can finetune their camera to obtain the best possible results. If you aren’t used to using manual camera settings, take a few practice shots to check how the settings work and then modify them to work with the available light. However, a professional photographer in a studio will have complete control over the camera settings and the studio lighting.
While it’s almost always best to be looking directly at the camera for your headshot, the rest of the composition depends on the reason for the headshot, the formality/informality of its intended use and even your personality. Do you want to stand facing the camera straight on, or perhaps sit on a stool turning to the left? Try a number of different poses to see what works and what doesn’t.
It may sound silly but practise posing in front of the mirror to get an idea of how different postures and poses will look to the camera.
Getting headshots taken can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience for some people, and tension can easily come across in your photos. Try to take a few deep breaths beforehand or ask your photographer to take a few photos of you making a silly face first to relax and take the pressure off.
Some people may even prefer to have their headshot taken while they are sitting down so that they can relax their posture. Do whatever works for you to get yourself ready and smiling, and your headshots will thank you for it.
Other ideas can be to have a personal sidekick, or hype man, at your shoot that you know can lighten the mood and cheer you up. Play some fun music or find a fun way to cut through any awkward feelings that often come with starting your headshot photography.
Even the best prepared and skilled photographers edit their photos after a session. Professional photographers with experience in image editing may be able to smooth out the light if required or retouch blemishes. Retouching the image is something that can be discussed with your photographer beforehand.
A wrinkle in clothing, an unfortunate pimple, or other blemishes can be easily erased with image editing software, but ensure you discuss this with your photographer first.
The best way to take a good headshot is to find a professional and experienced photographer who can walk you through the processes outlined above. They can discuss your range of choices and provide additional tips and ideas to get your headshot exactly how you intended it.
While the list above gives you a good start on how to take an effective headshot, the in-person experience can make all the difference when it comes to making a professional impression.
The team at All In Creative has a fully equipped photography studio in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. With years of experience behind the camera, we have the expertise to create the most effective and personable headshots, showing off your unique personal brand while maintaining professionalism.
Our Sunshine Coast studio comes fully equipped with all the photographic equipment necessary to make your next headshot shine.
Contact us about our headshot photography packages or to talk about hiring our studio as your DIY shoot space.