Headshot or Not?
When it comes to professional situations, job interviews, making connections, and networking, we have a short amount of time to make a good first impression.
That’s why it’s really important to always appear professional, both in-person and online. A professional headshot will do the trick. You may not be aware of how many places you can actually use your headshot. Here are a few:
- Your website
- Your Facebook business page
- Your Linked In profile
- Professional and networking events
- On your blog
- Guest posts on another website
- Your resume
So, in today’s professional society, there’s really no way around it, you’re going to need a headshot for one thing or another. So how to be sure you take a really good one, especially when you feel awkward in front of a camera?
Here are 6 helpful tips when it comes to nailing your headshots:
- Hire a Professional
For top results hire a professional headshot photographer, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth. A professional photographer is trained, understands lighting, and takes headshots for a living. They are not just some friend who happens to have an expensive camera, and kind of knows a little something about photography. If the headshots look cheap, they probably are. You don’t want to look like you don’t care about your career. If you tend to be camera shy or awkward in front of the lens, a good photographer will know how to help you relax, and evoke the best poses and provide suggestions for accentuating your best features.
- Easy on the Retouch and Makeup
You actually want to be recognizable in your photos. You want to look your age too. People don’t like being fooled. When a potential client or casting director meets you and you look nothing like your headshot, they’re going to be disappointed and probably a little deceived, which could ruin the success of your encounter. It’s not necessarily about appearing attractive; it’s about representing who you are at your finest. There is no need to put on tons of makeup either. You want to look like yourself on your best day, and not look like you tried too hard. For those with oily skin, bring down the shine with oil sheets before the shoot.
- Lights, Camera, Composition!
Lighting, framing, and color compensation is pretty much everything when taking photos. A good headshot is usually chested up with accent lighting on your face, minus strong shadows or contrast. Three-quarter shots are good for print but avoid extreme close-ups. Be sure the background is blurred, which means its shot with a good, high-quality camera with a high depth of field, and makes you stand out. The focus should be on you, not the background. A professional photographer will be trained in composition, and really make you the centerpiece of the photo.
- Natural Light vs. Studio Lighting.
Both are great options, as they offer a different look and feel. Some photographers will be better at one over the other, so discuss this before you book and dish out the doe. Natural light gives a very real film look, and studio lighting tends to be a little more polished, with a more neutral backdrop. Both can be great options. If you are a corporate business professional or studio actor, a well-lit, white background studio headshot is more suited for you. If you’re an entrepreneur or blogger, then opt for the outdoor look.
- Put your Best Face Forward
It’s your close-up, your moment. This part is all of you. Of course a professional will be able to guide you, but only you can deliver the goods that are you! Your clothes should neutral and not draw too much attention from your face. Your hair should be well groomed and styled, yet nothing too dramatic. Your eyes should be perfectly in focus, alive, and energized, and not dead and glazed over. Don’t be shy to smile, and most of all look happy! An open smile is a little more inviting, however, if you want to appear more serious, a closed smile with a strong gaze can be extremely effective.