5 tips to take a better headshot

Just as product shots make us more likely to buy, a good headshot can make potential customers more likely to do business with you. So how can you ensure you’re putting your best face forward? Here are five tips:

  1. Choose a skilled photographer.
    a. Hire a professional – They have good equipment, experience capturing the best angles and lighting, know how to direct people, are quicker, and offer post-editing.
    b. Do it yourself or ask someone on your team – There is no out-of-pocket expense, more flexibility, the ability to reshoot if someone has a “bad hair day” and it’s more relaxed. (Bonus: it’s quick and easy to add new hires down the road.)
  2. Choose the right ensemble. Wear an outfit that is flattering and you feel comfortable in. The more comfortable you feel, the more natural you’ll look. Choose solid colours or neutral tones that complement your skin tone and eye colour. Avoid patterns if possible.
  3. Know your best angle/look. Look at past pictures of yourself to see which ones worked and try to determine why. Try to recreate the hair, makeup, angle or facial expression you notice works well for you in photos. You can even practice in the mirror. Try to look directly at the camera and “smile with your eyes”.
  4. Choose a good location. A professional photographer may have you come to their studio, or have an outdoor location scoped out. If you’re doing it yourself, outdoors is usually best. Choose a background that isn’t distracting (a brick or stone wall works well) and where there is nice lighting (not harsh, direct light). The time of day changes the lighting, so factor that in.
  5. Shoot for quantity. Get comfortable and take many different shots, in various positions. You might be surprised by what works best. A few suggestions: sitting, standing, leaning forward, hands on hips, arms crossed, head tilted slightly, looking up at the camera… To relax you can try doing a few jumping jacks just before taking a shot. It will likely make you laugh, and you may end up with a natural, happy shot.

Taking a good headshot requires skill and/or patience, but it can improve your personal brand and help you make a good first impression.

P.S. If you want to see an example of headshots done without a professional photographer, check out our People page. Stenna Berry and I worked together to capture our team in front of a stone wall in our neighbourhood.

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Contact M