Scheduling your first professional headshot session can be intimidating. It’s difficult to know how to prepare for a photo shoot that will become the face of your professional career. Balancing your personality and professionalism in one photo may seem impossible, but fear not! As a professional headshot photographer, I’m here to put your fears at rest and offer you a few tips to keep in mind in the weeks leading up to your photo session.
1. Know Your Personal Brand.
How do you want your audience to perceive you? This is a crucial step in putting yourself out in the market as a professional. When someone sees your photo or hears your name, what do you want them to associate you with? Is there a certain subject or industry you want to be perceived as an expert? As in all industries, the market is full of other experts in the field competing against you. Ask yourself this additional question, “how do I stand out from the rest?” Knowing these answers will help you with the next steps in preparing for your headshot session.
When building your personal brand, your style is a key factor. An outfit can highlight your personality, establish you as an expert in your industry, and build trust. When picking an outfit, be sure to stay on brand and remember first impressions matter!
Your headshot can be customized to your industry. If you’re a fitness instructor, wearing a nice athletic outfit shows you are serious and are an expert in your field. However, for a realtor, an athletic outfit wouldn’t make sense. Choose a professional suit or stylish outfit that highlights your personality while demonstrating professionalism.
To ensure your headshots will last for a few years, pick pieces that are as timeless as possible. Avoid loud patterns or trendy styles that won’t last forever (after all, what is “in” today may be “out” tomorrow). Also avoid loud and distracting colors and instead pick soft colors (let’s leave the neon colors at home and go with blush or cream instead). And finally, wear classic accessories (jewelry, watches, etc.) that are on brand and stay away from big, chunky loud pieces. Again, these may be in style now but won’t be tomorrow.
Now that you have an outfit and accessories selected, it’s time to start planning your hairstyle. When getting ready for your headshot session, it’s important to give yourself enough time to get ready and ensure your hair is done more than any normal day. This photo is meant to present the best version of yourself, and frizzy bed head just won’t cut it.
If you have enough time before your shoot, consider going to your hairstylist. Even a quick trim a few days before can give you a clean look for your photos and reduce flyaway hairs. Men, this goes for your facial hair as well! Make sure you tidy up your beard at least a day or two before. The day of your session, consider styling your facial hair a bit more than normal to keep straggling hairs at bay.
The camera gear and lighting equipment used in professional photos capture sharp images and show every detail. Although Photoshop is an amazing tool, preparing your face for your shoot is important! If you don’t wear makeup – and that is on brand for you – coming to your shoot with a clean, washed face is important.
Even if you wear makeup every day, give yourself enough time to finish styling before your headshot session. Cameras can wash out subtle makeup, so add on a little more than you normally would to make sure your features will stand out. It doesn’t have to be too crazy or glamorous, just a little extra will make a lot of difference. Make sure to bring your make-up bag to your session for any last-minute touch ups. Even men can benefit from a clean face and subtle makeup! A tiny layer of foundation or a sprinkle of powder will even out skin tone and reduce oily skin.
5. Drink plenty of water a few days before your session.
Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. This is one of the most important things before any photo shoot, but especially a professional headshot. Start a few days in advance to make sure you (and your skin) are hydrated enough. Hydrated skin is more elastic, can reduce oil production, and help give you a radiant glow (read more about the importance of hydration for your skin here). This is just what you need for your professional headshot!
Just like drinking enough water, getting enough rest is extremely important. This will help reduce any tired bags under your eyes and give you enough energy to have fun with your headshot session! If you don’t like to wear a lot of makeup, getting good sleep the night before can help reduce the need for heavy makeup application. Feeling rested is one of the best ways to feel like yourself – one of the most important things for your headshot photo session!
If the growth of social media has taught us anything, it’s that first impressions matter and we only have seconds to make a good first impression. The job market has been tumultuous at the very least since 2020’s job losses. Many employers and market analysts have seen a “great resignation” in progress as the job market becomes more competitive. It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd when there are many people looking for new opportunities, but a professional headshot can set you apart and capture your audience's attention.
We can all agree that social media takes a major part in our everyday life. Even for those who may still be in denial about it, you simply cannot overlook the fact that media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are used by businesses and employers in looking for talent. Social media is constantly evolving and we must evolve along with it to stay competitive in the market.
Normally, it’s not recommended to include an image on your resume. But as more and more job listings ask for your LinkedIn profile, the profile picture has become one of the most important components to a good digital first impression. Whether you are looking for a new job, searching for clients, or hoping to create connections with people in your industry, having a high-quality headshot can be the difference between getting the job or being looked over.
Personal branding is a key component in any professional setting because it tells your audience who you are and what you are an expert in. Whether networking with fellow professionals, attending a job fair, or trying to build your own business, a professional headshot is a basic tool to help you stand out from the crowd. Headshots can be tailored to show your personality and communicate who you are through visual cues that support your brand.
Outdated photos can create a lot of confusion for potential employers or clients and can instantly create distrust. It’s important to update your headshots every 1-2 years. We’re all human, we all change with time. It’s important that how you are represented online is reflected with who you are in person today.
Despite the pandemic forcing us all to stay home, the age of using selfies on your LinkedIn profile or as your professional image is coming to an end. As the market continues to only get more competitive, having an updated professional photo shows your audience that you are above average and have invested in yourself and will invest into them. Book a headshot photo shoot and get an updated picture for any place your face is featured.
Knowing how to take a professional headshot is more than just setting up your iPhone with a ring light and hoping for the best (fingers crossed and smile). That’s what everyone else does these days anyway but you don’t want to be like everyone else. You want to stand out! Hiring a professional photographer for a headshot means you get an expert with professional equipment to provide you with stunning images where you were guided on what to wear and how to pose.
On top of gaining expertise by hiring a pro, you remove any chance that the photo will turn out blurry when you upload it to your social media channels. High quality professional headshots will imply you are a legitimate business or candidate for recruiters.
These photos can be used across all your social media accounts, business cards, your personal website, for speaking engagements, presentations, or even your holiday cards! A one-time investment in a professional headshot can last a long time and help people recognize your face. Plus, when you hire a professional you will get more than just one photo and can regularly swap out images as often as you like!
Studies have shown that people decide to trust others within the first few seconds of meeting someone. Facial expressions are becoming more and more important to building clientele or making a good impression when searching for a job. Professional headshots can help you make a positive impact in the most important split seconds of a first impression.
As the digital world continues to expand, having a professional headshot is no longer a suggestion. Now, it’s one of the basic needs in owning a business or putting yourself out there in the corporate world. More and more people turn to search engines and professional websites to find new employees or businesses to hire. Professional headshots are an easy way to cut through the noise.
We’re all making the best out of the stay at home order and never have we had so much family time together! So with the encouragement and collaboration with Front Porch Living Magazine's Publisher, Tracy Pasqualone, the Porchtrait Project was started! The project hit the ground running in the Willowsford Community in Aldie, Virginia where donations were collected for local food banks through Willowsford Cares, a non-profit organization assisting residents, communities and non-profits.
80 neighbors joined in on this huge effort and raised thousands of dollars to donate to local food banks! It's amazing how people can come together, even during a time when we have to stay apart! A big heartfelt thank you to all who participated!