Business headshots are a must-have for any established professional, or if you're looking to apply for a new job. If done right, they will subtly influence the person prior to meeting you that you are competent and that you have something that they will want. Since we have been getting this question a lot, we decided to put together these 7 business headshot tips for you to look your best.
1. Find inspiration
It sounds so simple, but it's easy to forget to do in advance. Take 5-10 minutes right now and browse the internet for examples of photos you like. Or I'll make it even easier and just let you click this to see what Google finds you for "business headshots". See anything you like? Great, that's a good start!
If you want to be more granular, you can look for "doctor headshots" or "real-estate headshots" or whichever field you're working in. Or if you have an idol, just check out their professional profiles such as Linkedin or their website or social media, and see what they put out as their professional photos. We actually specialize in Linkedin Headshots.
2. Find your photographer, send them your samples
The second business headshot tip is to contact a photographer after you have nailed down a look or a few looks that you like. Most photographers should do a free quick consultation to discuss what you want prior to your business headshot session with them. If they don't, well, I recommend you try finding someone else 😉
Two more things are important to consider here: ask your chosen photographer if they are able to give you the look that you chose. Some headshots require more elaborate lighting techniques which not every photographer can get. Check out their website or just ask for samples similar to what you sent them. Secondly, if you do not feel super happy about your samples, see if your photographer can help you out to find a great look for you.
3. Pick your outfits
We generally recommend to our clients to wear what they would usually wear to work. Nobody likes to look at a business headshot of someone in a suit to find out that they usually wear sneakers and shorts to work. It is best to wear the nicest version of the clothes you'd wear to work daily.
One thing to keep in mind is to avoid distracting patterns on your business headshot session day. Lots of stripes, a checkered shirt, your last Hawaiian shirt are best kept at home when you have your photos taken. Clean and simple colors usually work the best and should be complemented by an appropriate backdrop.
Oh, and please do not forget to wash your clothes, check for stains, iron them, and have a few options... We have seen it before that people manage to spill their Starbucks coffee over their shirt on their way to the studio and then need to scramble to find something else.
4. Hair & Makeup & Beards
Business headshot tip number 4 does not apply to everyone but is something to keep in mind prior to your session. It might be a good idea to have your hair done the day of your headshot session. Especially for longer hair it's often harder to control on set. We do work with hairstylists that can be present for your shoot.
If you wear makeup to work, probably put some on for your headshot session too. Typically we see only women have elaborate makeup done, but some men also prefer hiding darker spots under their eyes or just making the skin look a little more even. This is something that our retouching crew can also do after the shoot in the editing process.
We love beards. We love no beards. But nothing in between. That's really a joke, but we recommend to either committing to having stubbles (2-3 days or more) or being clean-shaven. If you just didn't shave for one day, your face will usually look gray and it's very hard to make that go away even with advanced retouching methods.
5. Posing and Confidence
Unless you're a naturally born extrovert that loves posing for the camera, chances are it's a little intimidating if not outright uncomfortable to have your photo taken. We have been there (in fact I still greatly prefer being behind rather than in front of the camera).
If you feel like it, you can look up some good poses (there is lots of resources online). But generally we don't recommend it, as it stresses people out more than it actually helps on set. We always make sure our clients are relaxed and feel comfortable. I am one of the rare Germans with a sense of humor and a pretty funny accent. So we will have a good time and your images will look stunning! You do not need to know your better side or come fully prepared with a set of poses. It is quite a painless process and I always get you in and out of there in half the time you think you'll need.
6. Choosing a Backdrop
I always recommend going with the most simple background possible. Not because I like all headshots to look the same and look boring, but a business headshot is meant to make the viewer focus on you. Not on the cool car in the background or the fancy restaurant you went to. That is, of course, somewhat different when you shoot on location (for example at your office or at a studio), but those are things you can plan with us.
If you know in advance which color backdrop you want, great. If not I recommend going with white/black/gray. Because if push comes to shove, we can always put another background in with some of our more advanced retouching methods.
7. Sleep and Hydration
Looking well-rested during your business headshot session is probably one of the most crucial elements of your shoot. We do not recommend pushing an all-nighter at the office (less so at the bars) if you are shooting with us. It will show greatly in the photos, no matter how much coffee you drink to wake up.
Speaking of which, the second tip here is to hydrate very well prior to your shoot. It will help your lips to look smoother and is good for you anyway!
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We are based in downtown Toronto in the Regent Park area, cross-streets Dundas & Sumach