We all know that a great headshot should show you on a good day but it can - and should - be more than that: your headshot should reveal something unique about you; the real you should shine through.
Read my guide below for tips on how to get the best out of your headshots!
How do I choose the right photographer?
Ensuring a brilliant headshot, starts with a choosing the right photographer. Keep in mind that the right photographer for one person, isn’t necessarily right for another. So how do you choose who is right for you?
Start by looking carefully at a photographer’s portfolio. A portfolio is usually on a webpage. Some photographers will include all of their headshots, while others may show a sample of their best work. The best way to see current work is to check social media - remember to check the dates posts were created, more recent posts will show you how a photographer’s work looks now, giving you a better idea of what to expect.
When you’ve found a few photographers who offer the style you like, look at their testimonials. You need to choose someone who can demonstrate a reliable and professional service but there may be other qualities you’re looking for: friendliness, flexibility, the ability to put you at ease… And don’t forget that you can find reviews in a number of places: social media, Google and a photographer’s website.
The next stage is to check their prices. It’s crucial that you don’t base your decision on the cheapest - unless you love their work and they offer exactly what you need. Don’t choose price over the work you like because the end result will be headshots you don’t love.
You need your headshots to be good enough to secure you interviews, jobs, clients etc. so think carefully about what that’s worth to you. Consider why you’re having a headshot done. Do you need one sole image or do you need a range of looks? Do you need your headshot to capture attention? Do you need your headshot to be used in marketing and promotion? It might be that one single image is all you need and a package offering 10 is not necessary for you; however, try to think of the future. There are many uses for a good headshot and if in one shoot you can nail all the variety you need, it will save you money in the long run.
Spend time comparing the work and prices of your favourites and select the person who will work with you to give you exactly what you want, with headshots you love.
I've chosen my photographer and booked my headshot shoot. What’s next?
Before the shoot spend some time looking at yourself. Study your face and try to be critical. What features do you like about yourself? What features do you like less? Make a note of the features you’d like your photographer to enhance and the ones you’d rather they avoided.
Practise different poses in front of a mirror and again think about each carefully - is lowering your chin flattering or not? Is tilting slightly to the left better for your face shape than titling to the right? Tell your photographer this before or at the beginning of your shoot - it’s a great way to start building a rapport with your photographer and help you to feel more comfortable more quickly.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your diet in the weeks before your shoot. Eat foods which contain plenty of nutrients and avoid things which are processed. Drink lots of water - water is proven to give your skin a beautiful glow! Don’t arrange a night out before your shoot - alcohol excess and tiredness can leave you with blotchy skin and bloodshot, sensitive eyes - bright eyes are crucial to a good headshot!
For similar reasons, building up the habit of a good skin cleansing routine is important - to achieve glowing, healthy skin in your headshot, it has to be looked after with a quality cleanser and something to keep it hydrated.
If you’re planning beauty treatments (haircut and colour, eyebrow, lip waxing etc…) beforehand, arrange these in advance of the shoot so that you know you’re happy with them and they look fresh but natural. Remember, you want to look as you normally do in your headshot - your photographer is working with you to represent you on a good day, not someone who looks like they could be you.
What should should I wear to my photoshoot?
When choosing your photographer, you worked out what you were looking for from a shoot and this will help you to choose the best clothes. But also consider your skin tone - try to choose colours which will complement your natural colouring, instead of washing you out. Avoid too many patterns, especially those in contrasting colours, and logos, as these can detract from what is important - you! Wearing clothing with texture can be really useful and a knitted sweater, lace top, interesting buttons can subtly reveal your personality in a headshot.
Necklines are also worth considering: roll top and turtlenecks can make it seem like your head is floating - this can work for some shots but has a very specific look and style; fully buttoned shirts are very formal, again evoking something very specific (but ideal for business headshots!). Simple round or V-necklines work best on most people as they elongate the neck.
Layering is a great way to add to your clothing. A simple white top can be enhanced by adding a black leather or blue denim jacket, easily creating a new look. A casual, unbuttoned shirt can be converted easily by adding a tie and suit jacket. The layering method can also be used to create specific shots for your portfolio. For contemporary shots, consider simple, neutral colours and fitted clothing with sharp lines; for more classic ones, fabrics which are soft, loose fitting and include lace detail are essential; while for business looks, clothing should be formal but able to be paired with more casual and even relaxed items.
What should I bring to my photoshoot?
Before packing a huge bag, double check what your package allows - some have a limit to the amount of changes you’re allowed, others have a time restriction which will limit what you can achieve. If you’ve booked with me, I leave things open. I believe in getting the right shot and to do this I like our time to be (almost) unlimited!
Bring clothing you can layer to allow a range of looks. Think about colours, collars and shapes - if you bring the same top in 4 colours, it will limit the looks you can achieve. When packing your outfits, picks the ones you feel best in or would wear to an interview - if you feel comfortable and confident it will radiate in your final headshots.
And pack neatly! If you stuff your clothes into a bag, the chances are when you arrive they’ll be crushed which is not easy to photoshop out - unfortunately, wrinkles in clothes are there to stay!
A hairbrush, straightners and other styling products may be useful - particularly if it’s raining and you get soaked on the way or if you want to change your styling during the shoot.
Can you explain what a typical photoshoot is like?
My shoot times are open-ended and the average is 60-90 minutes. I leave plenty of time between bookings so that you have ample time to warm up - this can include a chat, tea/ coffee and some treats, if you like! It also ensures we have loads of time to shoot with multiple backgrounds, you can change your clothing, hair, make-up…
I shoot the majority of my headshots indoors but I’m in a great location and if you’d like some outdoor shots, we can do pretty and picturesque, grungy, shots in Kelvingrove park or by the Clydeside (and all with less than a 10-minute walk!)
There is no changing area, but I can vacate the studio to give you the privacy to change and there is a small toilet. There is also a large mirror - usually hidden behind my backdrop - but brilliant if you want to check how you look before or during the shoot.
While I’m taking photographs, I behave naturally. Sometimes I’ll give you direction and sometimes I’ll let you do what feels right. I’ll change the lighting, move you around, I’ll move around. I’ll also chat to you - ask you questions about yourself, your job, your hopes and dreams, what makes you happy, what makes you sad (you can answer these inside your head, I ask them simply to evoke an emotion and enhance your expressions). We’ll look at the images as we go and before we make changes, so that if you really like the set up but want to adapt something (expression, position, clothing) we can have another go instantly.
Before you leave, you know you’ll have a whole load you love! And if you’re not happy, we’ll arrange for you to try again another day - we all have days where we just don’t feel ourselves and rather than force things, I think it’s better to reschedule.
What happens after my photoshoot?
I deliver your photographs to you as soon as I can after your shoot.
I’ll put up the unedited, unretouched files onto an online gallery which can be password protected, if you like. The gallery will be accessible until your final headshots are delivered. From this gallery you can choose 2, 5 or 10 images (depending on the package you bought) which I will edit and retouch before emailing to you. You will receive high quality colour images cropped to 8X10”. You may request all images in B&W at no extra cost. I deliver images full size images, so that you are able to print and also images reduced to 1mb, ready to upload.
Customer satisfaction is extremely important to me and if there is anything you’d like me to change or if you’re not happy, simply get in touch and we can have a chat about things.