There are 5 key ingredients to a great headshot and all of them are really simple!
1. Be warm, friendly and inviting ☺️
No matter how professional you want to come across, it’s just as important to show people that you are a person, that you do have emotions and that you are approachable.
Work with your photographer to ensure a number of looks. When I’m taking headshots, I like to vary the lighting, the poses and positions my clients are in and the angles I’m shooting at.
Shooting in this way means that I rule out things which don’t work – some poses result in very harsh and serious expressions - so, I like to give you loads of variety and ensure that you have a range of images – some more approachable than others.
While in certain situations, you may want something very corporate, the place for these is not on social media – your social media posts and particularly for Facebook and Instagram, need to show you as someone your ideal clients can connect with, so don’t create too much distance between them and you.
2. Look professional 🤓
I know it sounds like I’m contradicting myself, but I’m not! You can still have a professional image without looking excessively corporate in your headshot.
Wear smart, professional clothing – but make it appropriate to your business. If you're the head of a cleaning company, showing up to a photoshoot in a three-piece suit and 4-inch stilettos, is probably not going to attract your target market! Now, I’m not suggesting you should turn up in old, bleached leggings, with a pinny and a headscarf – if that’s how you dress every day and want too, perfect! – but try to find a balance between your business wear and your professional wear. There’s no right or wrong answer – to you, what might seem professional is someone else’s casual; your business, your values and your target audience are the key determining factors.
And don’t forget to iron your clothes! I can be a nightmare for hauling on things straight from the wardrobe (un-ironed) but unless your outfit has boho/ grunge vibes, strutting wrinkles can make your pictures look really untidy and quite often detract from your lovely face!
Style your hair. It sort of goes without saying, but having clean, styled hair is a great way to look professional. Automatically, it shows you as someone who cares for and is proud of your appearance and the impression you make. And don’t forget to have your roots done – it’s something that I often see overlooked and – particularly in studio lighting – can ruin the professional look we’re trying to create.
Don’t overdo your make up. Again, this is dependent on your business and how you want to project yourself. If every day make up is beautifully contoured, with thick, pencilled in brows and to die for lashes, then of course it is how you want to turn up. However, don’t turn up like this if you never ever wear make up like this and are unlikely to again… Stick with what is natural for you – whatever natural is!
3. Think about your brand colours ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤
The more brand colours in your pictures, the more cohesion you’ll have across your brand image - there's also the added benefit of being able to post a photograph of yourself without having to do any additional work to make it “on brand.”
As well as clothing, backgrounds can help you to link your branding and your headshot. This is something I do a lot and use coloured backgrounds in the studio, particular locations for key colours and certain seasons for colours and textures.
Try to view your headshot as part of your personal branding and not a separate entity that you need because someone told you you should…
4. Connect with your ideal client ☀️
How do you do that? Look straight into the camera! As in, straight into the lens!
It will feel silly – you’re looking into a piece of glass that doesn’t reflect very well and pretending that it’s your dream client. But, the result will be fabulous! Your headshot will be one that people look at and declare, “I want to work with her!”
5. Keep your headshot current 📆
This is the one I struggle with the most because I’m forever changing my hair… but if the purpose of a headshot is to help your ideal client to connect with you, then, you need to look like you. Minor tweaks to your hairstyle are fine; major ones, not so much. A headshot from 10 years ago might look like you but does it represent you now?
So, what are you waiting for? ⏳
I understand that when you want a headshot taken you want to look and feel your best but think about things from your client’s perspective: would they rather see a version of you you don’t love, one where you’re socialising with friends, tipsy and brandishing an alcoholic cocktail or an avatar or stock image where you should be?
Sometimes it is worth facing the camera to allow yourself to be recognised by your ideal client – after all, they’re the people who’ll help you grow your business 🌳