A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but if the quality of that picture is poor or the photo doesn’t show you in your best light, those words might not be positive ones. The power of a good headshot is undeniable. Your professional headshot should tell employers, clients and collaborators exactly who you are - in a matter of seconds. In order to look good on paper, you can’t rely solely on your resume. You need to showcase your personality, expertise, and integrity in a single image.
While accomplishing this requires working with an experienced photographer, you can’t always rely on others to get the results you’re after. You should familiarize yourself with some best practices. These tips can help you get started even before you get to the photography studio.
What do you want to say about you?
Think about your goal. You should consider how your photos will be used, as well as what message the photograph should portray about you specifically. I think the most important thing you should want out of a headshot is to look authentic.
Think of your professional headshots as an exercise in personal branding. If you’re not sure what your personal branding is, try this exercise. Collect a series of portraits that you like, and don’t like (try using Pinterest). Then, one by one jot down keywords that describe what you see of yourself in your collection. Pay extra attention if you see the same keywords more than once.
What should you wear?
First, consider what color you should wear. People are affected by the psychology of color. At its most basic level, color can instantly communicate whether something is dangerous or safe. We see this in nature; poisonous plants and animals that dispense toxins tend to be brightly colored as a warning.
Here are a couple examples to get you started. The color red is great for industries related to food, sports, and entertainment, because it creates a feeling of excitement and passion. Greens and blues tend to make people feel calm and safe, making them good colors for the medical field.
Many business professionals will opt for more neutral tones like gray, black, navy and brown. These colors can give a sense of power, authority, stability, or loyalty. In some instances, it’s best to combine these neutrals with a pop of color somewhere that will compliment your own features and will guide the viewer to feel a desired emotion when they look at your headshot.
After considering color, you need to think about what you will actually wear. This again depends on the industry you’re in as well as your own style. Here are some general guidelines to consider.
Tips for women
A dress or beautiful sweater in a saturated jewel tone or neutral blouse paired with a smart blazer can all work well. Stay away from oversized floral prints, houndstooth, or polka dots, which can take over the image. Whether you opt for a jacket with a feminine cut or a fitted dress, the neckline should be rather conservative. Crewnecks, v-necks, and collared shirts tend to look better than scoop, square, and sweetheart necklines.
Use makeup lightly and bring an oil blotter or loose powder to reduce shine in your photos.
Avoid wearing sunglasses right before the photoshoot as they leave those indents around your nose.
If you have a sunburn on the day of your photoshoot, let me know and we can reschedule. Sunburn does not photograph well and you likely will not be happy with your pictures.
Tips for men
You should wear some type of button down shirt and suit jacket. Stay away from busy patterns and clashing colors. Instead, consider a subtle printed shirt or tie. These days, it’s not out of the ordinary to see headshots that feature a shirt with no tie or even a nice t-shirt with blazer. No matter how dressed up or down you decide to go, you should make sure that every garment is free of wrinkles, fits well, and is in excellent condition.
Make sure you have your hair styled in a way that fits your look.
If you intend to have facial hair in your headshot, start growing it well in advance.
When choosing what to wear, ask yourself if the outfit feels like the true you. Does it help you look and feel your very best? Does it look polished, appealing and professional? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, the outfit is most likely a good contender.
Your photographer can be a great resource when trying to decide between specific pieces or if you have a question about a pattern or color will translate to an image. A great headshot should capture your best qualities and provide your target audience with an authentic first impression of who you are and what they can expect from you.
To learn more about the services Lynn Marie Photography offers in the Sioux Falls South Dakota area, visit our website or contact us today!