Ready to get a great headshot in 5 easy steps? It can be done! First, consider — are you putting your best face forward with your headshot? First impressions don’t get 2nd chances, so we worked with some bright young talents to put together these five headshot tips for you. These apply whether you’re trying to present the most authentic, confident you on your website, land that new job, or score your next role.
5 Tips for a Great Headshot
Step 1. Make a direct connection, whether that’s with your prospective boss, a potential new client, or a casting director. To do that, look not at the camera (or away from it), but at the photographer. That connection will continue onward to whoever sees your photo, and voila! you’ll communicate with them without even being there.
Step 2. Convey your authenticity, which is far more compelling than a smile. DO NOT paste on a fake smile. Unless you’re really a superb actor, fake shows up instantly in pictures. You may as well say, “I’m a liar.” A great headshot photographer will capture and convey who you are, and that’s what you’re selling. This model didn’t flash a megawatt grin, but all you have to do is look at the photo to see how genuine and warm he is.
Step 3. Your outfit should never the steal the show from the star — a.k.a. YOU. Your clothing is a supporting actor here. A statement necktie or necklace is great, though unlike our model, you probably DO want to actually wear clothes. Make choices to accentuate your positives. No need to be afraid of color (check out #2’s outfit), but busy patterns or outsized pieces can be distracting. And it goes (almost) without saying — clean, pressed, well-fitting clothes are a minimum requirement.
Step 4. Determine how and where you want to use your photo(s). Casting? A blog? A publicity shot? An annual report? Vertical orientation used to be an ironclad rule, but those are bygone days. Side note: if you want to put type on the photo (a headline, a name, a message), make sure you discuss this in your pre-shoot consult so that we’re sure to get the best composition.
Step 5. Great lighting is your best friend. We love shooting in our studio where we can control the lights and the weather, but hands-down, the warmest, most natural lighting comes from Mother Nature. You can see that in play here and in #4. If you want, let’s head outside for your shoot.
Co-owner of Headshots NYC, Deutsch Photography & Gotham Family Photos. Lover of images & the stories they tell. Fanatic about words, numbers & patterns. Entrepreneur & adventurer w/keen wanderlust. Life/love/business partner of my husband, photographer Brett Deutsch. Eternal love affair with NYC, where I landed by way of GA, TX & CA.