A professional headshot is often the first impression you make on potential employers, clients, or collaborators. It's a visual representation of your personal brand, and it should communicate your professionalism, confidence, and approachability. As a professional photographer, I've have had the privilege of photographing over 3,000 people in my 5 years of creating professional headshots. I've learned a thing or two about what makes a great headshot, and I'm excited to share my expert tips with you on wardrobe, hair and grooming, posing, and facial expressions. With my guidance, you'll be well-prepared for your headshot session and ready to make a strong impression. Let's dive in:
Table of Contents:
1. Wardrobe & Clothes
The outfit you choose for your headshot can greatly impact the overall impression you make. To ensure you select the right clothes, keep the following tips in mind:
Choose colors that complement your skin tone: Stick to neutral, solid colors like navy, gray, and black, as they tend to work well with most skin tones. Avoid bright colors and busy patterns that may distract from your face.
Select the right fabrics: Opt for clothes made from high-quality fabrics that don't wrinkle easily. This will ensure that your outfit looks polished and professional in your headshot.
Dress for the purpose of your headshot: Consider the context of your headshot and choose an outfit that matches your industry or profession. For a business headshot, opt for a suit or blazer; for an actor headshot, you may want a more casual outfit that shows off your unique style.
Accessorize and layer: Add depth and texture to your image by incorporating accessories like ties, pocket squares, or watches. Layering with a sweater or vest can also make your outfit more visually interesting.
FAQs on Wardrobe & Clothes:
Q: What should I wear for a business headshot?
A: For a business headshot, wear a suit or blazer in a neutral, solid color. Pair it with a dress shirt and tie to create a polished and professional look.
Q: Can I wear casual clothes for a headshot?
A: Casual clothes can be appropriate for certain types of headshots, such as actor or creative professional headshots. However, it's important to still look polished and put-together.
Q: Should I avoid patterns and bright colors in my outfit?
A: Generally, it's best to stick to solid, neutral colors for your headshot. Busy patterns and bright colors can be distracting and take the focus away from your face.
2. Hair & Grooming
Proper grooming and hairstyling are crucial for a polished and professional headshot. Follow these tips to ensure you look your best:
Plan your haircut: Schedule a haircut a week before your headshot session. This will give your hair some time to grow into the style and look more natural.
Groom facial hair: If you have facial hair, trim and shape it so it looks neat and well-maintained. If you're clean-shaven, shave on the day of your session to avoid any five o'clock shadow.
Consider makeup: Light makeup can help even out your skin tone and reduce shine. Opt for a matte finish, as glossy makeup can create unwanted glare in the final image.
FAQs on Hair & Grooming:
Q: Should I get a haircut before my headshot?
A: Yes, schedule a haircut a week before your headshot session to ensure your hair looks its best.
Q: Can I have facial hair in my headshot?
A: Absolutely, just make sure it's well-groomed and neatly trimmed.
Q: Should I wear makeup for my headshot?
A: Light makeup can help even out your skin tone and reduce shine. Opt for a matte finish to avoid glare in the final image.
3. Posing & Body Language
The way you pose and present yourself in a headshot can convey confidence and approachability. Keep these tips in mind to strike the perfect pose:
Angle your body: Position your body at a slight angle to the camera, with one shoulder closer to the lens. This creates a more dynamic and flattering look.
Keep your posture in check: Stand tall with your shoulders back and down, and your chest slightly forward. Good posture conveys confidence and poise.
Smile naturally: A genuine, warm smile can make you appear more approachable. Practice smiling in front of a mirror to find a smile that feels comfortable and authentic.
FAQs on Posing & Body Language:
Q: How should I position my body for a headshot?
A: Angle your body slightly to the camera, with one shoulder closer to the lens, and maintain good posture.
Q: Should I smile or not smile in my headshot?
A: A natural, warm smile can make you appear more approachable. However, the choice to smile or not depends on the context of your headshot and the image you want to convey.
Q: How do I avoid looking stiff or uncomfortable in my headshot?
A: Practice posing in front of a mirror to find a position that feels natural and relaxed. Breathing deeply and engaging in light conversation with the photographer can also help alleviate any tension.
4. Facial Expressions
Your facial expression can communicate your personality and approachability. Consider these tips to achieve the perfect expression:
Relax your face: Tension in the face can make your expression appear forced or unnatural. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax your facial muscles before opening your eyes and focusing on the camera.
Engage your eyes: The eyes are the window to the soul, so make sure they convey warmth and sincerity. Think of a happy memory or something that makes you laugh to evoke a genuine expression.
Experiment with different expressions: Work with your photographer to try a variety of expressions, from serious to playful. This will give you more options to choose from and help you find the expression that best represents your personal brand.
FAQs on Facial Expressions:
Q: What facial expressions work best for a headshot?
A: The best facial expression for your headshot depends on your personal brand and the message you want to convey. Generally, a warm and genuine expression is a good choice.
Q: How do I avoid looking too serious or too smiley in my headshot?
A: Practice different expressions in front of a mirror and work with your photographer to find the perfect balance between serious and smiley.
Q: Can I have a more dramatic or intense expression in my headshot?
A: If your profession or personal brand calls for a more dramatic or intense expression, discuss your vision with your photographer and experiment with different looks during your session.
Preparing for a professional headshot involves thoughtful consideration of your wardrobe, hair and grooming, posing, and facial expressions. By following the expert tips provided in this article, you'll be well on your way to creating a headshot that truly represents your personal brand and makes a strong first impression. To learn more or schedule a session with Austen Hunter, don't hesitate to reach out and take the next step in creating the perfect professional headshot.
Austen Hunter Photography is a Pensacola, Florida photographer who specializes in family portraits, military portrait photography and headshot photography from Destin and 30A Florida, to Pensacola and Orange Beach, Alabama. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized, internationally published, and is known for his bold and clean photographic style. He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. Make a great first impression: Book with Austen today.