How to Take a Better Headshot
Image is everything. Positively portraying ourselves and the image we use on social media and other platforms is essential today. It amazes me to see some of the unflattering pictures and content people put on the internet, marketing materials or even holiday cards. Those who use a bad photo typically fit into one of two categories and maybe both.
The Procrastinator dreads a photo shoot like they dread getting a tooth pulled.
The Clueless uses any photo they have on hand without realizing the impact of using a poor quality, unflattering photo.
Whether you are a professional, a stay at home parent or a full-time volunteer, it is important to have a media/image strategy and the best place to start is with a solid headshot.
It’s Not About the Camera
Getting the right headshot can seem like a daunting and expensive task. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be either of those! With the advancement in photo technology, the “photo shoot” has been a dramatically simplified process resulting in lower prices for this service. Updated photo airbrushing and editing techniques like Photoshop eliminate the need to “lose 20 pounds” too. And there is no need to buy a completely new outfit either. With these common hurdles eliminated, follow my guidelines, stop overthinking and just get the job done already because it’s important..
- Think about the image you want to portray. Is this image for work, social media, marketing materials or all of the above? Note: for social media the headshot you use on Facebook may be more relaxed than the one you will need for Linkedin.
- Scour the internet. Check out other people’s headshots and identify what images appeal to you. Save these images and aim for the same look.
- Think about the color and style that looks best on you on camera. Often, this is different than what looks good in person. Flowing, loose-fitting clothes may look and feel great every day, but clothes with more structure and coverage often look best in a still shot. This is especially true for a professional image. Certain colors you commonly wear like black and white might not bring out your best features.
- Shop your closet. Often people think they need to buy a new outfit for the photo shoot. This is simply not the case. Pull clothes from your own closet and look for great deals on accent pieces and accessories.
- Schedule a blowout. Plan on spending around $40 dollars. A polished, professional blowout can make or break a headshot. Choose a clean, polished style that is similar to your current hair style. You want to look great, not different.
- Consider getting your makeup professionally done. This service can be scheduled in advance at many department stores and done for free. Makeup representatives love the opportunity to get you to wear their line. If you wear it and love it, they know you will be back for more.
- Use new techniques in makeup contouring. It is amazing what can be accomplished by this process. A good contour will bring out your best facial features and de-emphasize your areas of concern. Use a makeup artist for the contour or you can find step by step instructions online.
- Choose the right photographer at the right price. Check out photographer websites to make sure their styles are in line with your headshot goals. Make sure you can get a disk with all pictures taken in a timely fashion. A good headshot (including the disk) can be achieved for as little as $100 plus $5-$10 per touch-up. If you’re on a budget, talk to talented amateurs and photography students who want to build their portfolios; they might even do it for free.
So, for the procrastinators, the clueless and the rest of you, I have eliminated your excuses. It’s time to face the headshot challenge head-on, follow these detailed steps. Before you know it, you will be proudly posting your picture and making a great first impression, while keeping more of your money in the bank.