4 tips to get a headshot you love
Updated: May 21
First impressions are everything, especially online. Here are 4 tips to help you make the best one.
“To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” - Tom Peters
Whether you're looking for your next career step, or a business owner looking to grow and engage with your customer base, your photo is often what people form their judgement from, before they meet you. So let’s look into how to plan and create a headshot that makes the right impression, and that you are proud to share.
1. Be intentional about what your headshot says about you
“ Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room .” - Jeff Bezos
You only get one shot at making a first impression, so be strategic and ask yourself how you want to come across.
One of the worries I had before having my first headshot taken was that it wouldn't look like me, that the photographer would stick me in a box that wouldn't represent me. An easy way to overcome this is to ask yourself what you want your headshot to say about you - it will help you get the results you want. Professional? Confident? Approachable? Authentic? Stylish? Successful? Serious? Bold? Creative?...
Pick 3 words that best describe what you want people to remember about you when they come across your photo, and keep them in mind for the next steps.
2. Pick a style that best suits your personality and goals
Think about how/where you will use your headshots - LinkedIn? Social media? Company website? Blog? Interviews? Articles? E-books? Modelling/Actor Portfolio? Business cards? Brochures? Press Release? Email marketing?
There are so many places professional headshots can help you, and depending on your needs, certain styles may be better suited for you.
This style is very versatile, and ideal for use in your company website or directory, LinkedIn profile, business cards, interviews, and anywhere where you are looking to show credibility, promote your expertise and build trust.
Corporate headshots are ideal for business professionals, and well suited for press releases, announcements, company websites, and interviews.
Great choice for actors, models, and artists; but also for anyone wanting to show more of an artistic flair.
Lifestyle headshots are perfect for showing more of your personality - you, doing things you love. They are ideal for building trust with your audience in blog posts, email marketing, social media content, and to have throughout your own website if you are a solopreneur.
You've got your 3 words and the style you're going for, so now you need to decide on an outfit, hair / make-up style, and body language that match these. If unsure, ask your photographer for advice!
If you are taking your headshot yourself, browse through other people's headshots and find 2-3 poses you like that evoke the words you’ve chosen. You can start with my Pinterest Board for inspiration. Study and replicate these poses, or to make it easier for you, find a photographer who will coach you into similar poses.
4. Use posing tricks to relax in front of the camera
I don't think being photogenic is something we are born with, but rather something we learn (some of us with more difficulty than others - yes, that includes me!). Looking good in photos is all about relaxing, getting the right angles, feeling confident, and making connection through the eyes. Easier said than done, right? Especially when we can't help but freeze and look scared or angry as soon as a camera is pointed at us! (yes, that's me too!)
So here are a few practical tips to help you relax and get flattering photos. If you plan on taking your own headshot, you will need to practise them in front of a mirror time and time again until it looks right; or if you hire an experienced photographer, he/she will be able to guide you through these techniques (and more) to get you looking natural and looking your best:
Sit up - slouching isn’t flattering, especially in photos; but drop your shoulders down for a more relaxed posture
Push your chin forward (towards the camera) and down slightly - this is the key to elongating your neck and highlighting your jawline
Relax your forehead and jaws. We tend to hold a lot of tension around our face, without even noticing it. Close your eyes, relax for a few seconds, and open them again just before taking the photo
Engage your gaze - one trick I like is to squint slightly by just lifting up your lower lid
Try various levels of smile (no smile > mouth relaxed with lips slightly open > tiny smile > smile > full smile > big laugh, mouth open) and different face angles (up > down > center > right > left). Play around and pick the combination works best for you.
I hope this helps! If there is anything you'd like to learn more about, let me know in the comments!
If you would like to find out more about headshot sessions with Elodie Giuge Photography, schedule your free 15 min consultation now.