13 Steps to the perfect headshot
don’t get your brand photos taken till you read this first!!
(anReady to freshen your brand, but getting butterflies about having your headhshot taken?
About a year ago, I was right in your shoes.
I’m usually the one behind the camera, so when I had my personal branding photos taken, I was opened to a whole new experience. And I now know how SCARY and uncomfortable it can be.
These steps will help you get the photos you want, save money and hopefully put you at ease!!
1. Book a trusted photographer
Talk to friends, ask around on social media, etc….. you want to work with someone you know has a good reputation and that your friends have used. It will make you feel more comfortable knowing that they come recommended.
2. Check out the photographer’s portfolio
All photographers are different and have their own style. Have a look through their portfolio to see if their style will be right for you.
3. Have a clear brand strategy
Make sure you’re clear on your brand. Do you know your brand’s message? Are you clear about how you want your audience to feel and the emotions you want to create with your photos? Have you taken into consideration your brand’s colours and how that will work with the backdrops and colours you’ll be wearing? Make sure the feeling and emotions your pictures generate with your audience are in line with your brand. If you’re unsure about your branding, have a read of my blog post HERE. If you want to book time with me to create or refresh your brand, book your time HERE.
4. Get in touch with your photographer
Talk to them about where you’re going to be taking the pictures and make sure you’re comfortable with the location and how to get there.
5. Book the right time of day for your shoot
Noon is the W-O-R-S-T time of day to get photographed outside. When the sun is directly above you in the sky it casts some not-so-flattering shadows on your face and body. Also, you’re more likely to be squinting in the pictures. The exposure in the images gets totally blown out (meaning everything is bright in the image and the details don’t show well). Most photographers will know this. If you have no way around taking outdoor photos at noon, then make sure you’re going to a location that has trees to filter out the light or areas that are more shaded.
6. Scope out your location
Knowing some places you like at your location are key. You’ll have a limited amount of time with your photographer, so when you get on location it’s great if you have pre-selected areas.
7. You’re the director
You’re the director of this session, so give your photographer ideas of poses, examples of headshots, or even send them your mood board. The more information you can give your photographer the better. They’ll deliver what you want, if they know what it is you’re looking for and how you’re going to apply the photos. My photographer must’ve thought I was a loony-toon when I was telling him what I wanted, but after showing him some examples, he was onboard and excited for our shoot.
8. Don’t book a headshot…book an engagement shoot
As a tip from a photographer….if you book someone that normally does headshots, you’re likely to pay for the session and get to choose a small number of photos. BUT……if you book someone that does wedding photos (Saturdays don’t usually work, but weekdays do) they may be willing to do one of their lesser packages (like an engagement shoot) where you get a lot more shots for a lot less.
9. Follow the 80/20 rule
If you’re planning on using your photos on your website, get 80% of your photos taken in landscape and 20% of your photos taken in portrait. I’ve had several clients very excited to come to me with their photos only to discover that most of them weren’t useable for the tops of their websites or that they were going to need a lot of editing, because they were all done in portrait. If you’re using your photos for something else, like promotional materials, have a look and see which photo orientation is best and make sure to communicate this to your photographer on the day.
10. If time allows, bring several outfit changes
But, make them easy. Maybe your trousers will stay the same but you change the tops, and swapping out accessories (like a scarf for a necklace) is a great, quick way to make a new outfit. Remember, on-location you may not have a restroom to use to change so you might have to be discreet and quick.
11. Don’t practice your smile
I know it’s tempting to practice your smile before the big day. We do this because we want to look good and be happy with our photos. But, to be honest, when we get in front of the camera, rarely does it work….it ends up looking like we’re trying too hard and we end up looking uncomfortable and nervous.
12. Get relaxed by building tension
I recommend trying something I’ve picked up in yoga. Right before the picture is taken, scrunch up your face creating a lot of tension…squeeze your face and eyes together really tightly,……for a few seconds until you’ve created a lot of tension in your face….then AHHH relax your face and let your shoulders drop……guaranteed your photos will look a lot more relaxed, natural and pretty.
13. Be kind
Remember, when you first see your images you’re likely to be really critical of yourself…mostly because you’ve had a certain idea in your head about how you’re going to look. Give your pictures some time to sink in….You’re bound to like some of them.
Did you find this article helpful? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me all about it.
All my love,
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