How to Get the Perfect Professional Headshot

Did you know that headshots used for business are often referred to as “the new handshake?” Thanks to the internet and the world of social media, it’s easy for people to “meet” you before they ever see you in person for that real handshake. With this in mind, you need a professional headshot that “speaks” for you, and leaves an appropriate first impression.

It’s not as simple as sitting in your office in front of your computer’s built-in camera and taking a photo. There are certain elements that your business headshot needs, and there are numerous things you want to avoid. Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you get the perfect professional headshot to use for your business.

Appearance. This may seem like common sense, but there are many things to consider regarding your appearance for your professional headshot. The day before you have your headshot taken is not the best time to try a new haircut or colour, or a new makeup application. For the women, makeup should actually be applied in a way that highlights your facial features, but isn’t overly dramatic. For the men, be clean shaven if that is how you normally appear day-to-day; if you normally sport a beard, mustache or goatee, go with that, just make sure it’s nicely groomed. Remember, you want to appear as you would normally, so that people will recognize you.

Clothing. You want to appear professional, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to wear a suit and tie or something that is too formal. It’s important to choose clothing that is appropriate for your business and offers a true sense of how you appear day-to-day. Think about home builder Mike Holmes, for example—you’ve probably seen him in a suit at a special event, but if you visit his website or social media accounts, you’ll likely find him wearing his coveralls, and maybe even a hardhat. Wear something that conveys a true sense of you and your business. Avoid patterned shirts and stripes, or colours that will clash with backdrops, your hair colour, skin tone, etc. It’s best to wear bright and solid colours that are appropriate for your body type and skin tone.

Current. The headshots for your business should be ones that have been taken within the past couple of years. If you’re using a photo that is more than two years old, it is likely that your features, hairstyle, and/or hair colour have changed. Your headshot should be a reflection of your current appearance.

Details. Maybe you’ve noticed that some professional headshots are just that—the backdrop is plain, and it’s the head-and-shoulders of a professional wearing a business suit. And sometimes, this is as it should be. Others are more colourful, use different backdrops, are shot on location, or use props. Sometimes this is as it should be, too. When you consult with a professional photographer, they will be able to consult with you on the right aspect of fun vs. serious for your photos, including the use of location, props and backdrops, and whether to use different angles or a more direct positioning in your photo.

Above all, you want to make sure that all of these aspects work together to create professional headshots that will give the viewer an authentic sense of your personality and a glimpse into your business. And of course, you want people to recognize you instantly whether they are looking for you online, remembering meeting you because of the photo on your business card, or recognizing you when they see you in-person.

Do you have headshots but you aren’t sure how well they reflect you and your business? Do you need headshots but aren’t sure how to get started? Get in touch, I’d be pleased to discuss the process with you, or help you determine whether your current headshots work well for you and your business.

Do you know you need to have professional headshots taken? You’re in luck! Grab an appointment during Winter Business Photo Day. From just the photo shoot to complete pampering including hair and makeup, there are packages available to suit all needs and budgets, so you’ll have headshots that will help you stand out from the crowd!

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