How to Make the Most of Your Headshot

Blog Contributor Laura Stopa


Laura Stopa, Graphic Designer
10.27.2016

Clients often ask us for professional headshots to use in various marketing materials and for PR purposes. If you’re like me, most people hate getting their photo taken. However, it’s easy to get the most out of your headshot and reduce some of the stress that comes along with showing us your pearly whites.

What to Wear and How to Prepare

When we get confirmation that you’re coming in for a professional headshot, one of the things we typically do for people who haven’t had one before is to send an informational sheet over that includes tips for what to wear to a photo shoot. I always say “simple is better.” Don’t come to a photo shoot wearing clothing that has florescent colors or crazy patterns (even if you love them like I do). That’s just a recipe for disaster, and a sure way to bet you won’t be happy with your photos.

It's not magic...it's Photoshop!

For women, it’s usually best to keep your makeup and jewelry simple. Regarding makeup, it is recommended to apply a little heavier than normal as it will enhance your features. Especially things like mascara and eyeliner to help your eyes stand out and face powder/foundation to reduce glare. Making sure hair and facial hair is well-groomed for men will also help improve photos. If you wear glasses and plan to have them in your photo, be ready to take them off in a few shots in case there is glare. We’ll need some photos without them on to help reduce glare via Photoshop (magic!).

Posing

It’s usually best to try and stay relaxed. Try taking a deep breath right before we start shooting. It will help release some of your worry and relax your posture. We usually suggest your feet be about shoulder width apart and stand tall — without being a statue (no slouching allowed!). It’s usually best to clasp your hands in front of your body than to leave them dangling by your sides. Try to move your face closer to the camera — without moving your neck/body — and lifting from your chin a bit to reduce potential “double chin” issues. It’s also a good idea to “smize” a term coined by fashion model Tyra Banks (who loves watching America’s Next Top Model — this girl!). It means to smile with your eyes. We don’t want you to look vacant in your photos, we want the viewer to engage with you and see the fire behind your eyes.

Smize with your Eyes

Let’s Talk

Typically, when I take photos I try to engage in some small talk with you to help relax the situation and get some real expressions from you. It’s always best when we can have a conversation to keep from those awkward silences (crickets anyone?). Tell me a joke, or something funny that happened recently; it helps to break the ice. I was just learning from a client I took photos of the other day that she loves zip-lining, something I would never have expected after meeting her. Learning about you helps me get a better feel for your personality and lightens the mood. Coming in uber-serious and un-communicative tends to come across in your photos. Hey, if it helps pretend you are a movie star, pretending you are someone you aren’t can totally help you relax and give you a confidence boost.

Relax, We’ve Got This

We’re going to take a whole series of pictures so that once we wrap up the shoot, we can send you over a contact sheet with some options. You get to pick one, and we’ll retouch it for you. That horrible pimple that showed up last night while thinking about how awful getting your professional portrait taken the next day? Gone. We’ll do our best to help you look your best—while still looking natural and not like a plastic Barbie doll. The moral of the story here is to come in relaxed and positive. The happier you are, the better your photo will come out.

P.S. If you’re looking for more information on what to wear (or not to), give us a ring or email your account rep. We’ll send our informational sheet right over.

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