Building, owning, and maintaining your personal brand is an essential component of long-term success. While many of us hate being in front of a camera, a headshot is front and center in your branding message. It’s essential to make sure that your ‘first look’ creates the best possible first impression. Below are some tips and tricks for getting a great headshot.
We’ve all done it. We’ve somehow had the stars align for a fantastic selfie, or maybe a friend has managed to snap a great candid shot that you love. However, for a headshot, pro is the only way to go. Just like you are a professional and an expert in what you do, some photographers specialize in headshots. Professional photographers have the right equipment and know just how to get the image you want. They will work with you to set a tone, coach you on how to pose, guide you in your wardrobe choices and setting, and even edit the final images for you.
You’ll want to do some research in your area to find the right photographer. Make sure you read reviews, look at their portfolio, and ask if they have previous clients you can speak with about their experience. In the same way, you want your clients to feel comfortable working with you, and you need to be comfortable and confident in your photographer.
You’ll also want to consider hiring hair and makeup experts. Hair and makeup for being in front of the camera differ from what most people choose daily. Having pros on-hand can help relieve the pressure, so you are relaxed instead of frazzled as you step in front of the camera. These pros will make sure your look works and can save you money in the long run by keeping the photographer from having to spend a lot of time doing touch-ups to the images.
Just because this is a professional headshot doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to a studio shot in front of a gray backdrop. Headshots have gotten more creative and personal. They can, and should, reflect your style and personality. You may want to have a more traditional shot available, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. Depending on your market, you might want to consider an outdoor location or perhaps a more casual wardrobe. You will ultimately get the best product if you are comfortable with the setting and tone. Don’t forget to allow your personality to shine.
Variety is the spice of life, right? That’s true with headshots, too. Getting a great shot takes time. Your photographer will likely schedule a couple of hours with you and will take dozens of images. Typically, the first images they take are primarily to get you comfortable and relaxed with the process. Then, you’ll want to try different backgrounds and locations, poses, wardrobe, and hairstyles, and if you wear glasses, you may be asked to try shots with them both on and off. It’s best to take photos with as much variety as possible because you never know which image will ultimately be the best.
As you keep an eye on your personal brand, you’ll need to bear in mind that the fantastic headshot you just took probably isn’t your last. When you do your brand audit each year, you’ll need to bring an honest eye to your headshot. If it’s been a couple of years, or if you’ve made a change to your style or look, it may be time for a new headshot, as well. It can be a good idea to ask a friend to take a look and help evaluate whether or not your headshot is still showing you to your best advantage.