I’m changing gears a little today to talk about headshots. While my focus is on family photography, I really enjoy getting adults in front of the camera and focusing on getting that perfect LinkedIn pic or headshots of employees for the company website. I love doing content creation sessions, too, so you have all the photos you need for social media posts. Here are some tips to help prepare you for your headshot session.
#1 – Decide who your audience is. Where are you posting these pictures? Who will be seeing them? What message are you trying to send to the viewer? Do you want to look ultra professional, really casual, or somewhere in between? Are you aiming to be inviting and casual with your clients?
#2 – Pick your look – or better yet, pick multiple looks! Once you know who your audience is, it’s easier to figure out how to dress. You can never go wrong with dressing as if you’re going to an interview for the job you currently have. If you’re a corporate professional and shirt and tie is required every day at the office, take it up a notch and add a sport coat. If you’re a realtor, dress like you would to meet with a new client. If you’re an influencer, wear the styles of the clients you want to work with. Think about what you want your client to FEEL when they’re looking at your picture, and how what you’re wearing can evoke that emotion. Some individuals choose to bring multiple looks to their session. That gives you options to choose from as well as multiple images to use across your platforms, too. Here are some go-to combinations: a suit and tie, suit jacket no tie, button up shirt (sleeves rolled if you’re looking to go more casual), t-shirt and jeans if you’re wanting really casual, jeans with a blouse or button up and a blazer or sport coat, skirt and blouse combination. Layers are always great. Hats are ok if they sit up high enough to leave your eyes out of any shadows.
#3 – Be cohesive. Are you shooting with other members of your company? Make sure you’re all on the same page. This does NOT mean that you need to match like you’re taking family pictures. But it is a good idea to match styles so you don’t end up with one person in a suit and tie and another in jeans and a hat. If you’re planning on featuring the headshots on a page together, it looks great when there’s a cohesiveness to all the pictures. Picking a color palette of three to five different colors can really help with this. Having similar backdrops adds to this too, so shooting in the same location makes a big difference.
#4 – Trust your photographer! I think most people hear the word “headshot” and immediately think that they have to transform themselves into an actual model over night. NO NEED TO WORRY! Your photographer will guide you through the entire session. While I do think it’s a great idea to practice your smile in the mirror and choose which side you prefer yourself in photos, you do not need to come to the session with 20 camera ready poses. I’ll work with you at your comfort level and make sure we have images you’re pleased with. I will say, the biggest difference maker between OK headshots and headshots that you feel confident in is your ability to relax and be real during your sitting. Real smiles will ALWAYS look better than forced ones. I’ll help you as much as I can to feel comfortable, but it’s your job to feel confident! A little squint in the eyes, great posture, and genuine happiness goes a long way. Come to your session with a fun memory in mind that you can think of while you’re in front of the camera. Picturing something that makes you happy really helps to bring out true emotion in your pictures. Headshots don’t need to be dull!
#5 – Be adventurous. Depending on where we’re shooting, we may have the opportunity for variety. If we’re shooting in a studio, be prepared to do some shots sitting, some standing, and utilizing various backgrounds. The last thing I want is for you to have just one style of picture to choose from (unless that’s what your company is going for). If we’re on location in the office building, we’ll use your office, meeting rooms, and lobbies. We tend to go where the best light is, so keep that in mind if you’re the one tasked with choosing the location. If we’re shooting outdoors or on location somewhere else, this will really allow us to get creative. When you’re open to allowing your photographer to be creative, you’ll really get a great variety of shots to choose from.
#6 – Last tip – Ladies, this is for you. Hair and makeup. I think your normal amount of makeup is great for headshots. You want to look like yourself! If you usually wear a bold lip color, go for it in your pictures! If you typically don’t wear makeup but are open to it, pictures is a great time to add a little bronzer, mascara, and some lip gloss. Think about how you want your hair, too. I would say that you can’t go wrong wearing your hair down. I’ll make sure to tame any flyaways and frame your hair around your face before each shot. If you’re changing outfits during your session, you can change your hair up, too! It’s great to get that variety.
Here’s a little story to share about the impact of a thought out headshot. After Josh unexpectedly lost his job a couple months ago, he wanted to be very purposeful in the image he portrayed on his LinkedIn profile. He knew that most employers would be checking his profile on there as well as on social media. We talked about going out and doing headshots in dressier clothes since he was applying to management level positions. When he first lost his job though, we had talked about what he really was looking for in a new position. He wanted to work in a start-up where he could be involved in growing something from the ground up. He wanted a more relaxed work environment and autonomy to do his job in the best way he knew how, and he also wanted to be a part of a good team that shared information and set clear goals and expectations. Ultimately, we decided that a candid picture I had taken of him working on his 4Runner in our garage portrayed the “vibes” for the kind of position he was looking for over one with a dressed up outfit. I am not kidding when I say he ended up taking a position at a start-up with all of the things he was looking for in a company. I’ll be working with Josh’s new company, Versured, for their team headshots later this week. Josh said his boss wants pictures with a similar vibe for each of the team members, so I’d say we ultimately chose the right picture! While I know Josh was hired based on his qualifications and interviews, I also know that having a headshot that fit the type of company culture he was looking to be a part of was a good addition to what he was putting out to prospective employers.
Chantz, with Brower Brother’s Nissan, called me up for a content session at his dealership. This was the perfect time to get some more lifestyle type headshots of his employees and him. We were also able to take pictures of the dealership as well. These kinds of sessions are great for those who want to be more personal on their websites and in their social media accounts. We can create a lot of content with just one session, and it’s much more personal than stock photography.
I love working with my fellow small business mamas, too. Ashley, at SheShe Designs, also did a content session with me. We photographed her products, designed some flat lays, did lifestyle pictures of her creating with her products, and did a few headshots too. I love that Ashley still posts a lot of these images, and this shoot was done a couple years ago. Your content can be used over and over again!
Chris and Stefanie were a blast to work with for their company, R Macros World. While web design is not my specialty, I had the best time working with them to build and design their website. Part of that was doing multiple photoshoots with them so we could have the content we needed to create a cohesive brand across the site.
Let me know if you have any questions about creating the perfect session and content for your business! I love these types of sessions and helping businesses create meaningful and real content that helps their businesses grow.