Four Steps to Achieving the Perfect Professional Headshot

July 17th, 2018

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In the age of twitter feeds and insta-stories, your web presence is often the first impression you’ll make, on both a personal and professional level. This makes your photographs an incredibly powerful tool when building your brand. While you’ll want to take your target audience, industry, and personality into consideration when crafting your image, the core purpose of the headshot is to authentically communicate your brand. They say an image is worth a thousand words. And if that’s the case, approaching your professional photograph can feel like a lot of pressure. That’s why we’ve come up with four simple steps to achieving the perfect headshot. Because when it comes to marketing yourself, you always want to put your best face forward.
  1. Photo Quality
One of the first, and most obvious signs of a good professional headshot, is the quality of the image itself. Now, for those of us who aren’t tech-savvy, talking pixels and resolution can be a bit confusing. The main point to take into consideration, is that you want an HD photograph that won’t appear blurry on either a cell phone or widescreen computer.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least 72 pixels per inch. While you’re certainly guaranteed a high quality portrait if you visit a professional photographer, not every new entrepreneur has the budget for that initial investment. Luckily, camera phones are becoming better with every new update. If you can get your hands on the newest iPhone, have a friend take a picture while in “portrait” mode, or using the VSCO app. Both of these options will help increase your photo quality and clarity on any screen.
  1. Lighting
When it comes to taking a headshot or using a photographer, pay attention to the use of light, as it sets the overall tone of the shot. Steer clear of images with harsh or unflattering shadows. Instead, you’ll want to opt for a softer, natural light if possible. Once again, a professional will know how to enhance your photo with the perfect glow. However, if you’re taking your own company pictures, have the subject face a window on an overcast day. This will create a subtle use of natural light that creates a flattering and approachable aesthetic.
  1. Background
This is an area where you get to be creative! When deciding on the background of your photograph, consider both your industry and personal brand. Do you work in New York Real Estate? Then framing your headshot against an out-of-focus Manhattan skyline can be a perfect opportunity to reach your target market. If  taking company headshots for your innovative startup, don’t be afraid to include your fun office environment in the background. And if you’re simply trying to give a clean impression, stick to a simple off-white or dark-grey background. These colors will flatter your image without creating too harsh of a contrast.
  1. Personal Appearance
This is all about you! Let your personality shine through, while also considering your audience. When it comes to grooming and clothing choices, keep it classic. The goal is to look like the best version of your everyday self ~ so there’s no need to break the bank on ultra-glam hair and makeup. An ideal corporate headshot communicates that you’re both professional and approachable. So once you’ve nailed down your look, think about expression and body language. An upright posture communicates confidence, while an open, relaxed smile shows that you’re approachable. Once you’ve accounted for these four factors, have fun! Put on some music during your shoot to combat any camera anxieties. Stand up, sit down, and play around with various postures. Give the photographer plenty of options in the moment, so that you can figure out which ones work best for you after your photoshoot.