5 Tips for a Great Professional Headshot


1, 2, 3 – say cheese! Whether you’re a CEO, entrepreneur or an employee– the time may come when you need a professional headshot. A headshot is not only a critical component in your bio but also your social media presence, VC presentation, media kit and more. A good headshot is a powerful communicator. It says a lot about you, your company and should instill confidence. It takes more than being able to relax in front of a lense or strike the perfect pose. It’s up to you to dress the part, look alive and put your personality into your photo!

So here are 5 tips on how to take a great headshot.

  1. Pay attention to Framing, Lighting, and Background: In general, a good headshot frames you from the shoulders up and keeps your entire upper body visible in the image. Remember, photos can always be cropped closer. Both studio and natural lighting can work as long as your face is well-lit. Avoid busy backgrounds – no beaches, whiteboards, bricks, etc. – a plain wall works best.
  2. It’s All About the Eyes: Feel the energy coming out of your eyes and don’t let them glaze over. A slight squint paired with a direct stare at the camera – and voila, we’ll see a sparkle in your eyes!
  3. Strike that Pose: Holding a strong pose is simple, but here are some key items to remember. Avoid standing straight on toward the camera by angling your shoulders a bit and tilting your head, so there’s some depth to your headshot. If you have a “best side” – share that side with the world so you feel comfortable. And don’t forget variety! Keep your arms by your side, fold them, swap angles…change up those poses.
  4. Choose Clothing that Reflects Company Culture: Whether you choose to wear a suit or a T-shirt and jeans – the goal is to choose an outfit that reflects your brand. Stick to solid, rich colors that complement your complexion, and avoid white or flesh tone colors since they can wash out in the photo. Say goodbye to stripes, floral or other complex patterns in your attire as they can be distracting. If you’re aiming for a formal look, it’s recommended that men always wear a collared dress shirt, but feel free to bring along a suit jacket for diversity in your images. For women, you might choose a nice blouse or a collared shirt, paired with a suit coat and slacks or a skirt (pair it with some modest jewelry for a nice accent).
  5. Show your Personality: It’s time for your close-up. But don’t stress. Smile and stay comfortable while you interact with the camera. If you’re feeling stiff, take some time to laugh a bit and show us who you really are.

You’re all set, so we’ll leave you with this quote: “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” – Bruno Barbey

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