5 Tips to Creating a Great Head Shot
Having a great professional head shot is such an important part of your visual brand. A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face (Association for Pyschological Science).
What is your head shot saying about you? Take a moment to look at your current photo or photos that you’re using on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram). Check out the lighting, composition, background… as well as your posture, smile, and overall appearance.
Does your photo reflect who you are? Is it a selfie that doesn’t show off your awesomeness? Or maybe it’s a great shot, but it’s a little outdated (hello, glamour shots . Maybe you changed your hairstyle, or gained a new sense of confidence, and you just want your photo to reflect the new you.
Your profile photo should also be consistent across your channels with only minor differences. For example, you can have a more playful shot on Instagram, and a classic portrait on LinkedIn. But ideally all of your head shots will be from the same shoot, and they will all be relatively recent, so your customers aren’t confused and wondering if you’re the same person across the board for your first impression.
If any of this strikes a nerve… it might be time for an update.
So what can you do to create a better head shot and maximize your first impression? As a professional commercial photographer, I’ve put together a few tips.
1. Stand out.
Think of ways you can incorporate what you do and who you are into your professional head shots to make sure people don’t just gloss over your image.
I recently photographed Ashley Noseworthy who owns Edgewise Environmental, in which she works off-shore and trains others in survey monitoring. For her head shots, we took some classic corporate shots, but the best photos were of her in her work outfit on the coast, showcasing both her personality and her brand.
You don’t have to go this far, but it truly makes people stop and look twice if you do something a little different.
2. Feel great, look great.
No matter your gender, once you’ve scheduled in time for a new head shot, this is a great time to get pampered. Plan for a fresh cut and shave, get your make-up professionally done, your nails manicured, or a fresh blow-out – whatever little things make you feel real good. Then plan an evening out for yourself for after your shoot is over while you’re feeling your best!
3. Dress like you.
A lot of folks think they have to show up in a suit, or go by the notion ‘dress for the job you want’. In reality, you should just look like the best version of yourself. You look your best when you feel comfortable in your clothes, and that should always be priority.
If you have a great sense of personal style, show it off and wear the outfits that make you feel the most fabulous, regardless of whether it’s trendy or ‘business-wear’; it goes without saying that you should look professional and modest, but you do not have to wear a blazer to be professional.
If you’re unsure on picking an outfit, a sharp button-down shirt or wool sweater paired with dark pants or khakis is a timeless outfit choice that looks good on just about everyone.
If you work in a formal, traditional field, you can certainly rock your fanciest suit, but it never hurts to bring something more casual to change into or lose the tie for a couple of shots so that you have an option that feels more like your natural self.
4. Hire a professional and go in with a plan.
As a professional photographer, I recommend having a professional head shot taken at least once every 5 years, or sooner if you’ve changed in appearance (drastically changing your hairstyle, for example).
Head shot sessions on average take about 15-30 minutes and can be easily planned during a lunch break. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and have spent years learning how to bring out the best in people so that you look the part. We also donate a portion of the proceeds of all of the corporate photos we take to a local food bank – so you can feel good about your purchase!
Research photographers in your area, compare portfolios, contact a couple of them, and hire the one that feels like the best fit for your brand. You can expect to spend between $100-500 for a great head shot, with the price depending on how long your session is and what your goals are – if you want multiple outfit changes and locations, corporate, team, or branding photos, you can expect to pay a little more.
5. Make it an enjoyable experience.
If you have a small business or a team of people who are all interested in updating their photos, look into doing it together with a group shot at the end.
If your business also needs product shots or could use help with your social media, this is a great time to utilize the time with your photographer to create some content for your feeds. This can be a good motivator to finish that new product or piece of art so that it’s ready to be photographed when you are!
Sparkes Design, a local jewelry company here in St. John’s, planned a day in Brigus to create some images for their social media, look book, and some head shots for the owner – while I walked them through my process so they could have better social media photos for the future. This can be a great way to knock out a few projects at once and have a really fun team-building day learning new skills.
To recap: Get creative and stand out from the crowd. Do some things to feel your best. Dress like yourself, not how you think a businessperson dresses. Hire a pro, and make a day of it so that it becomes a fun experience.
Do you have any questions about corporate photos, or are you interested in booking a session? I’d love to hear from you. You can chat with me using the contact form below![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column]