Tips For Doctors Headshots
Do you need to have a new headshot done? Hi, I’m Pat Nugent, a professional photographer in NYC who’s been doing all sorts of headshots for over 10 years. I’ve taken headshots for hundreds of doctors, business executives, real estate agents and people in just about every industry. For a lot of companies, we do headshots for everyone, including portraits for their CEO’s. I know how difficult it can be to get the perfect headshot for a doctor, to show your personality but also that you have compassion and will be the person we want to see at our bedside. I built this guide or crucial tips to help you make the most of your headshot session. These tips are not the end all be all, but will definitely help you get on the right path to prepare for your headshot and help keep you looking like a true professional.
If your the hospital or practice you work with keeps everyones headshots on their website, you will see the why there is a benefit to consistency, not only is it visually pleasing to see, it also shows the attention to that little bit of extra detail. This is also likely one of the first impressions that people may have of you as anytime your name is googled, the first image that comes up is your professional headshot. This is where we come in, we specialize in helping people to look their best, when their photo shots up online, they have a leg up as they look like a true professional.
1. Choose a great headshot photographer
We have been handling doctors headshots in NYC for over 25 years, our main focus is making people look their best for their headshot. This should not be a painful process for anyone involved and our experience will help to keep you at ease and walk you through the session with great results. The difference between a photographer who specializes in headshots compared to a wedding photographer or general commercial photographer is that headshot photographers have learned to make conversation, keep things light and work efficiently. When you enter our studio, you are our guest and the star of the show, there are no photographer egos here, we are here to provide you with an excellent headshot and have you back to your office in time for your next appointment.
2. Keep the background clean and simple
Our go to recommendation for doctors is to stick with a nice clean white background. It keeps the full focus of the image on you rather than someone stopping to think about why you have a bright aqua wall behind you. Shooting in the studio is always our preferred way to do things, we have a permanent set built and ready to go. We do always have the option to bring our portable studio to you though, we understand that people have tight schedules and sometimes that is just the most efficient way to do things. If your whole team is being photographed in one day this also allows for them to schedule a bit more tighter, have more flexibility and stay comfortably in their own environment.
3. Have consistent headshots for a medical practice
While getting a headshot done, it’s always a good idea to think about the rest of your practice and colleagues as well. We find that consistency across an entire teams photos tends to be a force multiplier. When a patient in need is flipping through your website or profile and they see you and your colleagues have a very consistent look it will lend a touch more credibility. Having a clean team page with consistent photos shows the attention of detail that people like to see. There is nothing more off putting while researching a practice group than seeing a mishmash of imagery and bios. An added bonus is that we offer discounted headshots when booked as a group.
4. Have a Medical Practice Group Photo
For a smaller practice, there is no better way of showing off your team than a great group photo. An outstanding group photo for a medical practice is a great way to welcome people to your website and can be useful in publications and advertising as people will know who they can trust! We regularly do group photos for businesses of all sizes, from small private groups of 3-8 to large firm wide group photos. We understand the difficulties of having everyone look great all at once, we often end up taking 10-20 shots and then doing a little bit of magic to make them into one killer image.
5. What should a doctor wear for a headshot?
We wrote a long detailed guide of headshot tips, if you don’t have time for that though, here are our main takeaways:
Think about the person that your patients are most likely to meet and then take it up a notch or two. I understand that there are a large number of different specialties, so plan as if you’re going to be treating a VIP patient(possibly one with deep pockets) and dress for that meeting.
Make sure to look in the mirror, now do something a little silly, practice some expressions. If this is your first time getting a professional photo done since you were in school, you probably never thought about it. If you’re married, all of the experience gathered from your wedding photos will surely help here.
Keep it clean and simple. A nice simple tie or necklace, keep it looking professional.
If you are due for a haircut or changing your style, have this done a few days in advance to let things settle a little bit.
If you like a nice clean shave, try to book your appointment earlier in the day or bring your supplies and touch up your shave in our dressing room before the shoot.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that we are mentioning how important an expression is for your headshot. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective patient. Walking into a doctors office can be a nerve racking ordeal for some people, if you have researched you or your practice at all, they likely already have an idea of who they will be working with. Showing them a group of individuals who look friendly, approachable and confident will surely help to put them as ease. I try my best to keep a conversation with my clients as we go through the headshot session and do my best to zero in on things that can help keep them relaxed but also elevate the energy or mood as needed. You don’t need to have a huge smile to show someone that you are friendly or approachable, often it can be read through the connection in the eyes.
7. Should I have retouching done on my doctors headshot?
In short – I don’t think that anyone actually needs retouching, but everyone can benefit from it. Our normal price for basic retouching on a headshot is $40. This is a starting point, but we rarely go higher unless there are a lot of specific things to address.
We like to keep people looking realistic, our basic retouching is pretty simple:
- A quick lighten up under the eyes to give you a little extra sleep
- Going around and cleaning any flyaway hairs
- Evening out the skin tone there they may be unflattering highlights or shadows
- Zapping away any temporary or unwanted blemishes
- Fixing any glare that might be in the glasses
- Lightly whitening the teeth
Retouching does not have to be decided on immediately, the photographer you work with should archive your photos that i your decide to have retouching done in the future you can reach out to them. There may be fees to access the archives depending on how long you wait though.
8. Review your images during your headshot session
From the time we went digital in the early 2000’s, we immediately began working with our cameras tether to a computer so that we could review photos in real time. This doesn’t mean we stop after every frame, but we do a few shots to dial things in, go through the session for 5-10 minutes and then sit down to look over things. Once we stop to check things out, we first look for anything obvious that might be out of place(maybe your hair fell in a weird way, or your glasses are slightly crooked) but barring and big issues like that we will filter through and mark images that have legs and are potential winners. Sometimes we find something that really nails it right then, other times we jump back in and work incrementally to try to get an extra little something. Your photographer should help guide you through this process and make it ad painless as possible.
9. Know how the photo will be used
Headshots come in all shapes, sizes, and crops. We wrote the ultimate guide to headshot size, but also have a quick conversation with your photographer before your headshot session, let them know if there is anything in particular that you are trying to match. Often headshots for private practices and hospitals tend to be pretty consistent if you need to match the rest of your team try to communicate it with your photographer when you are booking your shoot. Cropping is also on a use by use basis, we tend to send over high res portraits without a crop to allow for maximum flexibility. If a specific crop is needed we will also supply a version of the headshot that conforms to those standards.
10. Your doctors headshot is an investment
People always wonder how much does a doctors headshots cost? There is a great post on the photoblog slrlounge about the cost of headshots and how they are priced. The reality is that they don’t have to be very expensive. The price range is very wide, you can spend as little as $225 for a basic studio headshot session.
The final cost will depend on what exactly is wanted, and can easily balloon. We try to help people understand that their headshot should be seen as an investment in their personal brand. Your headshot is often the first impression that someone will have of you when they google your name. If you have a great headshot done you can use it perpetually for years to come. If you are switching jobs or careers it is even more important as a study on LinkedIn came back saying that profiles with a great photo were viewed 21 times more than those without and that a profile with a photo is 9 times more likely to make a new connection.
With the way so much of our life and interactions have become digital, a great headshot has become more important than ever before. From your practice website, professional profile to ‘visiting’ patients via FaceTime, the way we outwardly look has never been seen by so many people. A first impression is made before anyone has shaken hands(and maybe we won’t be shaking hands anymore) so it is best to control your own image and brand as much as possible. On average if you are wearing an outfit that seems timeless, a headshot can last upwards of 5 years and help you maintain a level of consistency a professionalism whether it is just for a website or if you are due to speak at a conference.