Taking the best professional headshots in 2022
In 2022 it is common to never meet a business associate in person – with people closing billions of dollars in deals over zoom everyday it’s become clear that in person business meetings and travel are not coming back any time soon. With that, often our first impressions of people we work with are digital, a quick Google of someones name, or checking them out on LinkedIn to see what they look like and how their credentials look. LinkedIn profile photos have become the first impression ion many instances.
In this guide we will go over exactly what is needed and how to take professional headshots, whether it’s for a new job(or to help with the job hunt), to put in your next pitch book or it’s just time to update your 15 year old photo, these tips will help you get what you the new photo that you need.
1. Research How You Would Like Your Headshot To Look
Before beginning the process of updating your look, it is a great idea to take a look at what your colleagues, clients and competition does for their headshots on their websites and social media profiles. A few things to keep an eye on are the the way the people in the images look(expressions, dress) and the different backgrounds that you’ll see. In our experience, ~ 80% of our clients have a very standard grey or white background, while the other 20% goes in a more ‘environmental’ directions – regardless of if the shoot is done in their office or a studio – thank you Photoshop magic!
Depending on the look you would like to portray, lighting can be adjusted and customized for you, though again, ~90% of our corporate clients like nice soft lighting and want to show their confidence and approachability.
2. Find A Photographer To Work With
I’ll be the first to admit that Headshot photographers are a dime a dozen in most major cities. Reach out to a couple of photographers after taking a look at their website and have a conversation letting them know what you need and what you hope the final result will look like.
A normal headshot session should take no longer than 15-30 minutes, and you should expect to review your images immediately after the shoot – if you would like to change anything, now is the time to do that! It’s much easier to make small changes while you are in the studio than it is to book a reshoot.
While you may get lucky and find someone who is running themselves into the ground doing headshots for $100 a pop, more than likely your investment will be in the $3-500 range, checkout this article about how much do headshots cost for a little more insight.
If you decide to do a headshot yourself on your iPhone, avoid doing it in selfie mode and have someone else take the photo for you, this will help avoid a distorted image and perspective.
3. Dress For The Job You Want
How you dress for your headshot will depend on factors that you need to decide. Remember back in step 1 when you looked around at other peoples headshots, how were they dressed? If you are a corporate attorney, you will probably be dressed a bit more formally than someone who is founding a startup.
How you dress will reflect on the way that you look. My biggest rule of thumb on this topic is to dress as if you are going to the most important meeting of your career. This doesn’t always mean dress how you would for work. For Doctors, Nurses and ERAS headshots, we fully recommend that you dress for the interview, not the job.
For some people this might not be much different than their day to day look, for other people this might mean buying some new clothes. The value of this interaction is equally important, just different looks for different career paths.
For more advice, check out this article focusing on what to wear for headshots.
4. It's Shoot Day!
After having found your photographer and expressing your desired out comes, it’s time to head to the studio for the shoot!
Headshot photographers photograph thousands of people each year, follow their lead when it comes to posing.
You are just a normal person, a little anxiety in front of the camera is normal.
Regardless of the expression you think you want, make sure you try a variety of them! This means that even if you have the most serious job in the world, it’s okay to smile once in a while.e In the end, you can scrap all of the ones you don’t like.
A big reason I walk people though the shoot while talking about life, their weekends and asking questions about their work is to help loosen them up.
I find that often times the best shots for someone who wants to look ‘serious’ are taken just before or after the shots of them smiling, and the best shots of people smiling are usually when they are talking about their kids, doing, or wine…(let’s be honest, it’s mostly the wine.)
Once the shoot is over, review your shots with the photographer while you are still in the studio! First look at the big things – does your hair look okay? Any noticeable things that you can easily fix on yourself rather than relying on photoshop? If you need to fix either of those things, let the photographer know, but before you fix them still go through and review your images, this way you will know what you are aiming for in the next round of photos.
Let the photographer help guide you during the selection process. They help guide thousands of people into choosing the best headshots, they can nitpick little details, whether it’s a pinch more of a connection in the eyes, or just a tiny movement in the corner of your lips, the big details are important but these little details are what sets one shot apart from the next!
5. Headshot Post Production, Editing and Cropping
Once you have your final headshot selected it is time to discuss editing. Keep in mind this is a professional portrait, not a glamour shot, so temper your expectations on how much photoshop magic should be done.
Basic retouching on a headshot usually means getting rid of flyaway hairs(sometimes even fixing the volume of your hair too), a light touchup under the eyes(I refer to this as a good night of sleep), tampering down crows feet if needed, fixing any slight blemishes on your face/neck and then maybe a slight lighten of any wrinkles in your clothes and tightening a knot of the tie a bit more.
As far as image cropping and sizing goes, we wrote an entire guide on how to resize images for LinkedIn, Instagram and other various uses.
If you are having this done for your firm/company, you might want to see if they have specific sizing specs that the imagers should be delivered in. Typically a photographer will send over two files, one that is full and uncrossed and a second one cropped as a tighter headshot with a 5×7 aspect ratio. If you have any specific requests they should be able to take care of that without an issue.