Headshot Photos Reading

13 tips for great professional headshots

The headshot photo that you use of yourself on social media, in a magazine, or even your Tinder profile picture should always be carefully thought out, and well executed. The image people see of you, your headshot, will be how they initially judge you.

Using your Tinder profile picture of you looking sexy and hot, isn’t necessarily the profile picture you want on LinkedIn. All these platforms are used for different aspects of your life, and so your profile pictures should be as varied and carefully planned, as the dialogue you create for these platforms.

Make no mistake, potential employers will often review potential employees LinkedIn profiles. Potential clients might go check out your Instagram profile; and, well, your Tinder picture is a sure fire one-way-swipe.

You can see with the above images, which are SOOC (Straight out of camera), I’ve shown you some unflattering posing for headshot photos, as well as incremental improvements to get to the end photo.

Best tips for great headshots:

So what can you do to take your headshot photo from blah to ah-mazing?

Here are a few of my best tips:

  1. Be aware of your light source! Look for soft, even light, like a window.  Make sure you face the light in order to get a soft even light on your face, for perfect glowing skin for your headshot
  2. Avoid harsh sunlight. It creates heavy shadows which aren’t flattering if you don’t know how to use them, and could make you squint
  3. Angle that phone. If using a cellphone, hold it slightly above you, not below you… you don’t want to create double chins that aren’t there… and for the ones that are there, this trick will help give the illusion that they’re not there. Flattering headshots for the win!
  4. Be Aware of glasses: Be careful of glasses, and how they reflect the light
  5. Ditch the sunglasses! Sunglasses are fine for Facebook, but the amount of LinkedIn profile pictures I see where people are wearing sunglasses, horrifies me. For professional headshots you shouldn’t be wearing sunglasses.. and they hide half your face! Ditch them!
  6. Be aware of what’s behind you. Either use a plain background, or use a background that is relative to who you are. A (clean!) kitchen in the background if you’re a cook, or chef, for example. Or the beach if you’re a surfer. Obviously casual headshots for Facebook you have a lot more leeway, but even then, posting a picture of you on the beach if you actual detest the beach, seems like a silly thing to do.
  7. Do not laugh”backwards”. Instead laugh forwards, which will eliminate the dreaded double chin look
  8. Body angle: For woman, angle your body slightly away from the camera (45 degrees normally does the trick), and angle your face towards the camera. Men can face their bodies directly towards a camera. Facing straight onto the camera will give a more boxy look, which is fine for men, but unappealing for women
  9. Lean towards the camera. Leaning slightly toward the camera will perfect this look: if you’re standing, stand on the balls of your front foot, and if you’re sitting, simply drop your front shoulder slightly, and lean into it
  10. Photograph at eye level. It’s always best to photograph people, for the most flattering angle, with the camera just above eye level, tilted ever so slightly down on the subject
  11. Don’t forget about your hands! Play with your hair, or your face with your hands will generally give a more informal look, whereas folding your arms will give a more formal look. For men, I find arms crossed, or hands in pockets are the best thing to do with hands.
  12. Get creative with colour. To create headshots that stand out, depending on which media you’re using the image, why not try a pink background, or yellow, or blue, or maybe even a textured background?
  13. Clothing choices. Be aware of what you’re wearing for your body shape. Is the outfit flattering? It is casual or professional? What does it say about me for the platform I am using it on? Are the colours right for my skin tone?

And then remember, paying for a professional, they will know how to make the most of your headshot photos: how to pose you, how to use the best light (or create it using studio lights), and can manipulate the images if needbe (getting rid of that pimple you developed overnight, editing out flyaway hairs, doing a gentle skin edit, adding a colour backdrop etc). I am based in Caversham, Reading, as would love to help you and your team have great headshots for your social media platforms and website.

Below are the final edits of my two preferred images, with some quick easy adjustments to the backgrounds.

Let me know what you think in the comments? Click here to see more headshots taken by me for clients

headshots, photos, photoshoot, reading, uk headshot photographer, uk photographer
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