Headshot Tips from Photographer
So you need professional pictures for your business? I’ve compiled the top 7 conversations I have with my clients before we even have our photoshoot to ensure they have the perfect headshots that capture their brand and personality:
1. What do you do for a living?
This is the very first thing I ask. I am not going to approach a lawyer’s headshots and a decorator’s headshots the same. When in business you must attract what we like to call “your ideal client”. The way you portray yourself and your brand (they are one in the same) will attract the clients who will want to work with you. Adrienne (above) works in real estate so she wanted to look professional but have a modern vibe that shows her bubbly personality.
2. How do you want to be portrayed?
This is VERY important. I talk with my clients about everything from their outfit choices (including colors, patterns, and accessories) to where they want to be photographed. I had the pleasure of recently photographing a decorator who works here in San Antonio. She wanted her images to be fun and fashionable. She wanted her clients to connect with her on a more personal level so we did two sessions, one in my studio and one in her home. She also wanted elements of her work in her images, her photos were more action shots of laughing, smiling, and her outfits and home highlighted her personal style. Adrienne (shown below) wanted to show she was a young, modern woman who will get the job done and is fun to work with.
3. Where do you want to be photographed?
Whether I’m talking with a blogger, website designer, photographer, or real estate agent, I will often suggest going on location somewhere for action shots so people can see them in their element. I have a photography studio located in downtown San Antonio off Broadway, and will offer to set up a mock working space for them that I help them style. I have backdrops we can use for a clean look, or we can photograph you against one of my bright brick walls for a cool, urban look. If you have a professional business space that is neat and speaks to your brand I can also travel there to photograph you in your element. This connects with people on a personal level because it shows some behind the scenes of how and where you work; I categorize this type of shoot as a “lifestyle photoshoot”.
4. What should I wear for professional headshots?
I will share a separate blog post about this because it is one of the first questions I get asked and is one of the biggest stressors for my clients. This is going to be different for every business and person; there are many factors including what your personal style is and how you want to be portrayed.
I’ll give a couple specific examples: If you have a suit on, a power watch (for men AND women) with a warm smile and bright, natural lighting, you are portraying yourself as a professional who is going to get the job done and is also easy to work with and personable. Your choice of color and outfit will also speak to this and I make a Pinterest board specifically for every client with outfit and accessory ideas (based on what they do) so they choose their outfits easier. After seeing their Pinterest board inspiration, my clients will even purchase their outfits. I even offer a design consultation in my studio where the client can bring all their outfits and we can style them together. If you normally wear glasses and they are stylish and a part of your brand I will often have my clients wear them for half of the session. I will also photograph them without them because I always like giving my clients different options to choose from. It’s important for potential clients to see your eyes, as they are the windows to your soul (as they say); you can tell a lot about a person by their eyes. Sometimes I will even photograph my clients out of focus from the shoulders down so the focus is on their eyes (like Adrienne’s first picture above).
5. How should I do my hair and makeup?
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to worry about your hair or makeup? I offer professional hair and makeup to all my clients so they can focus on getting their outfits together and being relaxed for our session. I also have this in place because professional hair and makeup looks better on camera, especially makeup. How we do our makeup every day will look different on camera and the tint of foundation could even photograph differently depending on the lighting we use and not match your skin tone. I always trust the amazing ladies at Jax Studio in San Antonio for this, they’re always on point! I set up your appointment so all you do is show up and let them work their magic!
6. I don’t like being photographed, what do I do when I get to our session?
Guess what?? You don’t need to know anything about posing to have a good photo of yourself – yay! I can talk you through every pose you will have and draw out each expression so they look natural, there’s nothing to stress about. This is great news when people hear this because the most common thing I hear as a photographer is, “I’m not photogenic” the second being, “I don’t like pictures of myself, I never know what to do”. First off, there’s no such thing as “being photogenic”, it’s not a thing. You don’t have to be a model to look good in your photos. I am trained in lighting and posing, and can bring out your personality through my direction and with my lens. All you have to do is come with your fabulous self, be relaxed and we’ll have some fun!
7. I want professional photos done but since I’ve gained some weight should I wait 6 months to try and lose it?
If there’s one thing I hear a lot, it’s, “I’ve gained weight, I want to postpone my photoshoot until after I lose it.” You’re not alone… I have NEVER worked with somebody who’s like, “yeah, my body is perfect, let’s do this!” It’s important to be comfortable in your own skin, my job is to take the most beautiful picture you’ve ever seen of yourself. Various poses, lighting, and expression will either flatter or not. A lot of ladies are worried about that 10-20 pounds they may have gained and even try to postpone their headshots for the foreseeable future because of it. I can even take 20 pounds off someone with lighting and posing alone, doesn’t that sound good? I also use the power of my lens with posing to bring out certain features, my favorite being the eyes. I did this with Adrienne’s first photo above so you can see her power color (royal blue) but the pose, lighting, and focus on the smiling eyes.
It’s important to have these conversations with your photographer about your headshots, it will put you at ease, you both will be better prepared for your photoshoot, and you will have amazing pictures for your website and social media pages to attract more clients!
To find out more and ask me any questions you have let’s connect!
Melissa is a San Antonio based Personal Brand photographer who has helped hundreds of women in business create cohesive online brands with polished photos that feel authentic to them. You’ll find her traveling to Austin, Houston, Nashville, Destin, Tampa, and Denver, photographing highly motivated women ready to elevate their website, socials, and other marketing. Visit https://melissaraelynnphotography.com/contact or send a direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!