If you are a professional, you have most likely been faced with the challenge of finding a good headshot to use for LinkedIn, your website, or social media. As nice as that picture of you on vacation may be though, there comes a time for all of us when we find ourselves in need of professional shots. The process of finding a photography can seem daunting, and sparks images of an awkward process including strange poses in front of a backdrop, blinding flashes, and lots of gear. Do you remember your high school yearbook photos? Personally, the only thing I dislike more than mine are the memories of the shoot itself! The artificial light made me look heavier than I was, and the retouch work turned me into more of a caricature rather than a human with my own personality.
It is important to partner with a photographer you feel comfortable and can have fun with! In my opinion a professional headshot should display who you really are. You should love it and be proud of it because it is a reflection of you. The way you look at this picture will be the way people perceive you when they see it, and as such, you should look as good or better than in your day-to-day life.
We all know the importance of being perceived as likable in every profession, whether you are an actor or working in an office. It is very hard to present your best self in a professional headshot when the backdrop is mostly white or grey and you are sweating under tons of artificial light. So what is the best way to take a headshot, and leave an impression on every person who sees it?
My answer is to drop the stuffy backdrop and artificial light, and instead venture outside! Find a nice pastel colored or a white wall, interesting stairs, or cacti (we are in Arizona after all!) and take it there under beautiful natural light. We are so fortunate to live in a state where almost all 12 months are sunny and gorgeous outside. I know what you’re thinking and yes, there are other options for those hot summer months. You can use an office interior and pose alongside light colored furniture. Ideally there will be large windows that provide plenty of natural light nearby. Be mindful that if the interior is too artistic and bold that it will take the attention away from you.
The last consideration, but still VERY important, is what to wear? It may seem a bit counter intuitive, but you first need to make sure that you feel comfortable in whatever you are wearing! If you are comfortable, you will look relaxed and happy. Avoid vibrant colors or extreme patterns and stick to clean natural looking colors and structural outfits.
Here are two different headshots of my husband. One was taken outside and one was taken inside. Guess which one he likes more?