Monthly Archives: April 2009

Guys in ties (or not)

For a lot of photographers shooting PR headshot photos is often referred to as shooting “Guys in ties”. Its all just part of the business uniform.

So what should you wear for a business portrait?

Generally speaking try to avoid complex patterns and stick with (mostly) solid colors. Pinstripes are ok, but houndstooth will look “busy”. Horizontal lines should be avoided. Try not to be too trendy as your headshot will probably be used for a few years. Think about timeless or classic looks.

What to wear – Men

For men, a dark suit jacket (black, grey or navy), white or light colored shirt and a basic tie is standard. For ties, crazy patterns or colors can be distracting so a simple pattern or bright color is best. Tie color can also help accent your eyes. A blue/green tie will bring out the blue/green in your eyes.

For a more casual look, some clients opt for a shirt and tie without a jacket. In these cases, I tell my clients to avoid a plain white shirt or a white shirt with stripes. Your eyes naturally go to the brightest part of a picture so a white shirt draws attention away from the face. In this case a blue or pastel colored shirt often works great.

A jacket over a crew neck shirt or a simple golf shirt can also work depending on the client’s type of business.

What to wear – Women

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Women have lots of options, but a classic business suit or simple blouse with a skirt or pants will get the job done nicely. Try not to choose something that’s obviously a summer/winter outfit or anything that’s too trendy.

The key thing to look at for a woman’s outfit is the neckline. A “V” neckline will have a slimming effect (elongating the face). On the other hand a scoop neck or crew neck blouse will typically make a face look wider. Avoid turtlenecks at all costs (they crowd the face and can make your face look chubby).

Look your best

The most important advice I can offer is to wear something that makes you look good and something you feel comfortable wearing. Feeling good about your clothing will help you look confident and professional in your pictures.

If you can’t decide what looks best, bring a couple of outfits to the shoot. Your photographer will usually be able to tell you which outfit will work best for the shoot.

Why your avatar matters

Simple fact – Your avatar is the first impression you make with any of your online profiles.

Dan Benjamin at Hivelogic zeroes in on how a great avatar can help you can stand out, especially on sites like Twitter:

“A great avatar will help people remember you instantly. And you should use it everywhere, across the board. Use it on your blog if you have one (you should). Use it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, everywhere. Even if people don’t automatically remember your name or your website, they’ll remember your avatar and make an association. When they see it again later, on another network or site, they’ll be more likely to pay attention, to friend you, and maybe remove a few of those degrees of separation.”

Read more of Dan’s article.

A great avatar is a solid foundation for your personal brand.

The art of the headshot

Kimberly Brooks on thehuffingtonpost.com comments that different jobs often require different kinds of headshots:

  • Real estate agents and Bloggers: smiling, smart, confident
  • Activists and serious writers: not smiling
  • Artists: intense
  • Scientists: occasionally wacky

Read more of Kimberly’s article…

I think Kimberly gets it right. A great headshot should portray the subject appropriately for a given audience.

Here are a couple examples from a shoot last week. This is Ed, and we shot two different looks – one for business and another more causal look for social media.

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