Tag Archives: Headshots

Questions to ask your headshot photographer

When searching for a headshot photographer, it’s important to chat with a prospective photographer and get specifics about the service they provide – how long a session lasts, what to wear, etc. This “interview” can be a simple phone call or email.

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But what are the important questions to ask?

Check out the Actingbiz.com website for this great set of tips for actors: 11 sets of Questions to ask your Headshot Photographer BEFORE the Shoot!

I would add these questions as well:

“How long have you been in business?”
“What styles of clothing should I bring?”

Also, be sure to ask questions at the shoot if you have any confusion about packages or any part of the photoshoot process.

Answers to all these questions will help you find the right photographer and prepare for your headshot session.

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.

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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