How To Get A Good Headshot

How To Get A Good Headshot

There are plenty of articles on the internet about how to get a good headshot. These articles address how to choose your photographer, what to wear, what to do with you hair. The one thing they don’t address that can make a big difference to how you look is, how you should try and feel when you are going to have your portrait taken.

Clarinettist Robert Plane

For the majority of people having a headshot is something that creates a feeling of – I need to have this done, I don’t really want to have it done, let’s get it over quickly.

When you are having a portrait shoot remember the reason that you are actually in front of the camera. For the majority of people it is to provide an image to accompany social media, the about section of a website and to use in industry publications.

Your headshot is often the first impression that people will have of you. This will not just give viewers an idea of how you look but it is human nature to also assign personality traits to the person that they see in the image. Just take a few minutes to look through a few About pages on peoples websites and think about the judgements that you are making based on those images. Then look at your own profile image and think about what message it gives about you.

You may look at your headshot and think that it’s a good clean headshot, professionally taken, so that’s fine. Does your image say anything about you though? Does your image provide the viewer with the message that you are confident, enthusiastic, approachable, someone that they would feel comfortable in dealing with? This is the message that you should be conveying. It’s no longer a case of just having a professional portrait as a means of identification, your image is also providing a message about you and your company. Your image should fit with your branding message and create confidence in you and your company.

If you go into a portrait shoot feeling that it is an inconvenience or that you hate photographs of yourself and you really don’t want to be there, you will find that you have to work harder to create an image that you like. If you are feeling negative and there are time constraints and the photographer has only 5 -10 minutes to work with you you will find that getting a great image doesn’t come easily. Following on from that, you will then approach the next shoot with the same negativity as a result of the previous one not going as well as you would have liked.

Inguna Morozova photographed on the roof of Chethams School of Music

Often with a portrait shoot we will find that someone will come into the shoot and the first thing they will say is that they don’t like having their photograph being taken. If you think of your body language when you come across something that you don’t like, it doesn’t cover any of the previous personality traits that have mentioned above, it’s very unlikely that it will convey a sense of being confident and approachable. Aim to go into your shoot feeling confident and enthusiastic, if you’re not feeling it straight away, fake it. If you are not sure of the difference that it will make to your shoot, stand in front of a mirror and think of all the negative feelings that you associate with being photographed and then flip an internal switch and think of yourself as being self-assured, positive and enthusiastic. What you will find is that your energy levels will go up and you will notice a huge difference in your posture and expression. For those people who arrive at a shoot with those feelings, photographers can shoot great portraits with them in minutes.

This article was first published by Sara Porter on Linked In.

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