Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Headshots - what you need to know

We often live in a virtual world with real-life implications.  Potential employers are following your LinkedIn account, family members and clergy are friends on Facebook, and strangers who could become potential clients are following you on Twitter.  What is the common denominator?  Your first impression.  A professionally shot head shot, even an informal one, sets a standard of professionalism and possible future opportunities.

So what do you need to know?

1.  Find a photographer who suits your style.  Some photographers favor a fresh, natural light look, while others shoot in a studio with professional lighting.  Are you going on a dance audition or sending your Linkedin profile to a potential employer?  Go their website and see what their photos look like.  Chances are, they'll most appreciate a headshot that is similar to their published style.

2.  Dress the part.  I often suggest solid colors with varying textures.  It creates depth and interest without distracting viewers from the real reason for the photo - to see your face, and gather a first impression about who you are.

3.  Don't overdo the makeup.  If you are using a studio photographer, definitely listen to their suggestion that you need to put on enough makeup to go "on stage," or to add an extra dimension of color to cheeks and lips.  As a predominately natural light photographer, I ask clients to do their makeup like they would for an audition or interview - usually done with blush, mascara, and lip balm or natural lipstick.

4.  Have the same general look in your photo as you do in person.  This means, if you change your hair color or gain/lose weight, take new photos.  These aren't permanent changes, but again, you want to be recognizable in your best light.

5.  Size it right - 8 x 10, 8 x 10, 8 x 10!  Make sure to ask your photographer to size your photograph to your needs, often an 8 x 10 for printing.  If they leave photographs in original dimensions, you run the risk of cropping your head off while printing.  Social media use square icons, which are easy to crop to specifications if needed.

If you have any questions, email me at


  1. Super helpful post! I always get confused about what to wear and this was really helpful!

    1. Thank you for your feedback! Your site is lovely!