How to take a professional headshot: A comprehensive guide

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With the world recovering from a global pandemic, most people are continuing to conduct business online. A professional headshot goes a long way to make a great first impression. 

The evolution of technology means that you won’t have to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality headshot. Your smartphone or tablet probably has a good enough camera to take the picture.

This guide will teach you how to take a professional headshot to improve your business’ online presence. 

Why you need a professional headshot

In the past, headshots were more of a luxury than a necessity. It was used as a marketing tactic by big corporations. As the business world evolved, everyone is encouraged to take headshots. Here are few reasons why you should take professional headshots: 

Branding: The internet is a highly competitive space, and it’s essential to find ways to stand out from the millions of other brands. Creating the right brand that resonates with people is a surefire way to stand out. 

The best way to create a brand is to have a great image of the company. It would look great if a client visited your website filled with great professional headshots. For individuals, headshots are an excellent addition to your LinkedIn page or resume. It sends a great message, and it improves your personal brand. 

Appearances matter: In a modern world where you’re most likely going to be judged by appearance, it’s essential to put your best foot forward. 

People have short attention spans, and it’s important to use the few seconds that they spend on your page well. Having a professional headshot will impress clients and encourage them to interact with your content. 

Professionalism: Professional headshots make you look more credible. You’ll look reliable and trustworthy. It shows that you take yourself seriously, which means that you’ll also provide top-notch services for your clients. 

Radiates Confidence: A nice headshot will show off your personality and make you look great in front of the client. With almost everything being virtual, a headshot might be the only visual interaction you have with a client. You are advised to put your best foot forward by learning how to take a professional headshot. 

Portrays your Personality: Your personality shines through when you take a great headshot. If you decide to smile, you’ll look friendly and approachable. 

If you go for a more serious look, you’ll look professional and efficient. Either way, the headshot is an excellent way of giving potential clients a glimpse into your personality. 

How to take a professional headshot

1. Use the proper camera settings

Most smartphones have easy-to-use settings to take a professional headshot. You are encouraged to either use the HDR (High Dynamic Range) or the Pro-cam settings. 

iOS users are encouraged to use HDR because it captures photos in greater detail. The picture will be clearer with this mode compared to the ordinary camera settings. HDR also adds extra lighting to the image, so it’s effective in lower-light situations. 

The pro-cam settings will give you access to professional-level features such as the grid structures and ISO (the component that brightens pictures). 

You are advised to use the portrait mode when taking a professional headshot. The portrait mode will frame your features better and is easier to upload online. Your picture is less likely to appear distorted when you use the portrait mode. 

The correct camera settings are essential because they add a level of professionalism to your headshots. People won’t be able to tell that you used a smartphone instead of a professional camera. The correct camera settings will transform your image from a basic selfie to a professional masterpiece. 

2. Choose the right location.

Once you picked the best camera settings, you should find an excellent location for your headshots. While natural light is best, it can be challenging to control direct sunlight elements when you’re outside. 

Taking the picture outside is complex because you’ll also have to consider other aspects such as shadows. Your photo will most likely require extra editing if you take it outdoors. If you decide to use an outdoor space, you should ensure that the sun is positioned behind you. 

When shooting inside, make sure you choose a simple background. Clear the location and make sure there is no extra furniture in the way. 

As most offices are dark, you’ll probably have to find a room with a window or light source nearby. If you cannot find a room with lighting, you will need a ring light to add extra light. Ring lights are easily accessible and relatively affordable. Remember to stand in a position without shadows.

3. Dress Professionally 

As the famous saying goes, dress the way you want to be addressed. It’s important to dress formally so potential clients get the impression that you take yourself seriously. It’s also essential to be well-groomed. 

It’s advised that you stick to solid colors when taking a professional headshot. In the past, you would have been advised to stick to wearing either black, grey, or white but modern cameras are excellent with other colors too. 

If you want to show off your personality, you can wear different, bright colors. However, it is crucial to stick to a single theme so that you don’t look disorganized. It would be best to pick a color that coordinates with the rest of your webpage. 

You should avoid wearing patterns in your photos. Some patterns don’t photograph well and may look blurry in the final image. Prints are also generally busy, and they might be too distracting for a professional headshot. 

We also advise you to use poses that are flattering for your face shape and body type. While we already suggest the best posture, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You can find the pose that looks best on you. What’s more important is for you to look as professional as possible. 

4. Pick the correct poses.

Once you have all the technical aspects down, it is essential to keep in mind how you stand in the picture. Your pose determines whether potential clients will see you as dominant and confident or shy and unassuming. 

The best pose for a professional headshot is to turn your body diagonally and look directly at the camera. Turning your body diagonally is an excellent pose because you will fill up the shot. 

Filling up the picture is a great way of establishing a solid presence. By looking directly at the camera, you will appear confident and determined. This is the most common pose for headshots because it is the best one out there. 

You should be aware of your posture when you’re posing for a professional headshot. It’s best to keep your spine long and your back straight to avoid any signs of slumping. You should also push your shoulders back. Pushing your shoulders back makes you appear more relaxed rather than too stiff or tense.

5. Be Patient

Taking a professional headshot can be an arduous process. Finding the proper setup and figuring out the right pose can be difficult. Light conditions can keep changing on the day, and you’ll be required to keep adjusting your camera settings. The process can be annoying, but the best course of action is to remain patient. Your patience will be well-rewarded in the end. 

If you want to avoid re-doing the entire process, you must take as many pictures as possible. Taking many pictures means that you’ll have many photos to choose from. It also makes the editing process easier because you can try out edits on different images before committing to the final one. 

We advise you to change into different outfits when taking professional headshots. Trying out different looks will give you many headshots to choose from. You’ll be guaranteed that you picked out the best option once it’s time to upload it to your webpage. 

If the other headshots are also great, it means that you can switch up the picture regularly. It is essential to remain patient when you are taking photos. 

Final Word

Professional headshots can transform your business profile from ordinary to sleek and professional. Professional photographers may be too costly, and we have the right solution for you. 

You will not go wrong with the steps that we have given you. If you follow the tips in this guide carefully, you can use your phone to take a professional headshot. If the process gets too overwhelming, you can always reach out to a friend for help. 

We hope that this guide taught you how to take a professional headshot. If you’re looking for more information on similar topics, feel free to explore our page for other articles.