The importance of the headshot
You’re doing your own thing! You’ve found your niche, analysed your competitors, pin-pointed your target audience, developed your brand, set up your website. It all looks amazing! One of the few things you may not have done, is shown who you are.
Very few people like having their photo taken. Actually, models and actors aside, I’ve only met one person that was OK with it – and she’s an amateur actor. Apart from the awkwardness of looking down a lens (why is that so hard to do?), having your photo taken for your business has the added pressure of you basically standing in your shop window.
It can feel a rather intense and exposing experience, particularly as you want to welcome people into your virtual ‘shop’ (website). You need to assert a presence and convey that you are your business. Your personality shapes what you produce, your brand, your look and feel. You can often be the reason why someone buys what you sell. The headshot needs to do you justice. You’ve also invested a lot of time and effort into your business. Don’t let the headshot let you down.
There are two styles to choose from. The first is the traditional, straight down the lens, eyes to camera shot. Like this …
The other option is the documentary,”action” shot, capturing you doing what you do, not necessarily looking at the camera. Like this …
It’s entirely up to you but I always suggest getting both, which then gives you options.
Either way, to ensure your headshot delivers what you require, it’s important to note the following:
|Don’t use a selfie! Never a good look. In fact, don’t use your phone.||Invest in a quick shoot with a professional photographer.|
|Don’t crop a photo you like that has someone else in it.||Have the photo just of you.|
|Don’t have lots of clutter in the background.
|Ensure the background is clean and stylish and represents your brands.|
|Don’t be tempted to use a photo someone took of you on holiday – however delicious the cocktail/tan.||Show yourself in a professional environment that fits with your brand and what you’re selling.|
|Don’t wear sunglasses.||Show people your eyes.|
If you already have a headshot..
- Do any of the above ‘Don’ts’ apply? If so, please move to the ‘Haven’t got a headshot’ section!
- Does it do you justice? You will be your own worst critique – part of hating having your photo taken is looking at the photo afterwards so try and look at it as a potential customer – or as your mum!
- Does it reflect your business? Are you in a business environment? Documentary style headshots, of you in action, are a brilliant way to show yourself doing what you do – and are way less awkward than sitting in front of a plain background. If you start with that, you’ll find doing a ‘straight to camera’ shot much easier.
- If you’re not sure if it does you justice or reflects your business, I’m very happy to do a no-commitment appraisal of what you currently have. Apart from being a photographer, I also have 15 years of experience in PR and am a marketeers dream!
If you haven’t got a headshot…
- When looking for a photographer, check you like their style. If it really is a clean white background with studio lights you’re after, check they do that.
- Think about where you would like the photographs taken. In your house / studio / shop? What’s the light like? If it’s dark, let the photographer know so they can bring the right kit.
- What to wear! Think about what you want to wear that best reflects you and your brand. Less is invariably more. Bear in mind that super bold patterns and really bright colours will take the attention away from your face so might be best avoided.
- The same applies to jewellery – masses of jewellery will take attention away from your face so try to avoid it.
- You might want a vague change of outfit – this could be as simple as jacket or no jacket, scarf or no scarf. While you’re having your photograph taken, make the most of the opportunity and get more than one shot.
- Glasses or no glasses? If you wear them all them time, then keep them on. If not, go without.
- Ladies – make-up should be the same as you would normally apply for a night out – it looks reduced on camera so don’t be afraid to put on a bit more than you normally would during the day.
- Think about the size you’d like your photograph to be and let the photographer know. It will have an impact on how the frames are composed.
- And finally – try not to worry about it! It will be a much better experience than you think it will be, I promise!
Written by Rachel Ulph, a photographer of (business) people
All photo credits: Rachel Ulph
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