Headshot tips for attorneys

Headshots for attorneys: Getting optimal results for your professional portrait


¬†Whatever branch of law you have chosen, you will find yourself fielding requests for a headshot. A good headshot is an attorney’s calling card. It gives you a strong image for websites and professional associations, aids in client acquisition, and provides a contemporary presence in the world of social media. A good business portrait personalizes your practice. People get a sense of you and your professionalism through your photograph, and are more likely to want to work with you.
What you want to convey in your portrait depends on your specialty. If you are practicing elder or family law, you may want your portrait to show both compassion and professionalism. If you are in the corporate world, you may want your headshot to be fairly conservative. If you are practicing Criminal Law, you may want to have a no-nonsense headshot that conveys strength of character and approach.

The photographer: When choosing a photographer, find a seasoned shooter who will be proficient in lighting, composition, and posing. You also want someone who will work with you to understand the nuances of your practice and the message you want to send.
Here are some questions to ask your prospective photographer before booking:
  • Do you specialize in business headshots?
  • How many images will be taken, and how many do I get to keep?
  • How can I view the proofs? As digital files? As contact sheets? As prints?
  • Will I have the opportunity to change clothes for a different look?
  • Are the images available in print, as a digital file, or both?
  • Will my chosen images be retouched?
  • Will I have unlimited use of the images, or will I need to pay more for additional usage?
  • Is there a makeup artist and/or hair stylist available at the studio?
  • What is your policy in case I don’t like any of the photographs?

Before the shoot: Once you have made your appointment, there is still some preparation to do for your session. Here are a few pointers:
1. If you are having your hair cut, do so several days before the shoot so it will have time to settle down.
2. Be sure your jacket, shirt or blouse fits well. Choose a three-season fabric in a solid color that is somewhat darker than your natural skin tone. Good color choices are gray, green, black, navy and red.
3. Consider booking a few sessions with an image consultant prior to your photo session. You can get great advice that can have a positive impact on the photo session and your general appearance.
4. For both men and women: Having your makeup professionally done by a makeup artist can make a big difference in your portrait. A good powder foundation smoothes skin tones, reduces shine, and hides flaws.
5. Posing tip: During the shoot, sit with your knees angled about 45 degrees to the right or left, and turn your shoulders and head gently towards the camera. Then lean slightly forward. This position opens the neck and gives a pleasing angle. Your photographer will guide you through other poses that will produce a flattering portrait.
Your headshot is part of your brand as an attorney. Be sure it is sending a message compatible with your professionalism.

Gretje Ferguson, 781-461-9202, gretje@gfergphoto.com, http://www.gfergphoto.com

2 thoughts on “Headshot tips for attorneys

  1. Professional Headshot Photographer

    As a professional headshot photographer for actors, executives, authors, and lawyers myself, I have to say that this is a useful article, however a small number of things have been left out that I think should be stated.1. Confidence is key to getting a great shot. Remember that if your confidence doesn't show in your picture, people won't be as likely to hire you. Don't worry about being camera shy. Just enjoy being in the spotlight, because you deserve it.2. You should not be afraid of getting a bit more experimental. Remember that you are not just a drone. You are unique. Let the photographer know your personality, and be sure to let him or her know that you re okay with getting a bit more experimental. Remember that the photographer will be taking a lot of pictures, so of course you can do the standard shot that this article talks about, but also, do some more fun ones from different angles and using different lighting. You may find the needle in the haystack.3. If you're a guy, be sure to shave right before taking your shots. You don't want that shadow on your face, it will look terrible.

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  2. Gretje Ferguson

    Thanks for your excellent points! I agree with all your comments, especially the confidence factor. Here, the role of the photographer is key. Her or she needs to create a safe atmosphere in which subjects can comfortably express themselves. A good conversation ahead of time goes a long way to make this happen, and a lively give-and-take with the photographer during the session can create some surprising and lovely images.

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