You know you need a new business headshot. Your web designer/book publisher/boss/colleagues are clamoring for a new or updated portrait. You need it for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, the jacket of your new book, speaking engagements, or your website and publicity materials. So why haven’t you made that appointment?
Here are the top seven excuses I hear most often, coupled with suggestions to help push through to your goal: a photo you will love and be proud of!
1. “I’m the least photogenic person on the planet.”
I hear this all the time. I’d say the biggest culprit in producing a stiff or unflattering photo is self consciousness. The key is to think of something meaningful to you (a promotion? A lucrative contract?) or someone you care deeply about (a child, pet, dear friend?). This will get you out of your head and allow a natural expression to take over. Don’t let negative thoughts keep you from getting a fresh new portrait.
2. “I just need to lose a few pounds before I call for a photo session.”
If you wait until you shed those pounds, you will never book the photo session. Your photographer can help you pose in ways that will flatter you as you are now.
3. “I want to wait until I get a tan so I won’t look so pasty.”
People usually don’t tan evenly, so what you believe to be sun-kissed skin may look dry and mottled in a photo. A foundation or bronzer is a better bet. A professional makeup artist can help.
4. “I’m so busy that I can’t find the time for an appointment.”
This one is tough. It’s just a question of forcing yourself to pick up the phone or send an email. Try booking a few weeks out when your schedule looks less crammed. Your session will be on the books, and you can relax.
5. “I don’t know what clothes to choose.”
Your best bet is to wear an outfit that you would choose if you were meeting your best client. Be sure it fits you well, is not too trendy, and is a three-season fabric. Avoid turtlenecks and strong patterns. Bright colors and scarves are fine if you like to wear them.
6. “I can’t decide what to do about makeup.”
A good makeup artist is a wonderful investment for both women and men. Ask the artist if s/he has experience in doing makeup for photographic lighting. If you prefer to do your own makeup, wear a little more than usual to even out your skin and bring out your features.
7. “I already have a picture that I got ten years ago that I really like.”
Your photo may have served you well all these years, but do you look the same? Do you want to send the same message as you did back then? Would people recognize you when you meet? Do your clothes/accessories/eyeglasses look dated? People like to work with professionals who are current.
8. “I don’t want to spend the money.”
No doubt about it: a professional photographer costs more than a friend with a digital camera. But when you think about what a beautiful photo of you means to your professionalism, your image and your self esteem, it’s a bargain.
A good business headshot is an essential part of your branding and social media presence. Whether you decide to have your photo done in a studio or on location (this is an emerging trend), here’s an update to my pointers on getting the best possible professional photo:
1. Get one! If you haven’t been asked for a professional headshot, you will be. It’s just a matter of time. You will need one for your web page, as well as for social media, newsletters, news releases, articles, profiles, brochures and speaking engagements.
2. Hire a professional photographer. Your clients can tell when your photo has been snapped by a friend or spouse. The message is, “I don’t care enough to establish a professional presence.” A good photographer will know how to use lighting and posing in a way that flatters your face and body type, and will help you relax for a natural yet professional expression. The more authentic your expression, the more people will want to work with you.
3. When possible, have your makeup applied by a makeup professional who understands lighting. Strobes or even natural light can wash out your features, so enhancement of eyes and lips is important. For both men and women, a good foundation powder can smooth the skin and reduce glare.
4. Ask if retouching is included in the package. Light retouching (skin softening, blemish removal, reduction of eye circles, etc.) helps you look Oh so much better!
5. Choose a solid-color, well-fitting suit and/or top that is multi-seasonal. Textures such as tweeds can be distracting. You have a wide range of choices here, including gray, blue, green, purple, red, pink, orange or beige. Deep gray or navy blue photographs better than blacks. Avoid whites or light pastels, as they may show clothing wrinkles and add pounds. A good stylist can help you choose flattering, appropriate clothing for your shoot.
During the session:
6. When posing, angle your body a quarter-turn away from the camera. Then gently turn your shoulders and head back towards the lens. This pose avoids the straight-on mugshot look. Leaning forward slightly from the waist will elongate your neck and give you a welcoming demeanor.
7. Imagine that the lens is your best client. Think of the relationship you have with this person. Welcome that client with your eyes and expression. This exercise will make your energy become outer-directed and add approachability and warmth to your portrait.
8. Don’t take yourself too seriously. After all, it’s not only about you. It’s also about your clients and how they feel when they interact with you.
Examples of business headshots
While studio headshots remain the norm for business portraits, these days people are also looking for something a little more natural for social media sites. Jaye needed a studio headshot for her company’s website; then we went the extra mile and did some natural-light portraits. She looks wonderful in both! Makeup by Lori Johnson.
Here are some new headshots for Joanna, an expert in social media, a marketing consultant with an emphasis on Green companies, and marketing manager for the fabulous Dedham Farmers Market! Joanna’s lovely makeup was done by Lori B. Johnson.
You can follow Joanna on Twitter: @GoodNatureGirl
As a Boston-area copyright and trademark attorney, Heather wanted headshots that would reflect both her professionalism and approachability. I think we succeeded!
We especially love the clean, simple look of her portraits.
Kristen wanted both a traditional headshot and one with a more casual look. I think she looks gorgeous in both!
Makeup by Lori B. Johnson.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.gfergphoto.com
We’ve had a great month of business headshots at my Dedham studio. Clients included a voice-over artist and three attorneys. Thanks to Lori Johnson for her makeup expertise. It makes such a difference!
Our headshot specials have become extremely popular over the last 18 months! This is a time when entrepreneurs are putting their best face forward to attract new business and stay current with Social Media.
We will be holding our summer headshot special on August 18 and 20. These sessions are a lot of fun, and we will be serving Lori’s famous homemade brownies! Here’s a link for details:
Call me at 781-461-9202 or contact me through my website to book a session.
Melissa Kogut, executive director of Chefs Collaborative, wanted a natural, outdoor headshot that reflects the company mission and who she is as a person. This collaborative is a non-profit network of chefs that fosters a sustainable food system through education and collaboration with the food community. During the session I loved hearing about her unusual and important mission. The natural makeup is by Lori Johnson of Your Best Image.