A headshot, when used correctly, can provide quite an asset to your business or enterprise. After all, a friendly face – especially a trustworthy one – can encourage prospects, leads, and customers to rely on your company, its service, and its products. Getting that headshot right can do wonders for your company branding, and these top three (3) secrets to successful headshot photography will make it look like a breeze for you to make it work.
Folks at Photofeeler actually conducted a study throughout 800 photos in their database towards what makes the “perfect” profile photo. Across 60,000 of ratings of perceived influence, likability, and competence were results that were actually surprising. Some interesting findings state that:
- Eye obstruction can decrease someone’s likability, except if the obstruction is shadow, glare, and hair. A slight squinch of the eyes may also make a person look confident and comfortable, as wide eyes might denote fear.
- As for the face, an accentuated jawline can help boost the appeal of the person, at least through the photograph. A smile with visible teeth also increases likeability, competence, and influence across all photos.
- In terms of editing, moderation is still key. A photo that is too bright or too dark post-processing can have decreased ratings as well.
While a profile photo is far from a headshot, the study does show us that a photograph of a person can make people form impressions of the person in question just by how the photograph is taken. Like profile pictures, headshots can actually have a huge impact in how you – and your business, perhaps – can be seen by others. Here’s our top three (3) secrets to successful headshot photography.
1.) Get elements of your subject right even before the shoot. Regardless if you’re the subject or the one taking the photograph, the things that happen before the shoot is just as important as the events that happen during and even after the shoot itself. This is because this part of the photography process allows you to get to know your subject better (as the photographer), and allow your photographer to have a heads-up on what to prepare you for (as the subject).
- Consult with your subject or your photographer beforehand. Even before you have your session, try to make it clear how the images will be used and what style is the preference of the subject. This can happen either face to face or over the phone. What matters is this has been made clear beforehand, so the photographer can help the subject be acquainted with the kind of session they will have based on their needs. Letting the subject know what to expect can help them be more assured on what happens during the shoot, and can help them be more relaxed.
- Try to plan for the shoot beforehand, now that the situation has been established. If your subject needs a photo because they are corporate lawyers, plain backgrounds might help establish their presence. If they’re involved in relaxed professions such as fitness, then colorful backgrounds might work better.
2.) Prepare them for how the shoot might commence. Now that you’ve planned the logistical part of the shoot, help the subject anticipate what the shoot will be like by regularly making correspondence. Just what is the shoot going to be like? Where is it going to take place? What clothes are needed?
- In terms of clothes, neutral and solid colors work best for headshots, especially since the face (especially the eyes) are the focus of the headshots.
- Make sure the “style” is clearly present in the photos. If the subject wants a formal style in their photograph, then make sure they have formal clothes with them.
- Make sure the background you’ll prepare for them can help “separate” them from the environment. For instance, if you’re using a studio background, make sure they aren’t too close to it or else shadows may appear. If they’re using an actual background, make sure they’re far from it enough that objects wouldn’t be distracting to the viewers.
3.) Get them relaxed throughout the entire shoot. When it comes to the day of the shoot itself, it’s important to establish rapport quickly with the subject. Talk with them constantly and make them feel relaxed and at home. Sometimes, the best expressions and faces come from when the subject is totally relaxed with their environment.
- Try to have your subject talk about things that make them comfortable, such as family, work, or their interests. Try to sneak in a few sample shots while they do so, in order for you to get a “vibe” of how they look like in candid shots. You can even have them make wacky or silly faces, and it can certainly brighten up their mood quickly. This allows them to easily adjust to their environment, and can make their smiles more natural.
- Lighting is extremely important now that the subject is here. Try to make sure lighting is evenly distributed, so there aren’t any details that are missed out. For maximum effect, always have the subject’s body be 45-degrees away from the camera and towards the main light source. Their face, however, should look straight to the camera.
- Shoot tethered, which allows you to show multiple shots in a single space in your camera. This allows your subject to easily compare images they may or may not want to consider for their headshots, and can quickly allow the both of you to decide on adjustments that may help emphasize the subject’s features.
Conclusion: A Passionate Symmetry
When it comes to getting a good headshot photo – and in headshot photography in general – it’s important to remember that the subject’s emotion is just as important as the “formula.” While the top secrets above do help a headshot photo look marvelous, it still pays to make sure the subject themselves are enthused into making the headshot photograph. As a photographer, you’ll likely have the responsibility of making sure your subject gets to show their true selves throughout the course of the shoot. As the subject, you’ll be carrying your brand, so it’s on your shoes (or face) to make sure you represent it the way you want others to see it.
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