What Makes A Headshot A Headshot?
Your headshot has the potential to be the most important photo ever taken of you. It can help you secure that role, close that deal or make that connection. But what makes the difference between a professional headshot, a portrait or a selfie?
Here are my top four things that separate a generic photo from a great headshot.
Without a doubt, the most important thing in a successful headshot is your expression. If you look angry, frustrated or disinterested, the chances are that recruiters and casting directors are going to overlook you immediately. You need to grab the attention of the viewer by making a connection with the camera, then show confidence through your eyes and approachability through your smile. A great headshot photographer will be able to coach and direct you to bring out the best expressions and help you ditch the fake smiles.
Headshots are all about your face. Sure, we might be interested to see what hairstyle you have and a hint of how you dress but most importantly we need to see your face. Traditional actor headshots in the US tend to be 8×10″ portrait prints in black and white which include more of your upper body. The more modern approach, particularly for business, is 4×5 landscape images in full colour with a much tighter crop from the top of the shoulders and often cropping into the head. This is more dramatic, engaging and maximises your face in the frame.
It’s fun to get creative with light as a photographer but a headshot must be well lit and well exposed. People aren’t going to be able to tell what you really look like if half your face is deep in shadow. Keep the dramatic lighting for your portraits and keep your headshots bright and clean. The best way to achieve this is by hiring a professional headshot photographer, instead of taking selfies with your phone!
As with lighting, there is a time and place for props. Keep funky glasses, hats and other props out of your headshots. If you are hiding your face in your headshot, it’s going to give the viewer the impression that you are trying to hide something and that’s not a great look!
If you’re ready to give your online presence a serious upgrade, schedule your headshot session with me now.