A headshot is a professional photo you will take at several points during your creative career; it is typically of your face alone or it can also include your torso. A headshot is the type of image you want to appear in Google searches and on your social media profiles. It’s your opportunity to erase any disappointing images floating out there of you in the online universe: the one where you’re goofily grinning a bit too wide, the one just after Thanksgiving dinner, the one…well, I could go on, because we live in an age where we never know who has a camera at their disposal and is liable to capture us at our most unflattering moments.
A headshot is important because it is part of curating your online presence; let’s face it, before people meet you they typically Google you. So what do you want that image to reflect? It’s not enough to rely on a professional photographer to capture you at your photogenic best. Before you get your headshot taken, you’ll want to consider the following and discuss it with your photographer:
What do you want your headshot to express? Confidence? Approachability? Both? The message you are communicating will determine everything else.
What are you wearing? Avoid distracting colours and patterns; above all, you want your face to be the focal point and to exude professionalism. Consider wearing a blazer, or something that provides straight lines; the camera likes angles.
The background – where are you standing? You may have noticed that many headshots are against a solid, neutral background. Personally, I think this makes more sense for actors than anyone else, because they need the viewer to focus their face and not be distracted by anything else. I think texture, depth and colour are important factors to take into consideration.
How are you posing? Are you crossing your arms? Do you have a hand on one hip? As mentioned above, the camera likes angles, so it can help to do this, or to even position yourself at a three-quarter angle towards the camera. Finally, are you smiling in the photograph? If so, should it be close-lipped?
Once you have your photograph taken, throw it up everywhere: across social media networks, your website and of course, wherever/whenever someone asks you for one. And then, get ready for your next headshot; don’t let too many years pass before taking your next one. After all, your headshot should look like you and not a complete stranger!