If you are taking headshots for boosting profiles, then you might be looking for some useful tips to make it successful. A professional headshot is nonetheless not impactful without the proper outlook.
Typically, a headshot takes out the character and persona of a person usually capturing the head and shoulders. But an excellent headshot will represent professionalism and insights into their character.
The right gear and preparation can effectively make it happen! Read on to find out more here.
Who Needs a Headshot Photograph?
Almost everyone can benefit from making money with headshots. Most smartphones don’t do a great job, but don’t worry – you likely have most of the gear you need. If you’re a business person, actor, or estate agent, a professional headshot is a must. Even if you just have a LinkedIn account or a website, you can gain from having a great headshot.
Why Do You Need Quality Headshots?
In today’s digital age, having a polished and professional headshot is crucial. Whether you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or student, your headshot acts as a visual resume and can significantly impact your opportunities. It will improve your first impression on platforms like LinkedIn, business cards, personal websites, and corporate directories.
A high-quality headshot is essential because a poor or average one might convey unprofessionalism and hinder potential opportunities. So, you need to invest a good deal to get top-notch headshots for both professional and personal benefits. You can get quality headshots from professional portrait photographers.
Top 14 Hacks to Get the Best Headshot Photography
- Conduct a Pre-Session Consultation
- Finalize the Location
- Prepare Your Equipment
- Decide on the Pose
- Correct Camera Settings
- Fix the Lighting
- Achieve Background Separation
- Shoot in Manual Mode
- Capture in RAW Format
- Observe the Details
- Opt for Seated Poses
- Chat with the Client
- Shoot Tethered and Collaborate with Your Client
- Edit the Final Shot
1. Conduct a Pre-Session Consultation
Before the photo session, discuss with your subject to understand their specific needs and preferences regarding headshot styles. Different purposes may require distinct styles, such as an artistic look for a fashion model versus a more professional appearance for a corporate client.
It’s advisable to have a face-to-face or phone consultation rather than written communication, as it helps the subject relax, allows you to show examples, and aids in preparing them for the session.
2. Finalize the Location
Choosing the right location for a headshot is crucial. While a simple studio setup is easy, clients may prefer their workplace or a specific background. You should also be careful of other factors for the shoot such as lighting, weather conditions, public disruptions, and the need for shooting permissions.
3. Prepare Your Equipment
Before the photoshoot, double-check that the whole setup is ready. Use a pre-shoot checklist to ensure batteries are charged, memory cards are cleared, and necessary accessories like reflectors are ready to ensure a smooth and effective photo session. You can also take some outdoor gear like extra reflectors to adjust with the background.
4. Decide on the Pose
The perfect pose comes from the cooperation of both parties. Guiding the subject to pose effectively is crucial, especially since most people feel uneasy posing for photos. You need to provide directions that would suit the subject, but be generous and try their ideas as well. But most importantly, encourage them to keep the headshot quite natural. Usually, try to bring out the jawline and keep the clients’ shoulders relaxed. Women need to show a gentle smile and tilt them into an angle for the best look.
5. Correct Camera Settings
Prioritize a wide aperture to focus on the subject, ensure proper focus on the eyes, and manage shutter speed based on lens specifications. Additionally, understanding ISO settings and regularly checking focus and stability during the shoot is essential.
6. Fix the Lighting
Without the perfect light, the perfect pose can’t work. Studio lighting provides control but requires careful management to avoid background issues. Use reflectors, neutral density filters, and appropriate attachments to achieve desired effects. But the best result comes from the perfect positioning of the client as per the light conditions.
7. Achieve Background Separation
For effective headshot photography, it’s crucial to create separation between the subject and the background. Ensure a distinct foreground subject (the head) against a clear, preferably blurred background. Position the subject several feet in front of background elements, whether outdoors or indoors, avoiding subjects leaning against walls. Maintaining distance prevents shadows and enhances professionalism. In addition, try different apertures like f/4, f/2.8, or even f/1.8.
8. Shoot in Manual Mode
The auto mode is tempting, but using Manual mode offers more consistent and impressive results. In Manual mode, independently set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to establish optimal lighting conditions. After a few test shots for exposure, maintain these settings for the entire session, allowing you to focus on capturing images without constant adjustments. You might also need to reset the exposure if the location or lighting changes.
9. Capture in RAW Format
Consider RAW for headshot photography. Although JPEGs are smaller and require no additional processing, the advantages of RAW files far outweigh the drawbacks. RAW files, being uncompressed, retain a wealth of information from the moment of capture, allowing for better recovery of detail and color adjustments during post-processing. Opting for RAW is especially beneficial in situations where exposure errors occur, as it enables the retrieval of lost highlight or shadow detail.
10. Observe the Details
Develop the habit of scanning images thoroughly, observing the subject closely, and checking for potential distractions. This will ensure that you can get a polished photograph of your clients.
11. Opt for Seated Poses
Sitting rather than standup shots are more comfortable and beautiful. Instruct subjects to place their hands on the tops of their thighs, providing a natural posture and minimizing unnecessary movement. Ultimately, whether a headshot is taken standing or sitting is generally challenging to discern, so there’s no need to overly stress about the visual outcome of either option.
12. Chat with the Client
Your client might still feel uneasy, so maintain a continuous conversation during a shoot. Encouraging communication, showing the shots, and listening to feedback help ease the subject’s nerves. Additionally, allowing a bit of spontaneity can lead to surprisingly good results.
13. Shoot Tethered and Collaborate with Your Client
Tethering your camera to a laptop or a larger, calibrated monitor is a game-changer for improving your photography quickly. It’s an inexpensive and highly beneficial practice that clients appreciate. Using tools like a Tether Tools Pro cable and Tether Block ensures secure connections. Tethering also allows real-time adjustments, addressing concerns like stray hair or clothing issues. More importantly, it facilitates collaboration with the client, enabling joint image reviews and discussions about expressions, angles, and personal preferences.
14. Edit the Final Shot
Finally, you get to the long editing process. Editing can address exposure, white balance, contrast, and blemishes. However, sensitivity in communicating edits is crucial to maintain a positive client relationship.
How the Client Can Prepare for the Photography Beforehand?
To ensure that the headshots come great, and you can get your desired outcome, here are some other things you can do. After all, a great photo is all that matters!
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Process
If the photo shoot feels intimidating or new, your client can practice by having friends or family take photos of you. You can also try communicating with the clients for ice-breaking. Offer suggestions about the correct position how to pose, or what you want.
Undoubtedly, getting a nice photo requires the perfect outfit and getup. The client would need outfits that reflect their personality and make them feel confident. Based on the clothes, they can then fix your overall outlook as needed. The clothes should contrast the background. Depending on the outfit, the client can fix their hairstyle, and makeup incase for women.
You can get the headshot in a single click, but the preparation can be for hours. Only then the client can feel satisfied with the final product. Help them clear their minds, check their appearances, and ensure they feel comfortable and relaxed before the shoot.
Again, comfort is key. So, the clients need to relax. Prioritize a good night’s sleep and stay hydrated before the shoot to avoid tired eyes and dehydrated skin. Before the shoot, the client can sit in a quiet corner and try some relaxation tricks, such as deep breaths and physical movements, to enhance non-verbal communication and engagement with the camera.
Essential Equipment for Headshot Photography
In case, you need a headshot urgently and can’t get it done by a photographer, some simple gear can make it happen. Be sure to get quality ones as well!
- High-quality Camera
- Interchangeable Lens, typically a prime lens with at least an f/2.8 maximum aperture
- Proper Lighting with a Flash Setup
- A Reflector
- Studio Backdrops
Headshot With iPhone
If you are expert enough, you can use your iPhone or other high-resolution phones to take a selfie that can work as a headshot.
- Use the regular phone camera settings.
- Take the photo from a horizontal angle.
- Keep the phone at eye level and tilt the phone at 15 degrees.
- After taking the shot, crop the photo to bring out the headshot.
- Use filters and other editing options to polish the photo.
The key to a good headshot is being comfortable. Both the photographer and client need to keep calm and take a good photo.
There is no one rule to the perfect headshot. It will come out from trial and error. Luckily for everyone, there are various editing options. The photographer also never tires out of taking the same headshot repeatedly.
Now with all these simple tricks and tips, hopefully, your photographer can get your confident headshot in one click!