11 Professional Headshot Tips from a Photographer


So you have finally decided to face it, literally. But facing the camera is not enough. Besides choosing a professional photographer, whose vision and skill you trust. It is also important to prepare for the shoot as well. So here are the 11 professional headshot tips that you should keep in mind when preparing for the shoot. Those simple steps will help you to achieve desired results and make the whole process less stressful.  

1. Decide for yourself what type of Photos you are looking for.

Look for inspiration online, or perhaps ask around. Sometimes it’s easier to see from someone else’s perspective. They simply might see something in you, that you’d miss, or give you a bit of advice. But don’t forget to listen to yourself. After all, those are your photos we are talking about. 

So the photos can be different styles. Professional Headshot or Environmental Portrait. Professional Headshot can be done in two settings: studio or location. Which brings up the lighting. Either the photographer shoots with Natural light or Professional Studio light, you need to be sure which style you prefer.

Environmental Portrait or in other words Editorial Portrait is usually being done in the environment, related to your business. For example the chef in his kitchen. Or a lawyer at the office. Or an artist at his studio with all the artistic-mess around. Those images find their purpose for magazine ads, promotions on social media and such. 

2. You should do your research.

Don’t settle for the first Photographer who came up on google search or a friend’s referral unless you are absolutely sure there are no better options. The key is to compare styles and what’s included in the packages. Some photographers are extremely cheap, but they only give out 2 photos, and they charge extra on every step they take. You may not have a say in the process, and at the end, you may have to find another Photographer to get desired results. If possible meet up with a photographer prior to the booking, or the shoot. Get to know each other this will help you to get comfortable and look natural on the photos. 

3. Keep up with brand style.

The first tip naturally brings us to the second: keep up with brand style. Some photos speak for themselves. And you want to make sure to give a simple and clear message to your clients when they look at the photo. Lawyers prefer images in a studio environment wearing suits and solid colors. On the other hand, some professions can be more casual and creative about their photos. This part is extremely important for a Company, who hires a photographer to do CEO portraits and employees headshots at the same time. Keep it consistent. Consult with your photographer!

4. Plan your Outfit.

It is a common practice to dress for the shoot the same way you would present yourself to the client. Speaking from my own experience I suggest my clients bring multiple outfits to the shoot. I think the Photographer should have a conversation with a client and discuss all the available options, make suggestions and perhaps help to choose. I personally like to get at least two looks and outfits shot.

5. Makeup and hair options.

This part mostly concerns women. Trust me, Gentleman, you can scroll down to the next tip. But I hope I got my lady’s attention. Furthermore, I’d like to explain why Simplicity is the key. Evening makeup would be too much for a corporate headshot. You want to look natural, confident and basically appealing to the client. Will you trust a lawyer if she is wearing go-out makeup with red lips and a fancy up-do? I don’t think so. So plan your makeup and hair to appear reliable, professional to your client. The question is should you hire a Makeup Artist and hairstylist? I can’t give a concrete answer on this one. Everyone is different. But if you are not confident with your own makeup and hair skills, I would suggest hiring a professional. Why? You are already paying money to the photographer, making an investment. So why not spend a little extra to make sure this investment will have a good return. Besides, if you don’t know anyone who you can trust on this topic – ask your photographer. I surround myself with people I have worked with on multiple projects and they have proved their professionalism to me. I am sure your photographer does the same. Most Makeup artists do simple hairstyles, which is exactly what you need. Instead of hiring people, you’ve never worked with, trust your photographer on this one. 

6. Pay attention to details.

Another headshot tip, but not only for the ladies. Get your nails fixed. Based on my own experience, you will feel more confident in front of the camera. Not to mention the fact the camera picks up little details like this. And most photographers won’t photoshop it. 

7. Know your Body Language.

“I don’t know what to do, how do I pose?” – this is something I hear as a photographer on a regular basis. Even before the shoot, some people already freak out.  If we are talking about professional headshot tips, here is one your photographer must tell you!

If you are not confident about your poses and body language, talk to your photographer prior to the shoot. Most of them, including me, will tell you to practice, in front of the mirror for example. And look up the photos you like, save them on your phone as a reference. Keep them close on the day of the shoot. Listen to your photographer. Professional photographers know how to give directions and make you comfortable. Relax your shoulders, keep the posture be confident! Body language is an international one. There are no words necessary to read how you feel. So you better keep your act together and show them who you really are: professional, positive and approachable. You don’t want a photo with a creepy smile, you’ve seen those on some billboards – they look awful. 

8. Bringing someone you are close with.

You may bring a friend or colleague. Bringing someone you are close with will not only make the whole shooting experience fun but may save you money. Photographers usually give discounts for group shots. And for the ladies, it will be beneficial with booking a makeup artist as well. But enough of that, having a friend by your side will simply loosen you up. Make your smile more genuine and may give good directions on posing. After all, Photographer can’t see everything through the lens. 

9. Choose the location carefully.

One more good professional headshot tip will be to invite a Photographer to come to you. You may feel more comfortable being in your own environment. Office, home or your favorite location will give you confidence. Even is you desire Studio Photos, most photographers can make it happen whenever you wish to go. This advice especially makes sense, if you wish to get photos for multiple employees at once. I, for instance, have my studio ready to go. It fits any small or big space and produces high-quality studio portraits. And for multiple people, It will be consistent with lighting and editing. And as a result, looks better on the web or social media.

10. Last steps before the shoot.

Prepare for the Photoshoot. Don’t take it for granted, and follow the simple steps to ensure the best results. Every photographer will tell you do get good sleep the night before the shoot. Drink plenty of water have your favorite snack with you. Listen to your favorite music, meditate and blah blah blah. In other words, do whatever you need to do to get yourself in the right shape and mood. 

11. Post Production.

After the shoot, you will be eager to see results fast. But don’t rush your photographer to give final photos on the next day. It usually doesn’t work like this unless you pay extra for an emergency. Then the photographer will put all other projects on hold and finish yours. Otherwise, you should wait, I am sure you talked to your photographer about the time frames. And just have some patience. And I hope you made sure those photos would not be overly-photoshopped when you booked your session. You want to look flawless, but natural. And this is the talent, not every photographer has. 

So here, I laid out 11 useful professional headshot tips. As a photographer, I tell those tips to my customers when I meet them in person or over the phone and email. I think some of them are more important than others, but if you look at the whole picture, you will need to take all of this into account when booking, planning and preparing for your headshot session. If you are in the South Florida area and looking for a Headshot Photographer, give us a call. If you wish to check out our packages and read more information about why is it important to present yourself with a professional headshot follow this link: Corporate Photography Packages. There we created packages for individuals and companies. 

professional headshot tips
11-professional headshot tips
Corporate Photographer Miami
11 professional headshot tips from a Photographer