How to Get Great Headshots
Do you often struggle and worry about getting your headshots taken? Do you want to know how to get great headshots every time so you don't feel like you've wasted your money? It's not just the photographer's job to make your headshots look great. It's your job as well.
- Make sure you know what you will be wearing before the headshot session. Ask the headshot photographer if he or she has any suggestions, but make sure that you don't let them control what you wear. You want to feel comfortable! If your shoot includes a makeup artist or stylist, feel free to ask them for suggestions as well.
- Look good, but don't overdo it. Too many people try to come up with something that makes them look really good (clothing AND makeup), but they forget the key point about the whole thing: you want to be yourself. Don't come to your headshot session wearing brand new super fancy clothes that make you feel out of their comfort zone, if you don't normally wear those. Your expression in the shots will show your discomfort.
- Don't try anything new! Sometimes, clients try to do something completely different than what they've done in the past, and sometimes this can turn out good, but it could also turn out terribly! Trying something new is a gamble, but usually winds up ending horribly. As an example, one client of mine tried leave-in conditioner for the first time to get their hair looking shiny... but what happened was their hair wound up looking greasy! Don't try new things the day of.
- Don't come hungry! Too many people forget to eat on the big day and wind up feeling more uncomfortable because their belly hurts. I usually suggest eating something right before going to the headshot session, especially if it is planned to last a few hours.
- Once you arrive, try to take in as much of the studio or location as you can. Study the layout and the equipment, the view, and the light. Thinking about these things can get your mind away from worrying whether or not your headshots will come out good.
- Be sure to let the headshot photographer know if there is anything about your body that you feel uncomfortable with. If you don't tell him or her that you feel uncomfortable with the big pimple on your face, you might look more uncomfortable in the pictures than if you had told him about it and he said not to worry, reassuring you that he can remove it in Photoshop.
- Try to think about something other than the headshots. Don't think about trying to look good for the camera. Even though you might get some good pictures by smiling at the camera and acting for it, it will usually show in the headshots that you only look two dimensional. You have to bring out a third dimension, which comes from relaxing and forgetting the camera is there. You want people looking at your headshot to see something different about you, something that makes you memorable. There should be more to you than just a smiling face. Your photographer should help coach the right looks out of you and get you feeling relaxed.
- If the photographer is good, he will try to get the best smiles out of you for your headshots. But sometimes you will have to make due with a more inexperienced headshot photographer, one who might not be as good at getting you smiling. Just try thinking about some happy or very funny memories while you look into the camera. It will get you laughing and bring out that third dimension right away.
- Don't just do all of your photos smiling, try some different expressions. Serious shots look great. You never want to look bored or angry though. Instead, go for curious, interested, or confident and approachable. Remember that the photographer is the first person seeing the images, and you'll be able to tell right then and there how a third party will react when seeing your headshot. If you try to bring out emotions from the headshot photographer, chances are you will become much more comfortable with him or her, and your shots will wind up being even better.
- When you are getting headshots, make sure leave enough time to warm up. If you don't think you'll be comfortable in a few minutes, it's recommended that you do a longer shoot so you have time to warm up. Don't cut your time short to save a little money because remember: your expression is what matters, since thousands of people will likely see y0our headshot in the future.
- Have fun! Stay relaxed and don't think too much about it. The key is to show people looking at your headshot that you know what you're doing. You are a three dimensional person who is completely comfortable with yourself in any situation, and can give people what they need. Just let yourself go and relax, and your headshots will turn out great.
- Try to get full body shots as well if the photographer will allow it. Get the most bang for your buck.
- Think about other things besides the headshot photographer behind the camera.
- Try to make the headshot photographer laugh. Your energy will feed off of one another.
- Bringing a friend can be helpful or a hinderance... Do you want them seeing you getting pictures taken? Will it help you be more relaxed or make you more tense?
- Ask the photographer to show you some of the pictures as you go along, but be sure not to let those pictures influence you too much into trying to look a certain way or do something specific, because it will result in the image looking "forced" or fake.
- Don't be fake. Be yourself.
- Don't try to act for the camera. The main problem is that many people try to look good in front of the camera by standing a certain way or giving a certain look. You have to let all that go. Remember, in the hundreds of headshots that are taken during your headshot session, you don't want to look the same with that one look you try to give the camera. Let yourself go and trust me, you'll find so many images that look great when you review them later.
- Try not to talk to the headshot photographer too much... let him do the talking or else all your pictures will look like you were in the middle of saying something!