Headshots: What They Are And How To Use Them

The term “headshot” isn’t one most people are familiar with. They don’t recognize it at first glance, even though they may have used headshots before without knowing what they were called. If they did, they probably thought of them by one of their older names, “publicity photo” or “beauty shot.”

At it’s simplest, a headshot is a picture of a person where the person is the focus of the picture. They are usually taken in a photography studio by a professional photographer. If you’ve ever seen a politician’s picture on the news, showing them from the chest up, in front of the flag, smiling at the camera, that’s a headshot. Their official photographs are almost all headshots.

Taking Headshots

Professional photographers can be individuals or companies. The best and most reputable ones post fair prices for headshots right up front where you can see them. If a photographer tries to hide their prices or doesn’t want to answer your questions about them, walk away.

True professionals who stand by their work not only post their prices, they also go the extra mile to help you prepare for your studio portrait session. They’ll give you tips about style, grooming, expression, lighting, and background.

Preparing For a Headshot

Before taking a single picture they’ll quiz you about what you want to accomplish with your headshot. Do you want to exude gravitas or whimsy? What customer base are you trying to appeal to? How do you want to be perceived when people look at your picture?

They can advise you on your hair, the colors that match your complexion. Are you a winter or a summer? Do you even know what those terms mean? They do, it’s their business to know and they can put the right colors on you to make you look your best, then arrange the lighting to highlight your best features and minimize the rest.

Professionals know how to blend all the information you give them into a work of art that perfectly captures the image you want to project.

The Background

The background with you in front of it comprises your personal logo, but while you can produce a website logo without professionals, trying to do the same for your headshot is doomed to failure. Photographers spend years learning how to create the right background for each person they photograph.

Professionals know how to create visuals that attract attention on social networks. They also know how to create a different backdrop for a corporate web page or brochure. Each one is different and they are trained to know the differences and how to use them.


Researchers have discovered that a company that uses social media is more likely to attract customer trust and business than those that don’t. 82% of customers trust companies with a social media presence and 77% will buy from companies that use social media, so you definitely, positively, absolutely need to use social media.

Social media is a visual medium. It’s just as easy, if not easier, to post a picture on social media than it is to write something. Therefore you need to have plenty of high-quality photos to post online to signal who you are and how you run your business. Sloppy, out of focus pictures or ones that are poorly cropped will send people all the wrong signals, telling them you’re sloppy and lack attention to detail.

Do you want people to equate you with the fast food joint down the road that can never get your order right at the drive-through? Of course not. So you need to make sure your headshot matches your brand, the one you want people to see.

Tips and Tricks

  • Up To Date


Out of date photos paint you as stuffy, staid, and set in your ways. Keep your headshots, pictures, and images current. You should change all of them at least once a year.

  • Posture

Your mother used to tell you to sit up straight. Do it in all your photos. Good posture projects professionalism and confidence.

  • Your Image

What image are you trying to project? A professional in a three-piece suit? A friendly and casual person who can relate to their customers? The headshot on your social media may need to be different from the one on your company website.

  • Look At The Camera

Look squarely at the camera lens when your picture is being taken. If the eyes are windows of the soul, show customers yours to earn their trust.

Anything you can do to help the photographer and make their job easier, will improve the results!

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