Ten Tips for Maximizing Your Next Headshot

Headshots 101 before and after headshotI have headshots on my mind as I just had new ones taken. What is motivating me to write about them is my realization that not everyone understands the dos and don’ts of headshot etiquette. I was on Facebook a while back and there was a post by a biz friend asking for feedback on which one of her new headshots her Facebook friends liked best. What I noticed was she wore no makeup, her hair was lackluster and personally I didn’t think any of the photos did her justice. She is not a close enough friend for me to say anything directly, but it is fodder for my POV about headshots.

When I sold Making It Big in 2004 one of the first things I did was schedule a photo shoot to get images for my new consulting website. Having produced full color fashion catalogs for many years, I was well versed in what was needed to yield excellent photographs. I made the erroneous decision to go “ahhh-naturale” for the shoot. No hairdo, no makeup and no particular attention to what I wore. I looked like myself but not a very good version of myself and certainly not my best self. After the fact, I asked myself, “what where you trying to prove”? I guess there was a part of me that believed it shouldn’t matter what I looked like, I was good at my business and once you knew that you’d want to hire me.

Looking back, I didn’t get the caliber of photos I needed and this proved to be a very expensive and emotionally draining lesson. In the many years since, I no longer make light of the importance of looking as good as you can when you are having a professional photo taken.

before and after headshot2

Star Dewar, www.stardewar.com, is a local photographer who takes my annual headshots. I call her the “Headshot Whisperer.” She can coax and cajole a beautiful image out of even the most resistant subject. In order for me to be my most beautiful self, I first visit Theresa Rousset at www.specialeffectsforhair.com, and she applies natural makeup and tweaks my hair into a stylish do. Between the two of them, I maximize the benefits of getting new headshots. If you live in Sonoma County, it is worth checking these two women out!

How do you maximize the effectiveness of your headshot?

  1. Get a new headshot at least once a year
  2. Find a photographer you feel comfortable with
  3. Consider your marketing brand and how that guides your choice of colors and styles
  4. Consider getting your makeup and hair done professionally, especially if you self-define as a “casual woman”
  5. Ask your photographer their opinion about what colors/types of clothing will create the look you want - Choose colors that bring out your eyes - Avoid patterns but embrace textures - Black and white aren’t the best
  6. Bring three to five tops with a variety of necklines.
  7. Jewelry should complement but not distract from your face
  8. Ask the photographer to shoot you from both sides. Most of us have a good side and a not as good side
  9. After the fact, don’t get lost in the possibilities – select your favorite shots and let go of the rest
  10. Use the new headshot every chance you get!