If you read my earlier post about why you need a professional headshot, you’ll know that these days a headshot doesn’t have to be a serious looking photo with a plain white background. For some sectors that is still the norm, but not for all.
If you’re having a headshot shoot for your business and you want something a bit different, take a little time to think about these three things – the message that you want to send to your clients, how the images will work with your brand and where you’re going to use the photos.
It’s important that your headshot reflects who you are in the workplace and your brand. For example if you’re a personal trainer your clients may expect to see you in a gym or outdoors, and probably not in a suit. But if you’re a solicitor your clients would expect something more formal.
Think about what you’re going to wear and the sort of pose you would like. Although traditionally a headshot is just that, a photo of your head and shoulders, it can be expanded to show more of you. Different ways of standing and sitting can change the message the image sends. For example, the headshot to the left has a fairly casual feel as Alison is leaning against a wall.
Think also about an appropriate background – do you want something outdoorsy, urban or maybe more formal like an office background? All of these elements contribute to the overall image you will portray to potential clients.
If you run your own business, make sure your headshots reflect the visual brand you are building. That could be with the use of colours in the background or with the style and tone of your clothes. In these headshots I took for Alison Read Digital Content, Alison was clear from the outset that she wanted certain colours in her images to fit with her brand. So we found a local primary school with the perfect purple wall and she had a couple of different colour tops with her as well. (It goes without saying that you should always ask permission if you want to use private property).
A word of caution here, while the use of colour and different backgrounds can make a headshot more eye-catching, make sure that you don’t get lost in the picture! You should be filling most of the space in the photo, which means you won’t be able to capture a great swathe of scenery in the background. Anything too dramatic or overfussy behind you will distract the viewer’s attention away from you, which is not what you want. Your headshot is all about you.
Making the most of your photos
To get the most out of your headshot shoot, think about all the different ways the photos will be used and the formats you need. The most common format for a profile picture (such as you see on Facebook and LinkedIn) is square or round, but you may also need a rectangular head and shoulders shot (usually 2×3).
Do you need something different for your promotional materials? Perhaps an image with some space where you can add the name of your business, or your latest offer? If you are facing or looking into the active space, the viewers eye will naturally be drawn to this area too.
A couple of final tips – after doing all this preparation and thinking, make sure you communicate your thoughts to your photographer – they will probably have their own ideas too. And after the shoot when you are choosing your final images, by all means ask the opinion of friends and family but also ask your existing clients – they will know best what appeals to them as a customer!
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