On the surface, business headshots may seem like a simple matter of wearing a suit, standing in front of a grey background, and smiling towards the camera.
But when you think about it, business portraits are geared towards communicating something about your professionality, your company’s ethos, and your values as an entrepreneur.
Today, more than ever, small business owners understand the importance of becoming leaders in their niche and push to stand out from their competitors and make a statement.
Many would say that our phones and touchscreens make it so easy to take professional business headshots nowadays, but bear in mind that the magic ingredients are often the lighting, posing and professional editing that makes your bio image, magazine spread or corporate report stand out from the crowd.
In fact, a poorly taken headshot might achieve just the opposite – an amateur-feel that says you take yourself or your business seriously. If you don’t invest in yourself, why would anyone else spend their hard-earned cash with your service or company?
Headshot tips: Speak to your audience via your professional headshot
Everyone who books me for their business headshots for LinkedIn, websites, and marketing have shared similar aspirations: professional-looking pictures that demonstrate their personality, confidence, and aplomb.
That’s why I’ve created a list of tips that will successfully help you build trust, and earn the respect of your competitors with top-rated business headshots that shine with the *real you*.
What is ‘personality’?
It’s easy for professional models or actors to connect with the camera and convey a range of personas, they’ve had years of training! But what about the typical business owner, writer, manager, or crafter, can you even learn how to ‘switch on’ a nice smile at the press of a button?
Your personality can be presented in a few simple ways:
- Choose clothes that you would wear for a job interview
- Accessorize with a statement necklace or watch / tie that you already own and like
- Match colours to your vision statement and brand (my questionnaire takes you through this process)
- Include your skills or aptitudes if you are an artist or crafter e.g. at work with your materials
- Consider having the photographs taken at your place of work e.g. in your spa, salon, or office
- Relax and talk with your photographer
- Relax and talk with your photographer
- Relax and talk with your photographer
The best way to showcase your personality is to let the real you come alive through genuine, honest, and open conversations throughout the portrait session.
A successful professional photoshoot naturally evolves organically and, as a business headshot photographer, it’s my job to get you there.
The conversations we have at the very beginning when you step into my Seaview home studio are where I start helping you feel comfortable.
I have to be an empathetic listener, ask great questions about your business goals, think on my feet whilst I fine-tune flattering lighting and be able to explain why each pose works with as little fussing as possible.
Putting you at ease and taking a real interest in your life and aspirations is what determines stress-free professional headshot photoshoots because I’ve made the effort to get the right information and planned a bespoke session that gets results fast.
How to make a statement with your business headshot
01 Master the elusive smile
I take a relaxed approach towards generating genuine smiles and you’ll find yourself spontaneously smiling or laughing during the professional photoshoot so you feel like a true superstar.
How you feel determines everything that happens throughout the business headshot session and if you don’t trust me or feel comfortable in my studio, I’ve not done my job.
Everyone is different and no two sessions are the same, I tailor my approach to what you want and need. However, the structure I use works for everyone as seen below with Katharine’s photographs
- Photo 1 test shot
- Photo 2 demonstrate the pose and explain why it works
- Photo 3 practice shot
- Photo 4 I chat away behind the camera
- Photo 5 a true smile and expression is captured
Related: Headshot FAQs
02 Convey confidence with these strategies
It’s my job to teach you how to project confidence and help you pose with gravitas in an effortless way. And, yes, these skills can be learned quickly and be applied at home with your family snapshots.
Confidence does not come from standing tall with your arms folded staring grimly into the camera.
Rather, you’ll see it in the relaxed stance of a business owner talking to their clients, or a shop owner smiling broadly as they hand over a carefully wrapped purchase, or the pride in an author’s face as they admire their published book for sale in the local book shop.
Confidence is projecting self-belief, dignity, and integrity in who you are, what you stand for, pride in your past achievements, and hope for future aspirations beckoning in the future.
When I demonstrate a pose, you might hear me say, “Stand up tall, push your shoulder blades back and down, step forwards ever so slightly onto your front foot and now remember when ……”
Here’s the big secret, it’s how we engage and connect during your session that makes slick business headshots that showcase the real you. And because I’ve done my homework, I remove all the mystery out of your business headshots and capture good-looking portraits immediately.
03 Learn how to shine
A great professional headshot will be a clear photograph of how you look whilst conveying something of your personality openly.
Lighting, professional editing, and flattering posing are the biggest hurdles to overcome and once these are in place the only thing you need to do is join in the fun.
I use a couple of techniques that I demonstrate at the start of the session and once we are in the swing of things, my clients naturally use them subconsciously. If you’re game, go to the mirror right now and try these:
- Breath through your mouth (to relax the lips)
- Concentrate your forehead (to appear assured)
You might feel baffled right now, but these two techniques can super-charge your portraits when done right. And I will show you how. It’s a lot easier in person, trust me!
Related: Headshot tips
04 Prepare the perfect wardrobe
Wearing the right outfit guarantees fantastic new portraits because you feel great and look the part. During the consultancy process, you will receive a professionally made 12-page eBook with full descriptions, photographs, colour charts, and advice on what to wear.
The result of a correctly chosen outfit, combined with your colours, expression, lighting, and brand message all end up working together.
A discerning client will choose the polished headshot because of the stylistic decisions made right at the start of the consultation. It’s all in the details.
Related: What to wear for business portraits
Dos and Don’ts for professional headshots with personality
- Be yourself
- Smile with your eyes
- Be open and confident
- Present yourself professionally
- Match your wardrobe and grooming to your career
- Pick colours that tap into your values or brand
- Dress differently, change your hair style or makeup
- Force your smiles
- Try too hard
- Get in your head
- Leave planning to the last minute
- Try to copy your competitors
Business photos aren’t about smiling towards the camera, grey backgrounds or business suits.
How relaxed we feel is a huge part of feeling confident enough to let our personality shine in our business headshots.
Whether you opt for outdoor photographs on location or go for a full branding session at your place of work, your business headshot should be based on your corporate message whilst hinting at the passion you want to convey behind your brand vision.
Professional business portraits consist of the twinkle in your eye, the relaxed slope of your shoulders, and the gentle smile that hints of warmth and humour.
Most of all, they make you feel like yourself.
So, make the most of your session and hire me, Amanda Herbert, a professional headshot photographer Isle of Wight.
If you have any questions about my home studio or booking your first business headshot, call Amanda Herbert Photography on +44 (0)7719316609 or use the email below