Basic Headshot Photography

August 18th, 2009 by wys


If you are the CEO of your company, a Realtor, Mortgage Lender, Attorney or anyone with a Facebook account you all have one thing in common. You need a really good headshot or business portrait. Even if you just got out of school a professional quality photo is needed for your resume and on line applications.

Things to ask about

  • V Shape Neckline
  • Avoid Round Neckline
  • Background Color
  • Avoid Patterns
  • Serious or Fun

I am going to talk about basic business style portraits. If you are in a creative field you may want to do something totally different. The choice is yours. Just remember after you post on the internet it is going to be copied and will be available for all to see for the rest of your life. With that said the first area I like to cover with my clients is clothing. Most people don’t know what looks good on them so you may want to ask a friend to help pick out a few outfits for the photo session. I usually ask my female clients not to wear black. Black is slimming but your body also disappears making your head appear a little bit larger. It also says “Hide Me”. Bright colors say I am here, take a look. Men have fewer options so dark suits with pinstripes will have the same effect. The pinstripes break up the solid black so it is not as harsh.

The wrong clothing choice can add several pounds to your photo. If you want to look wide in a portrait then keep your shoulders uncovered. Bare skin draws the eye to the area. Same for a rounded neckline. A round neckline draws the eye wide and will add a few pounds to the person in the photo. I would go easy on the jewelry also. Platinum jewelry looks great but may reflect too much light and may draw too much attention away from your face. You want all of the attention on you!

Solid backgrounds are my first choice for business portraits. The reason is simple. They are easy to use and allow fast clean-up of stray hairs. They also give 100% of the attention to the subject in the portrait and a solid background done right is seldom noticed. I avoid solid black backgrounds. Very dark hair can get blended with the background. I prefer a dark gray or earthtone. If I had to pick I would say a medium dark brown is the best all around color. I know it sounds boring but it works. If you want to use white be careful. White can really change how a person looks in a photo.It can wash your out depending on your skin tone and clothing choice. Most people seem to look more important and in charge when using a darker background.

Be sure to ask about re-touching. Re-touching is great if done right. It shoud enhance your appearance while not looking fake. Super smooth skig is not natural and super bright teeth are also to be avoided. A good re-touched photo should leave the viewer wondering if anything was done to it or not. I would also ask about the availability of professional hair and make-up services. For women it is almost a requirement and does help men look better in front of the camera. Ask about use rights to the images. Will you receive a CD so the images can be used on line or are you limited to prints. If you do get a digital copy make sure to have a release so you have legal rights to use it as agreed.

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