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How to Ensure Professional Headshots

20th March 2015

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A great photographer has an eye for composition and can evoke warmth and a genuine expression in a subject.  He or she will know how to position you in a variety of settings that will best reflect the goals and personality of your company.

Instances that you would need a professional photo include blog article avatars, forum profiles, your “about us” page, press releases and social media, such as Linked In, Google +, Twitter and Facebook.

Young start-ups like to look fun, as well as professional.  Schools prefer to look responsible, yet wholesome.  Every business wants to look trustworthy and capable.  This is what you pay for when you hire a professional photographer.

 Lighting

Let’s use lighting as an example.  Photography literally means ‘to paint with light’.  A photographer that uses light well is going to bring out your best skin tones.  Flash and softboxes will add warmth to your complexion without washing you out.

The goal is to create portraits that don’t look like any artificial lighting was used.  Flash is used for outdoor photos as well as indoor photos because it fills in shadows where you don’t want any- such as underneath the eyes.  However, it needs to be used sparingly, to create a natural yet professional photograph.

As the founder of Kodak once said, “Above all, know light.  Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

 Posturing

Why do some headshots look like mug shots?  It’s probably due to poor posturing.  Great posturing will make you appear taller, thinner, honest, determined, intelligent and capable.  Some of the postures a photographer might request will feel unnatural but look amazing on camera.  I usually end up showing clients the difference during a shoot because they can immediately see the benefits of cooperating with the poses.

 Positioning

The best weather for a shoot does not include bright sunlight. That said, you should not be positioned in any lighting that requires you to squint.  You don’t don’t want harsh shadows or dark contrasts;  you want the widest possible range of tones. Time of day is also important.  I like to shoot first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Authentic, positive headshots build the trust of prospective buyers.  Rushed and cheap looking images can make a business or agency look like they cut corners.  Invest in one of the first impressions prospective customers will have of you.  The right image will send the right message.

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