5 tips for a great head-shot

One of the first things I ask people when we are building a website, or working on their business pages on social media, is: do you have a head-shot?

What is a good head-shot? It might be easier to tell you what it’s NOT… a selfie.

For the love of all that is holy… please do not include a selfie as the main photo on your website, or your LinkedIn page, or your business page. Unless your business is called, “How to take professional selfies” – just don’t.

There is a time and a place for a good selfie! If you’re meeting up with a client and you want to share with your following, that’s awesome. If you bought a new necklace from a cool, local boutique and you want to show it off – and plug the shop or designer – do it!

There are plenty of ways to show off a great selfie, but when we are talking about your “about us” page on your site, or your profile photo for your business, it’s best to stick with a nice, professional photo. Here are 5 quick tips for a great head-shot!

Figure out your photo style. Should you be outside or inside? Professional or a bit more casual? Should you have a tight head-shot or a full body photo? It all depends on your industry. If you’re taking staff photos, I’d recommend head-shot with everyone in similar attire – blazers/professional wear, a company polo, or the same color shirt with a great accessory. If you’re a fashion blogger, maybe play with different photos. A full body photo showing your whole outfit and a great big smile would be amazing! Should you smile large or be a bit more reserved? Once you have a plan and a style in mind, you’ll be able to pick an outfit and a type of photo that works for you and your image.

Practice a pose and your smile. You may feel silly in the mirror practicing but you’ll know which angle makes you feel the most confident! You’ll be able to see if your smile looks fake. I can’t take photos where my head is tilted a certain way because it makes me look heavier than I am. Take photos where you’re facing the camera, and then try different poses and see what looks best. When it’s time to have someone take your photo, you’ll know what looks best!

Have someone take the photo for you. This person does not need to be a professional, but they do need to know how to take a good photo. If you take the photo yourself, you might end up with part of your arm in the photo, a weird angle or something in the background that you didn’t see in time before posting.  Honestly, I’ve stopped strangers before because I believe in a nice photo… and people are usually really helpful! You can even buy a wireless remote control button… I found this one on Amazon for around $7! Everyone is a “photographer” now, phones are so nice – take advantage of that and get a good photo.

Take more than one. Take a few – even if you think you’ve nailed it. Too often, I’ve gotten to my computer to upload the photos and *gasp* my eyes look like they are closed! Especially if there are multiple people in the photo… take more than one. You’ll be happy with more to choose from!

Make sure the lighting is good. If you’re taking a photo outside, the best times are usually early morning or later in the afternoon. Photographers tend to prefer around sunrise/sunset. That way, they have a bit of softer light. I actually love head-shots that are taken outside because I prefer that style of lighting. If you’re taking a photo inside, make sure the photos are well-lit. Sometimes, you can even hold up a light and play around with different settings, just to ensure that the photos are bright without being too harsh.

Have fun with your photo and make sure you like how you are represented. If selfies are your thing – more power to you! I am a big fan of selfies in moderation, but I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts!

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