Thinking of getting a new headshot? Check this handy guide before you go a-head!
Headshots are becoming an all-important aspect of personal and business marketing. With online networking driving so much business via platforms like LinkedIn, and websites the shop window for most businesses, portrait photographs are key to building connections and reinforcing brands.
With high quality, skilled, professional photography, a headshot can be a great opportunity to achieve a desired perception of you or members of your team.
But are you aware of just how many options there are for headshot styles?
From the background, the setting, the lighting, the make up and dress, the styling, editing and production, creative twists and use of props, the choice is almost endless.
Your portrait photograph is part of your marketing
The first important thing to remember is that professional headshots are part of your marketing. And like any marketing, you need to think about the purpose. Is the headshot for use on LinkedIn only? Is it for team pages on a website? Is it to be used on social media or an email campaign?
And next, you need to think about how you want to be perceived – what brand identity you want to build, what values and attributes you hope to get across.
Do you want to be seen as reliable, approachable, warm and friendly? Creative and innovative? Corporate? Quirky or edgy? Is it beneficial to reveal what you do professionally, or to convey an interest in your headshot through the use of a prop? Do you wish to carry through a brand identity whether colour, style or setting?
Capturing your best angle
As a professional photographer, it is my objective for people to be proud and happy with their profile shots. There’s no point in expecting a shy person to perform a wacky pose if they are deeply uncomfortable with it. Equally, it’s a wasted opportunity for a professional with a strong personal brand or confident, quirky personality for this not to come across. Part of the initial brief will be understanding your objectives, preferences and brand and then using my skills and experience to propose the best background and styling for your shot, so that you come across as ‘you’ and look the best you can be.
So, which of these styles most click with you?
Style through simplicity
A white background is simple and classy, enabling images to come across in a presentable way, without any distractions. It will work well in all formats and presentations, making it a highly versatile option. It may be suitable if the headshot/s are to be used in a highly designed or colourful website, or where many headshots are required for a team, enabling consistency and a clean look to the company page.
Variety through colour
A coloured background can add interest and embed a corporate colour and brand identity in a subtle and visually appealing way. It is a way to add a bit of creativity but without the complication of external shots or props. Depending on the colour, an experienced photographer will use the correct lighting and advise on clothing for the subject to stand out and look their best.
Bold can be beautiful
Bold black backgrounds are strong, artistic and a bit different from the norm. They can look visually stunning, when created with the right lighting. Again, a skilled photographer will advise on styling and even make up, to ensure the most beautiful shot.
The perfect setting
Depending on the objectives of your photoshoot, an office-based or lifestyle headshot could be appropriate. It’s a great way to achieve a completely bespoke look and feel, to set it in your office or convey a lifestyle aspect which reflects you. Team shots in offices can be creative and help build the brand. They can include marketing items such as business stands or posters, fun or quirky props like the office pet, be based in different locations around the office, or in situ at desks or in meeting rooms, as appropriate. Lifestyle shots can pick up on elements of your interests and personality which are special to you and promote your personal brand.
Classic and classy
Always classic and always flattering, black and white headshots will never go out of fashion. While black and white photography can be a way to minimise elements of your looks you’re not happy with, it stands strong as an artistic, eye-catching and visually beautiful style. While often the preferred choice of professionals in creative and artistic industries, black and white really does have universal appeal.
A breath of fresh air
For something different, you might consider an environmental/outside headshot. Enabling natural light, this can be highly flattering but also more exciting and unusual than the classic studio background. Whether in a beautiful green setting like countryside, a City setting or in your own personal, special space like a garden or balcony, this natural look can promote your individuality and personal brand very effectively.
Bring out the real you
A highly effective and bold, innovative way to promote who you are and what you do is to opt for a personality with prop headshot. For those with a bit of character and bravery, carrying this off well can enable your headshot to become the centrepiece of your brand identity, campaign or website. It offers great creative scope, as it can incorporate emotion or humour and convey a genuine love and passion for what you do.
Whether you’re a florist with a flower, a hairdresser with a blowdryer, a chef with her food or a pest controller with a mousetrap, this style of headshot offers the most awesome and high impact opportunity to raise your business profile.
With so much choice – what style of headshot is truly you? If you’d like to chat through the options, I’m here to help.