How To Photograph A Great Headshot

Category: Photography


A man taking a photograph.







Back in March, we had the pleasure of photographing attendees’ head shots at the North Shore Business Expo. This was our fourth year in a row doing it, and it got us thinking about what makes a good headshot so here are some key things to remember.  

Speak to the subject before headshot day. By doing this, you will build a relationship with the subject and find out what they do professionally. Learning what they do for a living can help you generate ideas for poses and the type of backdrop you should use that would most appropriate. For example an attorney’s headshot should have a neutral backdrop whereas a tattoo artist can have a more colorful and unconventional one.

Have the client think about their outfit beforehand. They should dress for their profession. Regardless of a person’s profession, neutral clothes are generally the best option to go with as they don’t distract from the subject’s face. You should advise the subject to not wear a top with a logo on it and to also stick with something they normally wear. Remember, your head shot is your chance to show off who you really are.

Make sure you have good lighting (even if you’re shooting outdoors). This tip is an absolute must. You want to capture the subject in the best light possible. You don’t want there to be any harsh shadows.  

Blur out the background. Whether you use a backdrop or take the shoot outside, there should be a clear separation from the background. Put the f-stop on your camera to a high f-number so the head shot is highly focused on the subject. You want the subject to be the focal point.

Frame the head shot from the chest up. A head shot is just that. A shot of someone’s face.

Make sure there is a focus on the subject’s eyes.  As a photographer, you’ll want to ensure your subject’s eyes display some emotion. Try chatting them up about what excites them so there is a sparkle in their eyes. Having a conversation with them will also help them relax so they also don’t look stiff and nervous.

Sperling Interactive has taken hundreds of professional headshots. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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