Many people assume that headshots are for actors or actresses to help casting directors choose if they’re the right fit for a role, but that isn’t the case at all. Headshots are a powerful way to market yourself. You could be a business person, banker, model, realtor, IT professional, lawyer or perhaps you just want a good clean LinkedIn profile image of yourself. In this post I explain how you should prepare for a headshot session with a professional photographer.
Picking a Photographer
No two photographers are the same. Each one has its own individuality including shooting and editing style. They also have their own, what I like to call, ‘camera-side manner’. Maybe one photographer is very laid back with their clients and like to keep a casualness to their shoots, while others are more stoic and like to keep a more business-like setting to their sessions. Does either style make one less professional? Absolutely not. It’s all a matter of preference.
Photographers also come with various levels of expertise. This should not be confused with how long a photographer has been shooting. In my experience, I have met photographers that have only been shooting for a few short months and have some amazing work, while I have met some photographers that have been shooting for 20+ years and their work can be lacking. Don’t be fooled by the length of time they have been shooting. Judge by the quality of their work.
So, when looking to hire a photographer, your best bet is to look at their portfolio. Nowadays many photographers have an online portfolio that you can view at your leisure. Earlier I mentioned quality. Everybody wants the best quality headshots, right? Well, quality will cost you. It’s like the old saying, ‘You Get What You Pay For.’ This is very true with not just headshot photography, but all specializations. Does that mean you’re going to expect to spend thousands of dollars? Not at all. Headshots range widely from $75-$800.
Different Types of Headshots
Photographers have distinctive styles of shooting, but also be conscious of the style that you want. Headshots come in different orientations and styles. It’s your preference that will be the deciding factor of what you’ll receive. Below are some styles of headshots. Let your photographer know what your preference is before booking. Let them know what color backgrounds you want before you book so that the photographer can order any backdrops that are needed. For indoor headshots I always try to shoot on grey or white. White and grey backdrops are cleaner and better looking in my opinion. They allow the subject to stand out.
1. Vertical Studio Headshot
This is probably the most common style of headshot you’ll see. It’s vertical in orientation. Most headshots are typically closer to the face than the example above, but some people like to show their clothing in the shot letting your market get a better sense of who you are and what your style is. The backgrounds can come in assorted colors and textures but like I mentioned above, grey and white tend to have a cleaner, modern look.
2. Horizontal Studio Headshot
Horizontal instead of the traditional vertical orientation is quickly becoming the type widely used by professionals. This is the style of headshot that I personally like to shoot. This style I find works great for the internet. It looks great on a website or as your profile image on different social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
3. Environmental Headshot
Environmental headshots are basically shots that are taken outside of a studio. It can be indoors or outdoors and shot with natural light or artificial light. This image was taken outside of a building in downtown Winston Salem (not that you can tell what it is). These I find are the more casual types of shots, if you’re looking to show a more laid-back side of you. You’ll know a good outdoors headshot when you find that the background is blurry separating you from the background. This is a photography term known as . Bokeh is great, and the more the better.