How To Achieve A Killer Head Shot: Part 2

Sophie here, doing a quick into: In last week’s How To Achieve A Killer Headshot Part 1, I explained how it plays a major role in the way you and your business are perceived online. In Part 2 one of our Prim’d Partners Jacquelyn Warner Photography is sharing some tips oh how to get a killer headshot. Jacquelyn is a Bay Area photographer capturing portraiture, commercial and fine art. You can read more about her or connect with her in her bio below. Today, she's explaining how to prep for your shoot, and how to get the best results on shoot day. Spending a little time rushing around on the day will allow for a little prep time and a lot less stress.

1. Compare Favorite Photos of Yourself & Others

The first question I have for clients is: "What kind of head shots are you drawn to?" As Sophie mentioned in last week's post, the kind of dream customers you serve might tell you a lot about the level formality or casual you're going for.

If you're not sure how you want to present yourself, my first tip is a little exercise:  

  • Find photos of yourself that you like. Gather them together in a place where you can see them (file on your desktop is fine)
  • Next look for head shots of other people that you like.  Gather those all together.
  • Next ask yourself, “Why am I drawn to these images? Are these images more structured?  Are they more candid?"  Look for patterns in what you're attracted to.

If you’ve told yourself that you want to come across very professional and buttoned up, but all the head shots you like are taken outside with casual dress (or vice versa) this could be very telling. Perhaps what you're actually drawn to are more casual photos? This exercise can help you visualize exactly what look and feel you like.

After this exercise, if you're not sure what look you're going to need, you can cover all of your bases by allowing for both formal and informal options with dress change and an alternate setup at your location. Just be sure to chat with your photographer about this first, so they can plan your time together.

How To Achieve A Killer Head Shot: Part 2 - Prim'd Marketing Blog


2. Find a Photographer You Like & Trust

Find a photographer whose work in the past is something you’re fond of. Plan to take some time to talk to them and ask them about their process.  Make sure they will stand behind their work if you don’t love the results.  Reshoots are rare, but sometimes necessary, so make sure they will honor that by asking in advance.  The best way to avoid that problem, however, is to ask if they are willing to allow time during the shoot to preview on a laptop. A photographer will need you to communicate this request ahead of time, so don’t be afraid to ask!

3. Self Care Will Help You Prepare

This might sound cliché, but in the days leading up to the shoot be sure to take care of yourself.  A little exercise, lots of water, eat well and take it easy on the cocktails and wine the night before.  Alcohol might solve some problems, but looking fabulous on shoot day is not one of them.

4. Hire Professional Help

Carve out an hour or two to get yourself ready to ensure the best results in your pictures. If you’re not great at doing your own make up or hair then hire a professional. Think of it as a mini wedding day.  I NEVER have a professional do my hair and make up, but I did on my wedding day.  Why?  Because I wanted to make sure that what I see with my eye translates to the image.  Professionals can help with that.  Be sure to give them direction on how you would like to enhance your natural features, such as making the color of your eyes pop or bringing out your natural curls and keeping frizz at bay. You don’ t want to show up for your headshot with big hair and bright red lipstick if it isn’t you.

5. Be Comfortable

The hair and make up prep leads us onto wardrobe. In addition to looking professional, it is also important to be comfortable! If you feel awkward or stiff,  it will be picked up in your body language, and your pictures can come out with high shoulders or a strained smile. 

Pick out one or two outfits that bring out your confidence. This could be something brand new, or it could be something you wear all the time and always get compliments. Just be sure that you feel great when you put it on.

Location can also have a surprising impact on how comfortable you are in front of the camera. If you're a private or shy person, shooting in front of a fountain in a public place might not be the right location for you. If you have an office you love, or if your house that can accommodate the shoot, then do it there.  

Finally, invite a friend who makes you laugh. If you hate having your picture taken, it can really help to have someone behind the photographer to focus on. Plus, being around someone who brings out your best side will help you enjoy the process, which will shine through in the pictures.

6. Take a Break & Review Results 

Don’t be afraid to take a break.  Smiling and posing in front of the camera can get exhausting.  Ask for 5 or 10 minutes break when you need it, as your fatigue will come across in the pictures. As mentioned in tip number 2, taking a break will also allow you and your photographer to review what has been shot, and get a good sense of what images are working and which ones aren’t. If you don’t see something you love, you can go back to shooting with a new plan and energy. It allows time to tweak flyway hair, adjust your wardrobe choice, or rethink the backdrop.

Allowing more time for prep for your head shots will mean less time rushing around and reduce stress on the day. Hiring professional help and reviewing the process during the shoot will prevent a reshoot and achieve better results. A professional head shot is a major part of a cohesive online presence, so taking the time to do it right will serve you and your business well. 

Jacquelyn Warner - Prim'd Marketing Blog

Jacquelyn Warner is a professional photographer who captures portraiture, commercial and fine art, specializing in finding the pretty in everything. 

Jacquelyn Warner Photography is based in San Francisco and partners with Prim'd Marketing on branded photo shoots and website design projects.  

Connect with her Instagram or Facebook


Get FULL Access to our Resource Library


Get FULL ACCESS to our curated and most powerful worksheets!

Powered by ConvertKit