10 Tips for a Perfect Professional Headshot (& a Discount)
Whether you’re a business owner, a job seeker or just looking to get a good photo for your LinkedIn profile, a professional headshot is a must.
I’ve had a few professional headshots taken over the years. I had some taken while getting my pictures taken for a CD release, and then some taken just to have on my blog and LinkedIn profile. Some photos I’ve liked, some I haven’t liked. But not surprisingly, the best ones I’ve had done were the ones for which I invested some time – and money.
I’ve worked with several photographers over the years, but honestly the best photos I’ve had taken were taken this year by Nell from Pink Parasol Photography, located in St. Paul. Not only did she capture all my best angles, but the session included professional hair and makeup right in the studio which made a huge difference.
If you’re thinking of getting professional photos taken, I HIGHLY recommend it. It can do so much for your career and for your self-esteem! And when you do get your photos taken, be sure to prepare.
Here are 10 things I’ve learned from my experiences getting my professional photos taken and what I recommend! (Photos below are taken from Pink Parasol Photography’s portfolio.)
- Make sure the focus is on you.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but a background can be more distracting than you think. Your face should fill up more than half of the space, and the background should be basic like a plain wall. Props aren’t necessary unless simple like a plant or a bookshelf, or if they have to do with your business like a computer.
- Don’t get your hair cut or colored right before the photo session.
It’s ideal to have your hair done at least a week before so your hair can grow a bit and fall into place more naturally. I had my hair done a few weeks before my last session, with a quick bang trim one week before.
- Get your makeup professionally done before your session.
If your budget doesn’t allow for this or you are confident doing it yourself, you can get good results if you practice and go for a natural look. However, I have done sessions both ways – doing my own makeup, and having it done for me – and I was way happier after having it done professionally. The advantage is that a professional can bring out your features for the camera perfectly while still making you look like yourself. (Oh, and get your nails done. I didn’t get them done this last time and wish I had – though most pictures don’t show my hands, some do but my hands didn’t look as good as they could have.)
- Smile and look approachable.
It may seem for a business photo that a serious look is appropriate, but serious can easily be mistaken for angry. A happy person is more likely to attract a potential employer than someone who looks stern. Stand or sit up straight but relax your shoulders, and smile warmly, both with your mouth and your eyes.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
Getting a good sleep beforehand will reduce any dark circles under your eyes or tiredness that you don’t want showing up on your photos. And of course, you’ll feel your best!
- Eat a good meal beforehand and drink plenty of water.
These things will affect how your photos turn out. Plus, your session may last longer than you expect. Mine lasted a few hours so I’m glad that I ate well beforehand and had water with me. My photographer also provided snacks which helped too.
- Use natural and professional lighting.
The best time of day to get portrait photos is the couple hours after sunrise and the couple hours before sunset, but you can get great photos taken any time of day, even indoors with the right backdrop and camera settings. (A professional photographer will know how to maximize natural light whether indoors or out.)
- Keep your posture open.
Keep your back straight and don’t cross your arms. Your body language should show you are open and confident. Practice poses in front of a mirror to get an idea of what poses portray you the way you want.
- Get new headshots regularly.
Keep your photos up-to-date, and don’t think it’s better to repeatedly use photos of yourself when you were younger. My recent pictures are way better than ones I had taken of my younger self years ago! (And pssst…Photoshop is great, too.)
- Hire a professional photographer.
I’m a frugal gal so I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t believe it. But it really makes a difference when you hire a professional photographer vs. having a friend take your pictures (assuming they’re not a professional). I’ve had friends take my pictures and as wonderful as they were for doing this, I just could never get as good a picture as I’ve gotten by a professional.
Plus, if during your photo shoot you are tired or have a hair out of place, a professional should be able to photoshop any of that out.
Hire the Photographer I Recommend and Get a Discount!
I personally recommend Pink Parasol Photography in St. Paul for any of your photography needs. Nell is the owner and she works with professional makeup artists who come to her studio to do hair and makeup for her clients before their sessions. My experience this spring really brought out my best and I wrote about my experience here:
The price for a professional headshot session is $500 and professional hair and makeup is $180.
And now through October 31st, 2019, receive a complimentary professional hair styling and makeup application with your purchase of a headshot session (a $180 value!). Just mention Twin Cities Frugal Mom when you book your session!
Pink Parasol Photography’s website:
Pink Parasol Photography on Facebook:
(Disclosure: I collaborated with Pink Parasol Photography for this post. I did pay for my photo session and hair and makeup, which was 100% worth it. However, additional photos were provided for this review and future posts.)