Taking a headshot is easy! I mean how hard could it be? One person, sitting/standing still, looking towards you, and all you need is one or two good pictures. Easy right?
if your answer to that was yes. then clearly you haven’t taken a headshot before.
Headshot photography can be quite daunting. People generally are very critical when it comes to their own photographs, and feel nervous. And them looking at you for direction and the silence and everything can make the experience really intense. Still, there are few simple tips that will make it a lot easier for you and the person you’re taking a picture of.
First, let’s clear a few things…
What is a headshot?
To put it simply, a headshot is a picture of a person’s face, and usually includes their shoulders too but nothing more. They are mostly used for professional purposes and only includes one person.
Headshot or a Portrait?
A lot of customers don’t even know the difference between the two. But you being the professional need to know exactly what you’re going to deliver. A portrait is more generic and may include body as well. Whereas headshot photography, as the name suggests, is primarily focused on the head alone. Make sure you clear this out and know what your customer wants as they might be confusing the two terms.
The photography market is quite saturated, even here in St. Petersburg, FL, you’ll find a ton of professional photographer providing all kinds of services, including headshot photography. With social media platforms such as Instagram, there are more and more photographers entering the market every day. Which means you need to do things differently to stand out. One thing you can do is make your client’s experience with you memorable. These tips will help you achieve that and help you shoot great headshots along the way
1. Consult before your session
Have a consultation session before you start anything. Know what is the purpose of the picture, where will it be used? and what style are they looking for? Interacting with your clients will prepare them for the session and minimize the awkwardness while taking the shot. Make sure they are relaxed, know what they are going to get and don’t have unreal expectations. Find out what profession they belong to, so you can decide what background will be appropriate.
2. Help them choose what to wear
As mentioned earlier, people are nervous and quite critical when it comes to their own photos. And the fact that the picture might be for something formal is like a cherry on top. So, it’s your job to help them through the process. Generally, clothes that are neutral without any bright colors are the best choice for a headshot. If the picture needs to be formal, make them wear formal clothes. Have a few spare jackets as people tend to forget them, especially during summer.
3. Studio is not everything
If you’re new in this business, there’s a huge possibility that you don’t have your own studio. But don’t let that discourage you. You don’t need a studio to take great Headshots. Play with your surroundings. Even professional photographers with great studio sometimes use their surroundings to mix it up.
4. Encourage them often
It might seem silly. But small phrases like “you’re doing great!” or “hold that, that pose is looking great!” can really help a tensed person. But don’t sound like you don’t mean it. It can have a really negative effect on your client if they realize that you’re not being authentic.
5. Think out of the box!
Change things up! Every person out there is different so treat them differently. Some people look better sitting than standing. Make sure you vary your poses. Play with lighting and background. You probably will take a lot of bad pictures but it’s okay. When all you need is one good picture then taking a few bad ones is not a big deal.