For Femmepreneurs: 10 Pieces of Advice to Help You Get the Best Headshots for Your Business
One thing is for sure: if you own a business, you need a good, clear headshot. More than ever these days, consumers not only want to know the what of your business, but the who, why, and how. We don't just want to buy a product or service, we want to support someone we care about.
Yet at the same time, a selfie just won't cut it anymore - we are inundated with iPhone photos, so finding a way to stand out is a must. But does that mean you can have your friend snap one photo of you on a DSLR in your OOTD against that one blank wall in your apartment? Not necessarily.
Keep in mind you also don't want your headshot to look completely random in comparison to your brand. Just like with every other aspect of your business, you want to attract the right audience. So how do you take a nice photo of yourself that looks professional yet natural, all the while conveying what it is you do and how you do it?
Are these aspects you've considered for your profile photos? Fear not - these things are all important, but there's no need to stress too much about it. Your photographer can direct you in these areas, but there are lots of steps you can take to help the process go smoothly and end up with a sparkling headshot you and your fans love!
STEPS TO PREP - Before the Shoot:
Find a photographer whose work gets you really excited and encapsulates how you want your brand visuals to look. Then really clarify a concept for yourself and communicate with your photographer!
Start with a virtual vision board. Go crazy saving images for inspiration. On Pinterest, you can create a shared board. On Instagram, you can create a collection in your bookmarked posts. Is there someone that immediately cames to mind when you think of a nice headshot? Save their picture. From there, you can search #headshot, or hashtags that describe your vibe. You can also add images of your own products, portfolio, or website to help create a theme. Then of course you'll want to share all those images with your photographer so that they can have a better idea of your vision. Remember that everyone will have different expectations going into any shoot so communication is crucial to avoid disappointment.
Agree on poses that feel authentic to your business. Work with your photographer to find images you want to emulate in terms of mood. Would you like to come across as powerful and in charge, or friendly and informal? Do you want a strong, stable, and simple pose, or something candid? This could depend on whether your brand takes itself very seriously or if you like to run things with a loose freedom. How do you want your clients to see you? Making sure your photographer is on the same page as you will help them to instruct you while on camera.
Incorporate elements that align with your business. For example, if you yourself are a photographer, consider including your camera in your profile picture. If you work in weddings, perhaps you want to be in a floral setting. Maybe you're an artist who uses a lot of bright color; in this case, you probably wouldn't want your main headshot to be set in front of a dark brick wall. For further consideration: is your brand light and airy, or dark and moody? Let all of this symbolism guide you and your photographer on finding good surroundings for your photos.
Dress for success. When thinking about the core message of your business, how should it inform your appearance? Are you a luxury service, or a more cozy and personable brand? It's great to wear a nice dress or suit if you want to attract high-paying clients, but it may not be the best route for a personal trainer who can usually be found in workout gear. For some, a t-shirt and jeans is perfectly acceptable if you want your customers to know that you are a no-fuss, super chill business owner who loves working from home. Remember: your vibe attracts your tribe.
Narrow down your choices by sticking to your brand colors. When it comes to finalizing your outfit and location, never neglect the few core colors you've already chosen to represent your brand. Your headshots will be practically everywhere from your business cards to your website and every online platform in between. You need everything to match! All your visual elements should flow seamlessly together to create a clear picture as to who you are. This is not only visually appealing - it builds trust!
PUT IN WORK - The Day Of:
This is where your natural beauty gets to come out to play. A little bit of preparation and practice goes a long way toward building confidence in front of the camera!
When it comes to hair and makeup, try to look just slightly better than usual. What can your audience realistically expect if they were to meet you in the flesh? Whatever the answer is, don't stray too far from that! I hardly wear makeup if at all, so I don't go full glam in my business photos. This allows people to not only recognize me in person, but get an honest perception of my vibe just by looking at my profile.
Scrutinize your clothing for any imperfections. Just play it safe and assume that every detail will show up on camera, and try to avoid any mishaps by being on guard for wardrobe malfunctions ahead of time. You'll want to look professional; for example: no wrinkles, no bra straps, and try not to wear anything susceptible to sweat stains. We all have these problems but be considerate to your photographer and don't expect them to magically solve these problems in post! Editing does wonders only to an extent, and you don't want to be charged for extra requests!
Make use of a full-length mirror! After putting on your outfit, move around in front of the mirror to get an idea of what poses or motions flatter your body best. (You can also do this ahead of time, when choosing an outfit!) Time to channel Tyra Banks. Close your eyes and attempt to memorize what these positions feel like. If you are going for a very natural look that doesn't feel posed at all and need some ideas on how to do that, check out this post here.
Find the right smile. Will you flirt with the camera, put on a big cheesy grin, or flat-out laugh? Decide what represents your real personality first. Remember that the goal is to build relationships, so again, you want to be recognizable in person. Be sure to include your eyes in on that smile! Helpful tip: lightly cocking your head to the side can sometimes look more warm or natural.
And last but not least - remember good posture! This is something that sounds obvious, but is oh-so-easy to lose track of for many of us! I think appearing professional and in charge in your photos depends a lot on this one simple feature. If you're like me and have bad posture even when you THINK you're being mindful of it, think of this instruction: pull your body up from an imaginary string at the top of your head. It's not just about rolling your shoulders back - your entire torso should be stretched straight!
Want to see some examples of how all of this can play out? Here's a shoot we did for Kelsey Williams Weddings + Events. She did a great job of picking an outfit and a venue that suited her business and appealed to her client. And her posture was always on point!
Phew; that was a lot of info! But in reality, it's just about keeping your brand's focus in mind for every business decision you make, and working WITH your photographer (instead of expecting them to read your mind). It's likely you will want to get new headshots every six months or so anyway, so after a couple go-arounds this will all be second nature to you! You got this girlfriend!