5 Best Practices for Shooting Corporate Headshots
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In the age of social media, photos of ourselves are everywhere, and as a professional, your clients expect to see who they’re talking to. As a result, corporate headshots are becoming increasingly important for individuals, small, and large businesses alike to make a great first impression, humanize their brand, and tell their story.
Regardless of whether you’re a business or an individual looking for a new challenge, presenting yourself in the best light with a professional corporate headshot will help you better connect with your audience and land the job or project of your dreams. Here are our five top tips to up your headshot game and create professional-looking photos you’ll love.
Nail the Lighting
Lighting is one of the most important aspects to consider for headshots. Without great lighting, it’ll be difficult to nail your photoshoot and create successful images. There are two ways you can go about lighting: either use natural light for your headshots or a flash.
If you’re taking the photos indoors and have a window where a lot of natural light filters through, rocking that light can enhance your headshots. The nice thing about natural light photography is that it’s easy to work with and it prevents you from having to fiddle around with your equipment.
Broad lighting with natural light is particularly flattering as it helps fade wrinkles and removes the shadows from blemishes. Besides, if you have a north or south-facing room and can pick the right time of the day where non-directional light pours into the room, your fantastic results will be easily replicated over time.
If you’re shooting outside, avoid direct sunlight exposure or spotty light and choose shade instead. You should also make sure to disable the flash from your camera or phone and harness the beautiful natural light the outdoors provides. This will produce a gorgeous photo that will appear both polished and professional.
Unfortunately, you might not have access to a big window or perfectly diffused sunlight. However, to compensate for the lack of natural light, you can use the flash on your camera.
Two of the key things to keep in mind when shooting with a flash are:
Use a Diffuser
You don’t want the photo to look like you used a flash. Therefore, you need to make the light disperse by bouncing it off a wall or a ceiling, aiming the flash behind the subject, or using a diffuser directly on the flash to soften the light.
Switch to Manual Flash Mode
This will allow you to adjust the flash’s strength depending on the situation. What’s nice about this feature is you don’t need to use exposure composition and this does not have any effect on your overall exposure or scene lighting.
Dress to Impress
What you wear in your headshot is particularly important because your personal style will reflect your personal branding and your company’s values. And if you’re a photographer, you should guide your clients on what they need to wear to make them look their best. It’s also important to be aware of what to avoid.
Here are a few tips for you:
Keep It Simple
Stick with solid and neutral colors. This way, your headshot won’t clash with your branding colors or any images you might add to your branding material. You should also avoid stripes or heavy patterns and keep your jewelry to a minimum.
Bring a Few Clothing Options
Include one bright color option to add some pop to some of your shots. This will give you a few different options to choose from.
Dressing Professionally is Essential
Ensure your clothes are the right fit, especially around your neck and shoulder. Other tips to keep in mind are wearing darker, more neutral colors. Bright colors and patterns can be distracting.
Make sure to wear something that reflects you, your personality, and who you are. For men, wearing a tie and a fitted dress shirt is the best option. Note that wearing a nice, tailored suit or dress is one of the trendiest looks for headshots these days. For women, avoid fluffy collars and make sure the one you pick is crisp, clean, and simple.
Your Makeup or Hairdo Shouldn’t Overpower the Photo
In other words, don’t overdo it. Your makeup and hair should be true to your brand and who you normally are. If you want to learn more about natural hair in portrait photography, check out this blog for ideas and inspiration.
Choose a Solid Color for Your Backdrop
When shooting corporate headshots, you should always choose a simple and solid color for your background. Our eyes are naturally attracted to the brightest part of an image. Therefore, busy backgrounds, bright lights, signs, or windows will take the attention away from your face, acting as a distraction for the viewer.
As a result, the best thing to do is to use a seamless studio background or a painted background. They’ll both enhance the professional look of the picture without taking the focus away from your headshot.
Smile for the Camera
Smiling in a headshot makes you appear friendly and approachable. After all, no one wants to work with someone who looks angry, sad, or too serious. Yet, the forced smile approach is not recommended either. A beautiful natural smile will instantly brighten up your headshot and make anyone who comes across it feel comfortable engaging with you.
Now, we know what you might be thinking. Whether you’re the photographer or the subject, producing a natural smile in front of a camera is not always easy. But as always, we have a few tips to help you get an authentic expression without spending hours practicing your smile in front of the mirror:
- Get a range of options, including closed and open-mouthed smiles and laughs.
- Relax your jaw muscles and your face in general.
- Don’t say cheese as it creates a forced smile. Instead, use Julie Andrew’s tips and say money. It will drop your jaw and create a much nicer smile.
- Think about something that makes you happy.
- Try and have fun with the photographer. Ask them to tell you a joke, for instance, and try not to focus too much on the camera.
- Don’t think about your chipped tooth or how you don’t like your smile. Remember that editing a chipped tooth is much easier than creating a brand-new smile on Photoshop.
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Edit Your Headshots
Now that you’ve got all these fantastic corporate headshots, it’s time to edit your pictures to give them that perfect engaging, yet professional feel. Some of the steps you can take when editing your headshots include:
- Tweak the exposure and white balance to adjust the brightness and the warmth of the photo. This will also help compensate for any tone variations.
- Add a little bit of contrast to sharpen the image.
- Work on teeth whitening but make sure you make subtle or moderate adjustments to avoid giving the headshot an over-processed look.
- Subtly soften the lines and blemishes.
- Soften the bags under the eyes to give a bit more life to the image.
- Remove shiny skin from the photo.
- Dodge and burn to darken or lighten specific areas such as the jawline or forehead.
- Use the liquifying tool to add a slimming effect to the face.
While editing is a key step of the process, we want to give you one piece of advice. Sure, enhancing photos by applying light changes is great. However, be careful not to overdo it. If not, you’ll end up with a headshot that doesn’t look authentic.
Follow all the tips mentioned above, and we’re confident that you’ll manage to capture the perfect headshot. Yet, most of all, remember to have fun with the process and be yourself. After all, the goal is for the headshots to reflect your personality!