Cary Headshot Professional Photographer

8 Tips for Getting a Great Professional Headshot

Are you ready for the Illuminate conference this year? Are you presenting your best self, not only in person, but also online? You are the face of your business, and what better way to represent your own business than by showing a professional, beautiful photograph! A professional headshot will help convey a feeling about who you are and your customers want to see the face behind the idea so that they can trust you,  and relate to you and your values.

For this blog post, I asked Cary if she could recommend someone who needed a new headshot.  She sent me Lindsey, the owner of Piecefully Home (Lindsey had LOTS to say about this experience; keep reading for her thoughts).  Before each session, I send a brief questionnaire to get to know the client, and find out exactly what they are looking for and what they hope to achieve. Lindsey told me that she wanted her headshots to be different, casual and approachable.   As we worked our way through our session, I gave Lindsey a few tips to get just the right angles, poses, and expressions.

Here are a few of the tips:

Tip 1: Choose clothing that works for your business and audience.  Lindsey’s shirt is whimsical and colorful, just like her business. It also really makes her blue eyes pop- win, win!

Tip 2:  Consider your background/location.  A business executive may want an office setting, a lawyer may like being surrounded by law books, but we chose an outdoor setting for the color and a more casual feel.Apex-Headshot-Photographer-10 Tip 3: Squinch your eyes.  I learned this tip from a master of headshot photography, Peter Hurley. This is a combination of squint and pinch (your lower eyelids)- it makes you look like you have some knowledge to share, and less like a deer in headlights.

Tip 4: Give your hands something to do!  Put them on your neck, or chin, or in your pockets.  If you can see them, keep them soft, without any tension.Cary-Headshot-Photographer-13 Tip 5: Elongate your neck by raising your chin and poke out your jaw a little.  It feels unnatural, but will give you a nice, strong jawline.

Tip 6: Tilt your head a little and turn your shoulders so they aren’t square with the camera.  Dropping your front shoulder a little has a slimming effect.Apex-Headshot-Photographer-11 Tip 7 : The lean.  Find a wall or rail.  Helps for a more relaxed posture and adds visual interest. Definitely makes you look casual, approachable and friendly.

Tip 8: Sitting poses also help to relax your subject and add visual interest.Cary-Headshot-Photographer-12 Here’s what Lindsey had to say about our session:

“Hey y’all! I’m Lindsey and I’m the owner of Piecefully Home, an online petite boutique of home accessories. I am married to my husband, Grant, and we have three glorious children, ages 13, 10, and 5. For the 8 years I’ve been selling online, I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with all the ensuing social media. I love being able to connect quickly with friends and customers, but I hate the dreaded profile pictures. I’m not anywhere near the size I was pre-baby and my self confidence took a plummet after my last pregnancy when I developed a nine finger diastastis that left me with a constant five month pregnancy size belly. There were no profile pictures of my face anywhere. So, when I was asked if I would be willing to be a model for Amy and her professional headshot blog post, I said yes, even though inside I cringed. I was worried I was going to ruin every shot she took..I always blink, my mouth will be doing it’s weird mouth thing and my hair will be wild and unruly. I had no doubt in her ability, since I had checked out her site, it was all about my lack of self confidence.

However, the photo shoot was amazing! Amy knew exactly what she was doing. She gave me great tips on posing, she knew how to get the right lighting and backgrounds, and made me feel so comfortable. Which is good, since it could’ve felt weird having photos taken in downtown Apex like I was some kind of rock star. I was a nervous wreck waiting for the proofs, but when I received them I was floored! For the first time in my life I had pictures of myself that I loved, pictures I would be proud to post. They were exactly what I wanted. Really, how often does THAT happen in life? I felt so pretty. I was able to look past all the negative self talk and see myself how others see me. The photo shoot with Amy was exactly what this mama needed. On the “personal, deep in my soul” side, it was so special to have this photoshoot to mark a change in my life, because it just happened to be my youngest son’s first real day of kindergarten. Plus, I was able to feel beautiful and confident, which I desperately needed. On the “professional, my business needs to grow up” side, I can’t believe how much better my social media sites look now. I am wanting my business to take on a bigger presence in my life and, really, the first big step is making it LOOK like a real business. People buy handmade or small business because they like supporting a person instead of a corporation. Now, my customers can see me, and not just a logo. The response has been so positive and the results are far better than anything I or my husband could’ve done on our cell phones! I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity.”

For me, as a photographer, the outcome was better than I could have expected.  After our session I was very pleased, and knew that we’d gotten some great pictures. However, I had no idea that Lindsey was feeling any of that before our session, and to know that I helped her feel beautiful and confident is the ultimate reward.  And the number one reason why I love photographing women- to remind them (us) that we are still beautiful even when we’ve forgotten how that feels. Especially as moms, sometimes we forget because we push ourselves to the bottom of the list.  Your true beauty is in there, and as long as you’re wearing a smile, you’ll be beautiful. 🙂

Amy Hill
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  1. Pingback: A few things: First days, Fall Mini’s + Features! » Cary Raleigh Senior Portrait and Family Portrait Photography by 627 Photography

  2. I’m getting professional headshots this weekend, so these tips will be great to know to make sure that they turn out great. I liked what you said about choosing the right clothes for my audience and for the business I’m in. This will make my pictures look more professional and appealing to the people who will be looking at my headshots.

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