4 Tips for Acing Your Professional Headshot

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If you’re using a selfie you took in your car as your networking photo, it’s time for a serious upgrade. Your business headshot is a branding tool. It’s often the first impression many people have of your personal – and even employer’s – brand.

Consider what your current headshot says to potential business contacts about you and your brand.

While investing in a professional headshot is your best bet to ensure that it makes the grade, you can still take your own headshot (albeit with the help of a friend).

Here are some strategies to ensure yours will say that you’re someone people should trust with their business.

1. Be Mindful of Your Background

Too many people don’t take what’s behind them into consideration when shooting a photo of any kind, but it’s absolutely essential if you’re taking a headshot.

Aim for something neutral that won’t compete for the viewer’s attention, such as a blank wall or a tree. Also keep an eye out for anything that might appear to be sprouting out of your head, like a tree branch or painting.

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2. Keep Your Clothing Simple

Business attire is best for a business headshot. Avoid patterns, as they sometimes don’t render well on camera. Bold colors can work, but take a few test shots first to confirm the color doesn’t clash or make you look pale.

If you’re going to the trouble of taking headshots, it’s nice to take several variations in one go. Get some outfit options you can easily change up, like a jacket that you can remove in one shot, or a scarf to add a different look for another one.

3. Have Fun with (Relevant) Props

It’s hard to communicate everything you want in a headshot, but sometimes you can hit the bullseye with a small detail. A writer might be sitting at her laptop. An accountant could have a calculator in the shot. Small details can not only illustrate what you do, but also make your headshot stand out.

4. Play with the Angle

Many people say that having your photo taken higher up than your head is most flattering. This may or may not be the case for you. Have your photographer-of-the-day play with angles, having you turn your head slightly to the right, looking up at the camera, looking down, et cetera. Later during the edit process you can choose the one that makes you look the most flattering.

The key to a good headshot session is taking tons of photos. Hundreds even! You can winnow the selection down when you can view them on your camera, but aim for as much variation in expression, background, wardrobe, angles and lighting as possible to give you many options.

Put your best face forward – all of the time.

Now that you know how to make a first impression with your headshot, learn how to develop your influence through the social conversations you engage in each day. Download 6 Steps for Harnessing Real Time Influence for tips on building your authority, collaborating with influencers, and leading the conversation on topics that matter.

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About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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