How to Look Like the Candidate to Hire in Your Professional Business Headshot

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Sep 26, 2018

Sep 26, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

You may have thought you were finished posing for photos when you graduated high school and your mother hung that awkward headshot above the mantle--but think again!

Many companies view the professional headshot as an essential element of an employee's online profile. As a result, lots of companies arrange for a photographer to snap periodic staff headshots to be used in online platforms and other company materials.

You may not love the idea of having your photo taken but the fact of the matter is, a good professional headshot can actually work wonders for your interactions with clients and overall marketability.

That said, doesn't it seem like a good idea to do everything you can to look your best in your business headshot?

Here are 5 of our best tips to help you take an awesome professional photo!

1. Practice in the Mirror

Lots of people stress about having their photo taken. One great way to combat that stress is to give yourself plenty of time to practice before the big headshot-taking-day arrives!

Yeah, yeah--it may sound a little...funny. Practicing? To have a photo taken?

But think about it: You practice for tests. You practice for interviews. You practice for presentations.

Why shouldn't you practice for presenting yourself professionally in your business headshot?

Practicing having your photo taken in the mirror can mean a lot of things. It might mean trying out different ways of styling your hair to decide which might be more photogenic; it might mean trying on different smiles or angles of tilting or turning your head.

However it is you decide to practice, rehearsing for your professional headshot may be just the strategy you need to look just how you want to in your photo. It can give you an idea of how your photo might turn out, and it can give you the chance to realize that your chin looks a little weird when you turn your head at that angle.

Overall, practicing your poses in the mirror can work wonders for helping you feel more at ease when it comes time to take your headshot. Give it a try!

2. Dress Well

Whether you like it or not, the way people dress has a big impact on how they interact with others and especially so in a professional setting.

When it comes to your professional headshot, you should always dress to impress. Even though you may take care to dress well every day, your professional headshot is no time to let your wardrobe game go.

Remember--in a lot of cases, your headshot will be potential clients' or hiring managers' first impression of you. Take care to make it a good one.

When choosing the wardrobe for your professional headshot, there are a few additional factors to consider. Do your best to avoid busy patterns or tiny stripes, since cameras sometimes have a hard time processing these and they may come out looking funky. Keep in mind the fact that many company headshots end up printed in black-and-white ink, so make an effort to choose fabrics that contrast with each other and with your skin.

And remember--in terms of wardrobe choices, it's always a good idea to get a trusted second opinion!

3. Put Thought into Your Makeup

If you wear makeup every day, this tip may be a no-brainer. Even so, it's sometimes worth the reminder.

If you are a person who wears a bit of makeup on an average day at the office, great! Plan a couple of extra minutes in the morning to be sure you have time to get it right and that you'll be happy with the way it looks on camera.

If wearing makeup isn't your thing, it may be worth taking a second to reconsider on the morning of your headshot. Oftentimes, the artificial lights photographers use when taking headshots can cause a subject's skin to look oily or sweaty. A light dusting of powder makeup can help make the surface of your skin less-susceptible to glare.

Whatever you decide to do with your makeup on the day of your headshot, take care to ensure that it still looks professional and that you look like you normally do in professional settings. Your headshot probably isn't the place to debut all the things you learned from that Lady Gaga makeup tutorial!

4. Spend Time on Your Hair

When's the last time you took a great, natural-looking photo, only to realize your hair looked all wonky? Every time you ever took a photo? Annoying.

While it's easy for professional photographers to zap a blemish or two when editing photos, getting hair to look right after the photo has been taken is no small feat, and many photographers won't even have the time to try. It's important that you're happy with the way your hair looks by the time you get in front of the camera.

Often, people rush in to have their headshots taken, only to find their hair has been rustled by the wind or the bustle of the day.

When it's picture day, you should take extra measures with your hair. Spend a little extra time on it in the morning.

Consider putting a light amount of product in it to help hold your styling in place. Oh--and pack your hairbrush or comb in your bag so you can give your 'do a nice refresher right before it's your turn to say "Cheese!"

5. Be Professional but Natural

One of the most complicated things about taking a good professional headshot is striking that seemingly impossible balance: Professional versus Natural.

When posing for a professional headshot, you'll want to strike a pose and posture that communicates the sort of professional you are. You want to show viewers that you take yourself and your work seriously.

But you don't want to look stiff or unapproachable, either.

You want to come off as genuine and natural in your business headshot--not as some intimidating, stiff professional clients and hiring managers would rather not have to interact with.

Do your best to come off as equal parts professional and natural in your professional headshot.

Smile! Pose with good posture, but relax your muscles. Consider having a coworker accompany you if they help you feel more at ease.

Remember to be professional, but be yourself, too. Hiring a great photographer can be the key to achieving this--check out more info on how the right professional can help!

Want More on How to Get the Perfect Business Headshot?

The perfect business headshot can do a lot of good things for you and your professional career. If done and used right, it can help you to build trust and relationships with clients when you're not even around!

For more information on how to get the best possible business headshot, and other important career and workplace advice, check out our page!