Whether you need a headshot to serve as your Twitter avatar or to accompany your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, blog or official work bio, having a great portrait is more important than ever for today’s savvy professional. Here are five key tips to get that picture-perfect photo:
1. Do Your Homework!
Select a professional photographer who specializes in portraiture. To be sure that they’re the right fit for the portrait you‘re seeking, check out their photography samples online or visit their studio in person. When discussing your photo needs with your photographer, determine how long the portrait session will be, how many clothing changes will be included and whether it will be a studio or location setting. Also let them know if the portrait will be used primarily online, in print or both (this will help them decide which type of photo package you will need).
2. Provide Direction
Don’t be afraid to tell the photographer what you want. If you have examples of the types of shots or poses you’d like for your portrait, bring them with you for reference. Additionally, prior starting to your photo session, provide your photographer with answers to the following questions:
- Will your portraits be casual, formal or both?
- Do you prefer smiling or more serious shots?
- Would you like mostly close-ups, full body shots or both?
- Do you feel you photograph better from one side versus the other?
3. Dress for Success
When selecting outfits for your photo session, pick clothing that won’t quickly date the photograph. Likewise, remember to take the following fashion cues:
- Unless you’re going for artsy shot, avoid busy prints.
- For more formal shots, stick with solid, neutral colors and subtle prints.
- To minimize body size, go with darker colors.
- If you have a fuller face, a scoop or v neck line often works best.
- To create a classic look that really accentuates your face, wear a dark turtleneck.
No matter what you choose to wear, make sure that it’s totally comfortable and flattering.
4. Do It With Style
Along with making the right clothing choices, your hair, make-up, glasses, and jewelry also play a major role:
- Hair: get your hair cut and/or permed at least a week before your portrait session. This will give your hairstyle a chance to set and look natural. Avoid making a drastic hairstyle change right before your session. Instead, stick with what looks good on you and reflects your current style.
- Make-Up: keep your make-up natural and not overly-done. Don’t forget to bring your make-up along with you for touch-ups.
- Glasses: If you normally wear glasses, also wear them in your photographs. To avoid lens glare and reflections, ask your optician to temporarily remove the lenses, or see if you can borrow a pair of empty frames that are similar to your own for your portrait session.
- Jewelry: Unless you’re shooting for a highly-styled portrait, keep jewelry to a minimum. Wrist watches, drop earrings, and bangle bracelets should be avoided. Wearing too much jewelry or jewelry that is too ornate can divert the attention away from your face.
Even if you don’t feel that you’re very photogenic and you’re convinced that “you just don’t take good photos,” don’t allow those thoughts to cause you to appear tense or stiff in your photos. To combat that, stay relaxed and focus on positive thoughts during your session so that your genuine personality can shine through.
By following these simple tips, you will come away with a portrait that makes a great first impression and truly enhances your personal brand.
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