Today’s question comes from our friend, Sara, who’s gearing up to take new professional headshots. Whether these are being arranged for by your company or you’re prepping a photo shoot for your own business, headshots are an INVESTMENT in time and money! You want to look your best and you want to get them right.
So in this Q&A Thursday episode, I’m sharing 6 steps to taking a timeless photo so you can be sure you’re happy with the end result and love your headshots for years to come.
Your professional headshots set the tone for your work and tell a story about who you are.
What do you want your headshots to communicate?
Consider your personality and how it plays into your career. How does this connect to your personal style? Think over these broad questions and keep your answers in mind as you walk through the following 6 steps.
Now, Sara mentioned getting new professional headshots for her LinkedIn profile and website bio. So we’re going to tailor this conversation to a classic professional headshot and keep in mind, my advice would be a little bit different if you were doing a BRAND photoshoot for your own business. We’d need to get a lot more personalized and specific. I’m happy to do an episode on that, too! So please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in.
But for today, these steps are perfect if you’re doing a standard headshot that you want to use on your company’s website, email signature, or on your LinkedIn profile. So let’s dive in!
1. Flip through your favorite photos
Round up your favorite photos of yourself, whether these are selfies you shared on Instagram, from a previous professional photoshoot, or featured as your profile pictures over the years.
What do you love about them? Is it your smile? Your hairstyle? The colors you were wearing? Look for commonalities and characteristics you can replicate in your new headshots.
2. Forget about what’s trending
Normally, I would challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and have fun with your wardrobe. But this is NOT the time to experiment. Rather than worrying about trends, focus on what looks good on you. You want to feel like yourself in your headshots. So remember the foundations of style that I teach all the time: reflecting your signature look, focusing on what flatters your figure, and wearing your best colors.
3. Keep your style simple
Lean toward timeless pieces but don’t eliminate your personality. If you have a dramatic style, can you add a statement earring? If you love feminine details, maybe opt for a classic blouse with a puff-sleeve. Choose pieces that capture your style and bring out your best.
4. Highlight your best features
Headshots are typically taken from the shoulders or waist up. Think about what you love most about your upper body. Maybe it’s your eyes or your hair, your shoulders or your smile. Whatever it is, how can you draw attention there?
If it’s your eyes, for example, wear your eye color somewhere else on your upper body. Echo the shape of your eyes in your earrings or a necklace. Use design principles like repetition and harmony. If you want to highlight your smile, keep your eye makeup really simple and go for a bolder lipstick. Think about the little details or the lines in your clothing and strategically direct the eye where you want it to go.
5. Stick to your everyday makeup
This isn’t the time to try the latest makeup trends or a bold new lip color if it’s not in your normal day to day routine! You want to look and feel like yourself, in maybe a slightly more polished version. So I recommend sticking with your everyday makeup look or kicking it up just one notch. Do a full face application… foundation, powder, blush, lipstick, mascara for sure.
If you really want to feel 100%, consider hiring a professional makeup artist for the day. Find someone who specializes in creating a natural look, because again, it’s a professional photo not a Glamour Shot.
6. The colors you wear are most important
If you follow just ONE of these steps, make it this one. Color is literally the most powerful component of how we get dressed and show up in the world. I’ve shared the statistic that up to 90% of someone’s initial judgment about a person, product, or environment is based on color alone. It’s that important.
Wearing your best colors will make you look refreshed, younger, more powerful, and trustworthy. Wearing the wrong colors can make you look tired, sick, and older. I know you don’t want that, especially for a headshot that’s going to serve you for the next 5-10 years!
First, choose a solid color top rather than a print. Unless you’re going with something really timeless like a stripe or plaid, it’ll hold up longer with the times. Plus, prints can be distracting and overwhelming. In a headshot, we want all the focus to be on you and your beautiful face!
Secondly, you want to wear one of your most flattering colors. If you have a Personal Color Palette, opt for one of your formal neutrals, eye or blush colors, or best white. If you don’t have this resource to reference, I highly recommend investing in this service to eliminate all the guesswork around which colors look best on you! But you can also turn to my article and podcast episode #19: 5 Colors Your Need To Start Wearing Now for more insight.
Finally, when in doubt, stick to a universally flattering neutral like navy, eggplant, or deep teal. These are always a safe bet!
There you have it! I just shared 6 steps to taking a timeless photo so you can maximize your professional headshots and enjoy them for years to come.
I hope these practical tips make prepping for your photoshoot 10X easier.
If you want me to create another episode on how to take the best photos for your personal brand, I’d be thrilled to do that for you. If so, let me know in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram and I’ll get to work!
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