Headshot photography is a specialised form of portraiture that primarily focuses on capturing an individual’s face, typically from the shoulders up. These photographs are often used in a professional context, such as on corporate websites, in acting portfolios or on social media profiles. The goal of a headshot is to present a clear, detailed and flattering representation of the individual, often emphasizing their personality, professionalism and approachability.
In the acting world, headshots are crucial to one’s success. They are an actor’s calling card, offering casting directors their first impression of an actor’s physical appearance. A strong actor’s headshot must capture the individual’s unique character, charm, and versatility. The best actor headshots are those that can encapsulate the breadth of roles an actor might be fit to play, and are usually shot in high resolution to showcase details clearly.
Corporate Headshot Photography
Corporate headshot photography serves a different purpose. These headshots are generally more conservative, focusing on projecting a professional image. Corporate headshots are often used for business profiles, annual reports, and press releases. They typically involve a neutral background, balanced lighting, and formal attire. The subject’s personality can still shine through, but the overall tone is more aligned with the company’s brand and ethos.
Tips for Better Headshots
Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, following these headshot photography tips can help ensure better results:
- Focus on the eyes: the eyes are the most expressive part of the face, and sharp, clear eyes can make a headshot come alive.
- Use diffused light: soft, diffused light reduces harsh shadows and highlights, ensuring a more flattering image.
- Choose the right lens: a medium telephoto lens (85mm to 105mm) is generally best for headshots as it provides a flattering perspective without distorting facial features.
- Keep the background simple: a plain or blurred background ensures the subject remains the focus of the image.
How to Take Modeling Headshots
Modeling headshots, unlike corporate or acting headshots, often require a bit more creativity and edginess. Here are some steps to capture striking modeling headshots:
- Use dramatic lighting: this could be using sidelight to create interesting shadows, or backlight to give a halo effect.
- Experiment with angles: unlike corporate headshots, which are usually taken straight-on, modeling headshots can be shot from a variety of angles to highlight the model’s unique features.
- Encourage different expressions: models should showcase their range and versatility in their headshots, so encourage a variety of expressions.
How to Take Professional Headshots at Home
Taking professional headshots at home requires some planning and equipment, but it’s certainly possible:
- Find a good spot: look for a location with plenty of natural light and a simple background.
- Set up your camera: use a tripod to keep your camera steady and set it at eye level.
- Use a timer or remote: this will allow you to take photos without having to be behind the camera.
- Dress professionally: your outfit should reflect the image you want to project in your headshot.
- Edit the photos: use photo editing software to adjust lighting, crop the photo, and retouch any imperfections.
How to Take a Good Professional Headshot
A good professional headshot should not only be technically sound but also convey a person’s character and professionalism. Here’s how to achieve that:
- Lighting: use natural or soft artificial light to avoid harsh shadows.
- Background: choose a simple, non-distracting background.
- Composition: position the subject centrally, and ensure the eyes are in focus.
- Expression: encourage a natural, relaxed expression. Genuine smiles work best for a friendly, approachable vibe.
- Post-processing: retouch the photo subtly to fix minor imperfections, adjust colour balance and contrast, but avoid over-editing.
How to Take Corporate Headshots
Corporate headshots should project professionalism and confidence. Here are some tips:
- Dress code: subjects should dress in professional attire, suitable for their industry.
- Background: opt for a neutral background that won’t distract from the subject.
- Lighting: use soft, even lighting to avoid harsh shadows and highlights.
- Posing: encourage a posture that is both comfortable and confident. The subject should engage with the camera.
- Editing: retouching should be minimal, aiming to present the subject as naturally as possible.
How Much Does Headshot Photography Cost?
The cost of headshot photography can vary significantly based on a few factors, such as the photographer’s experience, the location, the number of retouched photos you require, and any additional services like makeup and hairstyling. Prices can range anywhere from £100/$100 to £500/$500 per session, but prices can be higher in certain markets or for highly experienced photographers.
How to Start a Headshot Photography Business
Starting a headshot photography business involves several key steps:
- Skills and Equipment: develop your photography and editing skills, and invest in quality photography equipment.
- Business Plan: write a detailed business plan outlining your target market, pricing, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
- Portfolio: build a strong portfolio showcasing your best work in various headshot styles.
- Marketing: create a professional website, leverage social media, and consider other marketing strategies like networking and online advertising.
How Much Should I Charge for Headshot Photography
Pricing your headshot photography services depends on several factors: your experience, your operating costs, the competition in your market, and the quality of your work. Research what other photographers in your area are charging for similar services. Consider offering tiered pricing based on the number of retouched images or the length of the session.
How to Advertise Headshot Photography
Advertising your headshot photography business should include a combination of online and offline strategies:
- Website and SEO: create a professional website and optimise it for search engines.
- Social Media: utilise platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to showcase your work and connect with potential clients.
- Networking: attend industry events and join local business groups to meet potential clients.
- Referral Program: offer incentives for referrals to encourage satisfied clients to recommend you to others.
- Online Advertising: consider paid online advertising on platforms like Google Ads or social media sites.