Professional first impressions count for a lot in any kind of business. But given how common it is to meet clients virtually, your headshot should be taken just as seriously! Anyone who comes to know you through LinkedIn or other social networks will be able to make a good first impression from your profile picture.

A personal headshot is an important part of your branding. Your image, which should convey who you are and what you do, should be consistent across all channels. It’s important to take a photo that really reflects who you are. Old, staged headshots have been out of the question for a while now. Photographers instead prefer taking more natural and relaxed photos that showcase people’s truest selves. This page contains tips on posing and taking great headshots to help you with this endeavor.

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously – that’s not something you really want to do. Work on being more relatable by showing some personality and cracking a smile.
  2. Don’t use too many filters or enhancements in Photoshop or Instagram to edit your photos. It will only make you look like a different person and won’t be doing you any favors.
  3. Regardless of what you look like, don’t submit a headshot that has other people’s body parts cropped out around your face.
  4. Lighting is important when you’re using natural light. If you shoot at midday, the strong light creates harsh shadows. If you’re indoors, try sitting near a window and turning on artificial lights to get better shots.
  5. When framing a shot, it’s important to make sure the horizon is straight, that there are no distracting objects in view, and that you’ve chosen the best camera angle. All these small improvements make for a big difference in quality.
  6. To make your image stand out, use a minimal background. A white wall or tree – pick one and make sure the background is not bigger than you are.
  7. Avoid wearing any piece of clothing with words on it, and use solid colors or understated patterns instead. Words and flashy patterns will distract viewers from appreciating the beauty of your profile!
  8. Skip the suit – wear something that suits your work style instead. A classic neckline is best.
  9. In some industries, a professional photographer is well worth the investment to ensure your brand’s professionalism. But if you don’t have one of those at hand, why not ask an amateur photographer friend to take some professional shots of your product line with you as the subject?
  10. Keep your profile up to date—updates should be happening regularly, though some once a year. A career change or branding adjustment can also mean an update is necessary.

Do you have any headshot do’s or don’ts? Share them in the comments!

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