Time to get a real head shot – tips for men and women
A headshot starts way before the headshot. There is planning, prep and research to find the right studio to take it for you. What to wear, accessories, pose and more. The tips below assume you are not having to wear a uniform. Also, if you are appearing, speaking, etc. you’ll want to provide an image as soon as you accept so that the intern doesn’t do a Google search and end up with something outdated, embarrassing or not even you. I’ve done it several times for radio guests that don’t seem to think they need to provide a headshot because it’s RADIO.
- Selecting the studio: You want someone with some artistic sense who can help bring out your best
- Consider bringing a couple of shirts, colors with accessories: earrings, ties, etc. to give variety.
- You will want a HIGH RES digital version at the very least.
- Go for COLOR – you can always switch to black and white.
- Ask them about your rights to post the images and use them in promotional materials. Once you purchase a high res version, can you use it anywhere you want to without watermark?
It can be JC Penney, WalMart, Target, not to be confused with Mall Santa shots – NO! Preferably a local photography studio that specializes in head shots. Wedding specialists are not business head shot specialists, nor is the local business that does passport photos.
Thank you, who shared some tips about the actual photo itself with us. Love the part about wide and tall hair!
- Black and white is nice and artsy; but when your head shot appears on other sites, it might be next to color shots, which makes you look out of place. There are sections of our site where we do not run photos if they are in black and white, even if they run in the paper, because of our site’s optics. So make sure you at least get a color shot done, even if you’re not going to use it, to give other sites options. Remember – you can’t go from black and white to color.
- Sites have different display dimensions and sizes. A nice, big hi-res photo can help them accommodate you into other sites without them having to mess around with the image. But make it a FULL head, please. Some people have sent us head shots with the tops of their heads cut off. And I can’t manipulate an image to show your entire head if part of it isn’t there originally.
- The ratios we use in print and online are either squares or 14″ x 19″ vertical photos. I’d advise trying to fit that vertical ratio if possible. There are some people whose hair either is too wide or too tall, so there’s a lot that has the potential to get cut off. As a photo editor, I do my best to get as much of a head-to-shoulders view of them. It’s not always easy to accomplish. But when dressing and styling, those factors could enter into your decisions. Maybe you go for one pose that looks good vertically and one that looks good squared off. If you look better horizontally, I can’t help you.
- Look at the camera. The off-to-one-side may work for your site, but not others.
- Keep it current! There are a number of subjects who look a lot different when we run their mug one day and a feature shot of how they actually look today.
- We and some other publications also run knock-outs of photos, where the background is erased so the background appears to be gray. If you have a shot where the background is easily removed, you’ll look better when an editor who isn’t you gets it.
Final tip: Remember, we are all famous, just not everyone knows it yet. You want to be prepared!