I recently had the pleasure of doing some womens business headshots for a young lady, she needed a professional headshot for her LinkedIn profile, as well as for her resume’ and for seeking opportunities in the health care field. Business or corporate headshots are meant to be clean and simple, and not “blingy” so I will discuss some common do’s and don’ts pertaining to womens’ headshots in particular, though the common goal is the same.
-Styling and expression:
You are marketing yourself, so you want to be dressed the part, and look friendly and approachable, but not huge teeth smile, etc. You should look natural and relaxed. Obviously hair and makeup should be done before the session. But heavy or overdone makeup or lipstick should be avoided. Clothing should fit the career and what is worn on a daily basis in that field. Clothes should be ironed and not full of wrinkles. Avoid busy patterns, stick with more solid colors. You don’t want to look stuffy or frumpy in style, but it’s best to avoid too much cleavage or being too sexy. (That was hard to say, LOL) But you want the focus on your face and eyes, and with a headshot, with only the face, it’s not hard for the viewer to get distracted by anything besides the face. For that reason, it’s best to avoid large or distracting jewelry.
-Qualities of the photo
The emphasis should be on the eyes, and good somewhat contrasty, but even lighting should be used. Shadow play is great for fine art, but not for business headshots. Hair should be lit with a rim or hair light, to bring out the shiny hair. Any retouching should be modest. You want to look like YOU, not you 20 years ago. It’s perfectly fine to clean up under eyes, and certain lines or blemishes, if subtle, and traces of the repair aren’t left behind. Skin smoothing filters and over saturation of color, over whitening teeth and eyes, all a no no and the mark of an amateur.
-Choice of background
Before getting your headshots done, know the colors of the website and any print uses. The background color shouldn’t exactly match it, or else it will look like a random floating head / face. LOL. That may be one reason why many photographers use muslin with a soft pattern, though I personally think those are dated and tacky. Not as popular as they once were, but there are still some excellent photographers who use them, so I can’t bash them 100% 😛
Here is one of this lovely professional lady, it’s simple yet elegant and brings out her skin, eyes, hair, and friendly / confident demeanor.