Not All Headshots Are the Same!
When someone contacts me to arrange for a headshot photo session, they are sometimes a bit surprised when I start asking a lot of questions. After all, they think, isn't a headshot simply a portrait that shows only the head and shoulders?
There are actually many choices to make when doing a headshot session. First, we need to establish the purpose of the photos. Do you need a corporate headshot? Or perhaps you are an actor, writer, musician or model who needs professional images to promote yourself?
Once we have that established, there are various questions that come up. What kind of lighting? What kind of background? For example, if your headshot is for a corporate website, does the photo need to look just like all the other photos of corporate employees? If everyone else used a white background, it might look out of place if yours has a black background. Did everyone else wear a suit for their photos? If so, you need to do the same. Corporate headshots should always be done indoors with professional lighting and a plain backdrop, usually white or gray. This example shows a mottled gray/white background - that's about as exotic as you should get!
Actors and musicians have more leeway. Their headshots can be done outdoors like this one on the Vancouver waterfront.
Writers are fun to work with, because their headshots can take on the flavor of their writing. For example, this lovely lady writes romance novels and wanted a sexy headshot, not something you normally think of when discussing headshots.
If you're an actor, musician, artist or model, you do have a lot of choices - it just depends on the image and mood you wish to project. These shoots can be a lot of fun. I tend to do most of them in urban areas, either around old buildings or on scenic waterfronts. If you can get out of the classic head and shoulders box, you then have room to create a classy, playful or sporty image.
So the next time someone tells you that you need a good headshot, take some time to think about your options. Your headshot photo makes a big impression on all who view it. Make it represent your special personal brand.