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How Do You Look Professional in a Headshot?

Corporate teams seeking to get headshots often want to come across as professional as possible. But you should also strive to appear approachable too. So, what should you consider to strike the right balance?

look professional in a headshot

Looking Professional in a Headshot Involves a Good Mix of Appropriate Attire, Hair Style and Light Makeup, an Inviting Smile, Confident Posture, and a Good Photographer

Dress to Impress?

One of the first thoughts that come to mind is what to wear. This can vary by profession. It also varies by the headshot style you’re after. Most headshots are from the upper chest and up. Some can be around belly button and up. In both cases, you usually are only concerned with your top.

As mentioned, what you wear varies by the profession, and there are many types of professions: accountant or financial advisor, CEO or other C-level, dentist or doctor, lawyer, marketing manager, real estate agent, software developer, and so on.

A good tip is to wear what you would usually wear to meet an important client. In this way, clients that see your headshot before coming in to meet you will have their expectation fulfilled. This of course means if you change your look, including your hair style, you might want to update your headshot.

Hair and Makeup

Headshots for corporate teams, executives, entrepreneurs and the like should use light makeup. Again, a sound tip is to wear as much makeup as you might to an important client meeting.

Often, people will get haircuts just before a headshot session. This is fine but it’s best to do so at least three days before your headshot session. This way, if you happen to not be happy with your haircut you have time for it to grow back a bit or reschedule.

Your Best Side

Many of us have a favorite side of their face to show. Often this is because of a scar or asymmetry on one particular side. For example, it’s common that someone has one eye that is slightly larger than another.

Your photographer may have tips or suggestions, and this might include photographing from both sides. It’s not unknown for a person to end up going against their best side when choosing a photo to use as their headshot.

Say Cheese

Many people struggle with how much to smile in a headshot, particularly when trying to balance looking professional with being approachable. It’s difficult, though possible, to overdo a smile.

What usually happens with someone that struggles with smiling for photos is they smile with only their mouth. Their eyes often freeze or open wider. Pointing this out to a person before they try can go a long way. So, can being relaxed. It’s just a headshot. You’ll take many of them and have plenty of options to choose a good one. So, you can relax. This will help with a natural smile.

Your Posture

It’s important to stand tall for corporate headshots. Besides coming across professional and approachable, you also want to appear confident. These are three desirable traits other people want to do business with.

In addition, you often want to extend your chin out and parallel with the floor or slightly tilted down, just a tiny bit. This usually helps the head give off, well, a more head-like shape. You might also want to slightly elongate your neck and have your shoulders back. Like everything else, don’t overdo this too.

Go with a Professional Photographer

Even if you follow all this advice, your headshot will not make you look professional if it’s not done using a professional photographer. Putting this simply, competing businesses, other LinkedIn profiles, etc. will have people that worked with a professional headshot photographer. So, if you don’t your photo will stand out as unprofessional.

Looking professional in a headshot is not an extremely difficult task, if you work with a proven professional photographer. Nor does it have to be expensive. For most corporate teams, an updated headshot is usually years apart. So, the expense for how long you get to use it before it needs updating is a worthwhile investment.

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