Amazing Headshots 101: How to Take Great Headshot Photos

Being a photographer requires extensive work, especially since a lot of it has to do with not just having the right equipment but also making sure you have the technical know-how of using your tools with your knowledge of the scene or the subject.

For instance, landscape work has different needs when it comes to taking photos of subjects. There are also specific requirements needed when taking photos of individuals, much more headshot photos. If you’re a beginner photographer or someone in need of a refresher, this article will elaborate on just how you can achieve getting great headshot photos, in addition to providing you some valuable tips on retouching images for your clients.


It might help to get to know how to take great headshot photos by first getting to know what makes a face appealing. Interestingly, while a lot of research has been conducted in various aspects of facial attractiveness, there is no “universal” theory of attractiveness.

For instance, a lot of people seem to be attracted to facial symmetry for many reasons. The common notion is that “asymmetry” in the face is associated with “rare disorders, untreated infections, and injuries.” However, it’s also important to note that some asymmetry in most people’s faces isn’t a result of these. It’s concluded that a big part of finding facial symmetry “attractive” is a reflection of how people find symmetry in nature appealing as well. This can translate into making good headshot photos, as symmetry and balance are important elements of making good headshots.

Headshots 101: The Secrets to Good Headshots

A headshot remains an integral part of any business branding, not just because it allows companies to showcase just how handsome or pretty their staff members are. Rather, it showcases the “human” aspect of their branding so people can relate to them. This is important as this can motivate viewers to trust their brand more. If you consider yourself a corporate headshot photographer, or if you want to take photographs and headshot photos for your business, here are tips you shouldn’t forget:

Have a consultation with your client before the session starts: A pre-session consultation is extremely important when it comes to determining just what sort of styles your clients are comfortable with. This also gives you the opportunity to provide your initial input towards what they’re supposed to wear and what they can expect from the session. This can be done over the phone or face to face. This develops initial rapport between you and your client and can help make them more comfortable with your presence. Remember that whatever your subject is feeling can be reflected in photographs, so a client comfortable with you can really make a photo shine.

Help them select the right clothes for their style: During the pre-session consultation, try to help them pick the clothes they should wear as well. Observe their body language and overall aura and suggest the kinds of colors they should wear or items of clothing to use. For instance, neutral and solid colors can make viewers focus on the face of the client, and formal clothes always work best when it comes to getting the attention of viewers. Try to have a spare jacket for men, especially, as they may forget theirs.

Try to separate the faces from the background as much as possible: While taking photos, observe the kind of background you’re using with the client. Make sure your client’s presence isn’t overpowered by the background. For instance, do not let your client stand too close to a studio background, as shadows might appear on the wall. Environmental backdrops work best if you use bokeh, and as such focus will be on the subject.

Let them make silly faces to get them comfortable: Comfort is everything when it comes to headshots. In order to help them relax their faces, start by making them do wacky faces and take some photographs with these expressions. This will not only let them have extra fun while taking photos, their natural smiles will also shine with them. Once they are relaxed and comfortable, you can go ahead and take professional-looking headshot photos fit for their business.

Consider lighting and positioning to accentuate the face: When you use lighting for headshots, make sure the face is lighted evenly. Beauty lighting setups work very well, which is composed of two lights with a reflector light located just below the client’s face. Angle their bodies so that they are turned 45 degrees away from your camera, but make sure their faces are looking straight at the lens. This allows you to highlight their faces well and get natural-looking shots.

The Takeaway: The Secret to Taking a Good Headshot Is Preparation

It’s important to remember that taking great headshot photos is really a matter of learning how to provide proper emphasis to the special features of your subjects. For instance, proper clothing, makeup, lighting, and angling are essential elements that contribute to a stunning photo, which can give a “human” perspective to a brand that customers can relate to. Mix and match concepts, and make sure your style of headshot photography can stay true to a brand’s image, and you’ll be able to pull off headshots that definitely impress!





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