The Makings of a Great Headshot

In the age of phone cameras and AI, most people are wondering if they really need a professional photographer. The short answer is, yes, you do! People ask me all of the time what is it that I do that warrants them spending the money (investment) for my work. The list of what makes a professional headshot great is long but let's start with the basic six components that a professional headshot photographer performs.

Speaking for myself, the very first thing I do is listen. I listen to what my client is looking for in terms of a 'look'. I always follow up with the question of, how are you going to use this/these headshots. Most of the time people use their headshots for either social media or for publication. From there, I discuss what kind of background they require, what kind of clothing they will be wearing, how many outfits they would like to be photographed in, and of course the big topic of having professional makeup applied. Before you even ask the question do men need professional makeup, the answer is yes! Everyone does! It's always advised to have your face professionally ready for the camera! But, that's another discussion/blog topic!

The second most important item of what a professional headshot photographer offers that your phone camera doesn't is lighting! In a typical headshot session I use about four different lights, reflectors, and side panels to the set that either reflect or absorb light. I could go further into this topic as well, but let's just say, lighting is what makes a headshot great or horrible.

The third thing I do with my clients is get them comfortable in front of the camera. Unlike a phone camera where you just point and shoot, I ease my clients into the process by playing their favorite music, take practice shots, and just get them comfortable sitting on the stool.

The fourth technique I employ during a headshot photoshoot is showing my client his/her shots on my camera as I start shooting so they can see for themselves how good they look! You can't believe how calming this step is in the headshot process. Once someone sees themself looking great, they gain the confidence to keep going with being photographed. Posture is a big deal and as my client is adjusting to the photo set, lights, and being in front of the camera, I coach them on their posture and that includes head, shoulders, and arms. From there, I have my client change position from left to right. Why? Every person has their 'better' side! Yes, it's true.

Next to last, the fifth reason why having a professional headshot photographer do your headshot matters, is getting your personality to come through the camera! If I can't get your personality to shine through in a genuinely joyous way, how is this headshot going to convey to your audience that you're 'user friendly'? 

GaryGary Last, but one of the most important reasons why a professional headshot photographer is the way to go for your next new headshot is all about the professional editing they perform to get the perfect final headshot image. When I perform the headshot editing, I use a professional proprietary portrait software that assists with skin smoothing, diminishing blemishes, removing pimples, whitening eyes, cleaning & whitening teeth, remove highlights to skin and head, applying makeup if required, adding color to lips, and fixing any clothing issues that might show up. The background is also edited as well as the cropping of the client into the appropriate size format. 

Does this sound like a lot of work to you? It is! And, that's what goes into making a great headshot!



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