What are some headshot tips for photographers?


Featured connects subject-matter experts with top publishers to increase their exposure and create Q & A content.

3 min read

headshot tips for photographers

© Image Provided by Featured

Table of Contents

What are some headshot tips for photographers?

From choosing appropriate clothing to smiling, here are answers to the question, “What’s one tip you have for taking a professional headshot?”

  • Don’t Forget to Smile
  • Find An Ambitious Photographer
  • Be Natural and Confident
  • Practice
  • Use Natural Lighting
  • Focus On the Eyes
  • Sleep Adequately Before the Shoot to Avoid a Puffy Face
  • Choose Appropriate Clothing

Don’t Forget to Smile

I’ve seen countless professional headshots with people trying way too hard to look professional, serious, and sometimes even slightly intimidating, or at least that was my impression.

They forgot about one of the most important rules – we all like to see people smiling, and no amount of professional editing and good posing can beat a lovely smile in the photo.

Don’t be afraid to show your human side and smile a bit more in your headshot.

Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing Manager, PhotoAiD

Find An Ambitious Photographer

Our company is based in Los Angeles, where so many photographers go to seek fame. It’s easy for us to find young, motivated, and highly skilled photographers who want to add to their portfolios and gain more experience.

Headshots are a great way for us to market our workforce. We staff assistance with high-paying clients, so we like to include headshots in the materials to show clients.

Los Angeles has an abundance of aspiring photographers, but it isn’t the only place. Any large or midsize city has several up-and-coming photographers, many of whom are toiling as stringers for newspapers and other outlets and they’re looking for side hustles or inroads to launching their own independent businesses.

Go find that type of photographer for your headshots.

Brittany Dolin, Co-founder, Pocketbook Agency

Be Natural and Confident

One of the biggest mistakes people make when taking a professional headshot is trying to look too formal. Instead, you should be trying to look natural and confident.

Try not to smile too much as it can come off as fake. Instead, smile with only your mouth, not your eyes. You also want to make sure that your eyes are open and looking directly into the camera. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different poses and expressions until you find one that looks natural and professional.

Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely

Practice and Confidence

When it comes to taking a professional headshot, the key is practice. Before the actual photo shoot, find a comfortable angle in front of the mirror and practice cycling through different expressions until you feel confident with your chosen look.

Practice projecting your best self – whether that be by smiling broadly or maintaining eye contact, whatever looks best for you – so you can be assured of looking your most presentable and professional during the shoot. Ultimately, being conscious and having the right attitude will help you make the perfect shot.

Jim Campbell, Owner, Camp Media

Use Natural Lighting for a Flattering Shot

One tip for taking a professional headshot is to use natural lighting. This means finding a spot with ample light coming in from a window or outside, rather than using artificial light sources.

The natural light will create a more flattering and natural-looking image, highlighting your features in a positive way. Additionally, avoid using flash as it can create harsh shadows and make the image appear flat. Make sure to also adjust your camera settings to ensure the correct lighting and focus are captured.

Will Gill, Event Entertainer, DJ Will Gill

Sleep Adequately Before the Shoot to Avoid a Puffy Face

When taking a professional headshot, the emphasis is often on brandishing that breathtaking smile and getting the clothing right. But one often-ignored detail is the natural freshness of your face.

Resting properly (enjoying a nourishing night’s sleep) is core to keeping your face fresh and radiant enough for a brilliant photoshoot. Sustained exertion and insufficient night rest before the shoot could likely make your face unnaturally puffy, with more pronounced wrinkles and hanging eyelids–which are really bad for your shoot.

Of course, there is Photoshop and other editing tools to give you a chiseled Brad Pitt face, but it doesn’t hurt if you make things easier by presenting your face in its best form.

Come to think of it, a good night’s rest is often cheaper (and more enjoyable) than the extensive photo editing needed to get the wear off your face, isn’t it?

Lotus Felix, CEO, Lotusbrains Studio

Choose Appropriate Clothing

Be sure that you’re choosing the right clothing for the headshot. Determine what your signature colors are based on your skin tone, hair color, and eye color.

The items should warm up your appearance, so avoid dark pieces such as black or brown. Consider choosing a yellow, pink, or red shirt to highlight your features.

Randee Machina, Director of Marketing, Simpli Pleasures

Submit Your Answer

Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What’s one tip you have for taking a professional headshot?”

Submit your answer here.

Related Questions


Up Next