Ten Tips for a Great Headshot – Ottawa Headshot Photographer

I get asked, a lot, for tips to make a headshot great.  And while I can offer both photographic tips and subject tips, today it is all about being a great subject.

1. My number one tip to look great in a headshot: Smile.

Many people think that they shouldn’t smile in their headshot. The biggest problem with not smiling is that you look angry instead. You don’t have to bring out the full on, I just got my braces off, kind of smile. But, thinking happy thoughts and bringing up a smile just a little results in a really great image. I do find that the majority of people who don’t smile are the ones who don’t want their picture taken in the first place. And I always say, it is better to smile and look great so that you won’t be mad when you see that photo of you, and in time you won’t mind having your picture taken as much.

2. Next up is drink lots of water the day before.

Lots of people laugh at this one, but it is so true. We are told to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but many of us don’t get enough water and water can actually reduce puffiness around the eyes and cheeks. Have an extra couple of glasses of water the day before your headshot session and you will be thankful. And try to stay away from the salty foods that can help you hold that water in.

3. Choose your clothing carefully.

Your clothing should fit properly, not too tight on the arms and not too loose at the collar. Watch for jackets bunching up as you bend your arms. Choose neutral colours  in solids as you don’t want to distract from you, the person we are trying to see. Also, pick something that you love and you feel great in, if you feel great, you will look great. Iron anything that may be wrinkled and brush off any lint or animal hair.

4. Hair

The day before is not the day to try a new cut and colour. If you regularly get your hair styled, then a that would be fine, but for both men and women, you may want to get that haircut a few days before so you know if will behave as you are used to. Also, check for any stray hairs that may need a little cleaning up.

5. Clean your Glasses

Take a couple of minutes to clean your glasses. Smudges show up and interfere with your image, and while sometimes they can be edited out, it is much better to start off with them clean.

6. Get a good night sleep the night before

Laugh if you will, but the night before a headshot session is not the night to stay out celebrating a birthday. Although it can happen that you won’t get a perfect nights sleep anyway, definitely try.

7. Know what you want from your headshot

Tell your photographer what you want your headshot to convey. While your photographer will know many different poses and get great shots of you, if you have a specific look in mind be sure to share that with them so you can achieve this together.

8. Choose the right background

Make sure you choose the right background to represent you and your brand. You may prefer plain backgrounds for simplicity reasons, however, you may enjoy having an different background, like your office space, the city skyline, or a warehouse where you work. It completely depends on what you would like to say with your headshot.

9. Take care of your Teeth

You are probably hearing the voice of your dental hygienist now, but it is true! If you are booking a headshot, schedule a teeth cleaning or whitening appointment a couple of days before your session. When your smile is at its brightest, it will shine.

10. And last but not least…Relax and have Fun!

Having your picture taken can be stressful and your photographer will know that, but let me tell you, if you just breathe in and relax, it will show in your images. Have a little fun, get silly for a few minutes, all the way around it comes across as better in your photographs.

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