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Taking care of business headshots

By Kimmi Robertson on 04/11/2016
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As an entrepreneur, it may be your inclination to have your head down and focused on a new business plan rather than facing up into a camera, but a great photo can be an excellent marketing tool for setting the tone of your next business interaction, and even lead to more success in your career. However, like most things, not all headshots are created equal, and it’s important to understand the elements of a good business photo in order to gain the benefits that come along with a picture that portrays quality, confidence and professionalism.

Here’s a list of 5 things to consider when taking your business headshot.

1. The Subject - You!  

Ever heard of the phrase “smiling with your eyes?” It may seem silly, but humans subconsciously pick up many non-verbal cues for communication from facial expressions. In the digital age we live in, most times our first line of communication with a potential client does not happen face to face, but through various forms of social media and online communication. Your LinkedIn profile or website bio may very well serve as your introduction, and consequently the first impression of you that new business will receive. It’s important to consider what your facial expression is telling people – is your smile warm and approachable? Do you look confident and knowledgeable? Remember that the message you’re sending should match your line of business and the types of people you cater to, and there’s no one solution to fit every person.

Equally important to consider should be your body position. Things as simple as a head tilt, slight body turn, or lean can make a huge difference in how natural the picture looks as well as how flattering it is. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for help on your positioning!

2. The Location

Choosing a background can be a very subjective matter, but it should always start by asking yourself what you aim to achieve with your headshot. There are many great places in Charlotte for headshot photography, and we love a good skyline background, but you want to ask yourself several key questions to determine your goals in business photography. Do you want it to be versatile and corporate? Choosing a flat color such as white, gray or black provides the least distraction, puts more focus on the subject and tends to lend itself well for any medium, whether it be your online bio or a printed piece such as a business card or flyer.

Alternately, a lifestyle background can feel more modern, add personality and warmth to your picture, and look more natural. If you do decide on a lifestyle picture for your headshot, make sure you choose a background that doesn’t steal the focus away from you. Utilizing a shallow depth of field can help soften the background and direct the focus back to your face while still providing texture and interest. Lastly, consider how the colors of your background, your outfit, and the eventual placement of your photograph are going to coordinate. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t clash or find yourself blending into a background with no contrast.

3. Lighting 

We really can’t emphasize enough the importance of proper lighting for your headshot. Lighting has the ability to drastically change the mood as well as the quality of your picture. A picture without enough lighting will end up grainy or blurry, while a picture with the wrong lighting may just look flat and lifeless. A good headshot will have light that is soft, minimizes and controls the direction and length of the shadows on your face, and set’s you apart from your background. It’s also important to make sure your eyes have a point of light reflected in them, which will add life to your picture.

4. The Camera  

For the do-it-yourselfers out there, we all know that camera technology has come a long way. Don’t be fooled by your phone or point-and-shoot camera that boasts of high megapixels and digital zoom. Chances are, unless you are planning to have your headshot blown up across the side of a building in Times Square, the megapixels of your camera will have very little effect on the overall quality of the headshot. Much more important is the ability to manually setup your shot with consideration of the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Your phone may be smart enough to properly expose your picture, but it doesn’t know how to set up your shot for the best results. If you are determined to take your headshots in-house, do your research first, and maybe pick the brain of a photographer friend to find out what equipment they use, what makes one lens more suitable than another for different uses, and what settings they recommend.

5. The Photographer (and Editor)  

Not everyone is ready to make the investment in a professional headshot, and to those we encourage a little research and consideration into the elements that make up a quality photograph. However, in the end, it’s not the camera that makes a picture so much as the photographer. A professional can make a world of difference when it comes to everything from position, to lighting, to understanding and utilizing the best equipment and techniques. They bring confidence and direction to their subjects that is difficult to achieve in an amateur setting. Additionally, a lot of time can be saved in post-editing by having the knowledge to get the picture right from the moment the shutter snaps.


Don’t let headshots be a source of anxiety, and instead recognize the tremendous value that a first impression can provide you and your team. If you’re unsure whether it’s time to update your headshot or not, try to take an objective look at your current picture and decide what message you’re sending. Would you want to talk to you?

Happy shooting!

 In the Charlotte Area and looking to get a fresh new headshot image? You're in luck! SeedSpark is having a Pop-Up Picture Day April 20 + 21, so you can connect to affordable Charlotte headshot photography. Find out more by clicking the button below! 

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Topics: Marketing