8 Tips for Great Company Headshots.
Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Like a good wardrobe, a great headshot will help you influence the important decision-makers in your career. In today’s online world, your company headshots are either going to help you advance your career, or they’re going to hurt you.
Here are eight tips for corporate headshots that will help all your people get better company headshots by preparing to help us make them look good.
Do dress for the position you want, not the position you have. Let your personality show but tempered with the professionalism appropriate for the position you want.
The keyword here is style. Here in Silicon Valley, we have a casual approach to dress, but people wear very stylish luxury brands. Think about dressing down in name brands from Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers rather than Macy’s.
It should go without saying that low necklines for men or women don’t belong in professional photos. Focus on looking like you belong at the boardroom table, not the piano bar.
Wear solid colors that compliment your skin tone, eyes, and hair. If you have blue eyes, a blue or blue-ish shirt will help bring out your eyes in the photos. Brown eyes should go with warm tones.
Layers look fantastic on both men and women. A rich jewel tone top under a dark jacket always looks great. A scarf tied well is an excellent enhancement. Your photographer should be able to help you with that.
Don’t wear busy patterns or large dangling earrings. The flash and glitter will compete with your eyes for the attention of the viewer.
Drink LOTS of water for a few days before your shoot and use lip balm. We can “fix” chapped lips in photoshop, but that means reconstructing a large proportion of your mouth, and that is not a good idea and can be expensive. Where a tube of chapstick costs $1, repairing your lips on the computer can cost $35 or more.
Don’t practice your smile. Unless you’re an experienced actor, you’re more likely to look scared of that. Getting people to express themselves with confidence and approachability or to smile authentically is not hard. Sometimes all it takes is to imagine adding a zero to your paycheck. ;)
BONUS: Bring your makeup with you, go light and avoid the shimmer. In company headshots, less is more. If we don’t have a hair & makeup artist on hand for the shoot, I’m always happy to advise people on whether or not they need to glam up.
Update: Seatbelt creases. I'm usually dealing with creases in people's shirts from their seatbelts. If you're wearing a jacket or sweater, these creases are hidden. I've begun to suggest that people not be photographed in the shirt they drove in with. It's a great idea to bring in a freshly pressed shirt specifically for your photos.
It’s not your people's job to look good in photographs. It’s my job to make them look good. One of the reasons my photographs are exceptional is that I respect the value of your professional image as much as you do. These eight tips will set the stage for everyone to get great photos.
And they’re all going to love you for it.
Dean Birinyi is an award-winning photographer, founder, and owner of Silicon Valley Headshots and Professional Headshots Palo Alto. He specializes in expression coaching to guide his customers on presenting themselves as confident, approachable professionals ready for the next opportunity.