Why Should I Get a Professional Headshot?

Why Should I Get a Professional Headshot?

Why are Professionally done Headshots important?

Why should I get a professional headshot?  How about a good selfie?

If you are your brand or you represent your brand, that first impression and what it communicates is going to be oh, so important.  Most folks make that ‘first impression’ decision within the first couple of seconds, at most.

Book Promotion Headshot

Once you have done all your surveys and you know what someone is looking for in your industry, what they are expecting to see, then you need to communicate that!

Do you want to communicate a very conservative type image, a bank manager or investor?  Dark and moody.  Bright and airy.  Approachable?  Or just a very simple headshot.  Or do you want to a portrait that shows you somehow involved in your industry?  Who are you. An Oilman, wearing a hardhat?  An executive?  Or however you want your business represented.

A good portrait photographer should be able to help you sort these issues out.  A professional headshot or portrait photographer will know lighting, posing and basic editing techniques.  These all make a huge difference in the final product/image.

Actor Headshot

There are different types of headshots:

  1. Actors headshots
  2. Executive headshots

And these can vary in what needs to be communicated.  One can go from very simple to more dramatic, showing you in your work environment.   Executive headshots can sometimes include a group of business associates.

Actors may occasionally need several different ‘looks’ for a portfolio.

And hopefully, an experienced photographer can help bring out the best parts of you. 

  1. Keep your headshot current.  Nothing worse than someone meeting you in person or on some video meeting and them having to keep their smile frozen in place because you have aged 20 years since your last photo. 
  2. Clothing.  Again, what do your potential customers, or clients expect to see?  If you are a contractor, a suit and tie might not be the best image.  Consult with your photographer as to colours that are flattering and those that show up best in photos.  Generally, solid colours are better, patterns can be very distracting.  What image are you trying to convey? 
  3. No selfies!  It is not very difficult to tell the difference between a selfie and a professional headshot.  If  you are trying to show yourself as a professional in your world, stay away from selfies or snapshots taken by friends. 
  4. Communicate to your photographer who you are trying to reach. What is your public?  What does that public look for in hiring someone in your industry?

    Wedding Dress Model

    Your headshot or portrait photographer will help tailor your photo or photos to show you the best way possible for that public.

  5. The standard headshot for years has been the ‘vertical’.  With the advent of social media, many photographers will now shoot your headshot in a horizontal frame.  Let him or her know how you are going to use the photo so you can be photographed accordingly.  Or both ways. 
  6. Let your personality shine.  Smile.  No smile. 
  7. Pricing.  $200-$400 and up.  There are photographers that charge much more.  These higher prices will often include an assistant/make-up artist that will help with make-up and hair.  If the photographer is traveling some distance to you, there may be additional cost for this as well.
  8. Are you comfortable with the photographer?  This can sometimes be a make/break point with a headshot or portrait.  He or she may be a great photographer but you just don’t click.  Talk to the photographer, meet if it is practical.  Read some testimonials. 

And have some fun with it!

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Selfie – Self Portrait

Selfie – Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Dramatic Portrait

I was getting revved up last Fall to do more portraits.  I had viewed a bunch of videos done by .  Excellent course available on if you are interested. 

There is no shortage of material on Youtube and elsewhere for learning studio photography and lighting.  My learning process goes a bit like this.  I try and find someone’s photos I like, then figure out the lighting and do exactly what the other photographer did. That’s the first step.  The great thing with someone like Chris Knight is that he guides you through step by step.  I honestly knew a fair bit of the material in his video course but there were definitely some hole that needed filling in.  But more than that, the course showed me how to apply what I knew to what I wanted to do. 

The other thing that continuous learning does, is keep it fresh. 

Once I’ve duplicated exactly the techniques of whatever photographer I’m emulating, and after I’ve done it one or several times, I gain more understanding of what does and doesn’t work for me. 

At that point I can make some decisions of what to add or subtract or alter using other bits of knowledge that I’ve acquired.  Without the first step, I never really get to this third step.  But here I can add other things like some of the techniques of head shot guru Peter Hurley

And studying Dutch masters and how they used chiaroscuro or Leonardo’s “Divine Proportion” and working with these until they become second nature will go a long way to making your photos really communicate.  The way to do this is duplicate whatever process you are trying to learn. Do it over and over and over.  The more this is done the better your understanding and then the better you will be able to put your own create or spin on it. 

All dressed up and no-one to photograph because the world shut down!

So, I took to shooting a few photos of myself.  All the lights I used had modelling lights but that wasn’t a lot of use except for the backlight.  As a result I made more trips back and forth to the camera than I care to count.


The photo here was accomplished with four lights.  Camera right and very near and on the same plane I used a Strobepro 63” Para-Deep Parabolic Umbrella with STROBEPRO 600M Studio Strobe. Camera left, a 4 foot Octabox with grid and StrobePro 400M Studio Strobe.  Camera right behind subject (me) a 4 foot rectangular soft box with grid. Light for this is ProFoto  500. And to shed a little light on the back a small 80MM with a snoot. (

The model was very patient while I went through various combinations of power on the lights.  Thank god for the remote firing thingamajig!

Some tweaking in Lightroom and Photoshop and this is the result. 

Never stop learning.

Tastefull Nudes

#portrait #dramaticportrait #headshot #portraiture #studioportrait #chiaroscuro

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