We all want to look good in photographs! Usually, when viewing a picture in which we are included finding ourselves is the first thing we look for. And then we tend to judge the whole photograph purely on whether we like how we look or not. So if we think we look good we’re happy to declare it a good photograph. But if we don’t like how we look we judge it a bad picture, even if all the other elements of the photo are perfect! Some photos are more important than others and if it’s for business or professional purposes then it can be crucial!
Of all the images your company or business use your personal profile picture is always going to be the most important! No matter how impressive your products, services or assets, people want to know who they are doing business with and will always seek out your profile photo for that face-to-face connection. First impressions are very important and give you the opportunity to lay a foundation of client trust and confidence right from the get-go.
5 TIPS FOR A PERFECT PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT
1) Quality. The clarity and quality of your photograph speaks volumes. A crystal clear, pin sharp image portrays professionalism, therefore, make sure it is well lit, focus point is on your eyes and it is not fuzzy or shaky. If the photograph is to be used on the internet it will benefit from a couple of tweaks before you upload it as many platforms, particularly, facebook compress the image which can seriously degrade it. Increasing the sharpness and contrast by around 10% is a great help as is resizing the image to the exact dimensions it’s going to be used.
2) What to wear? 'Smart and Simple' is a good rule. Don’t go too casual or too formal. Imagine you’re asked to give a short talk or presentation about your business in front of a room full of potential clients. If your business has a uniform or specific dress code then stick with that as it matches your branding. Make sure you suit what you wear. This may sound obvious but it’s one the most common mistakes. A certain style may be the height of fashion but it has to suit your own body shape, size and personality for it to work on you.
3) How to pose? Turn your body a quarter away from the camera and then turn your head back towards the camera. This will improve how you look immediately! A professional photographer can then refine your pose from here to suit your face and body shape. If you choose to be seated for your photograph don’t slide or lean all the way back on the chair as this will make your shoulders and upper body appear as if you’re slouching. Sit up straight and then slide your bum forward so your perched on the edge of the seat with your back unsupported. This will give you a good posture.
4) Where to take it? Your backdrop is crucial so consider carefully where you will stand. Cluttered backgrounds, eye sores, and other distractions scream amateur! Go with a simple, plain backdrop (white or black is good) or a location that fits in with your work. Props can be good if used subtly and strategically.
5) How to look great? Choice of lens and lighting are the two key elements. Lens: The lens on your camera makes an enormous difference. A wide angle lens (such as on your smartphone) distorts the image making you look big and bulky. A telephoto lens (ie: between 80-150mm) does the opposite, it compresses the image giving a far more pleasing and flattering result. Lighting: Soft, diffused, angled lighting is the most flattering. Avoid using the flash on the camera as it is far too harsh, giving the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ effect. Perfect, natural lighting would be ideal however as we live in Scotland we often fluctuate between strong sunlight that is too harsh or dull, drab light that is too dull. A good professional photographer will carry supplemental lighting with him and is skilled at balancing things out. Be sure to check the photographers sample images carefully to ensure you book the right one.