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5 Tips for Taking a Better Corporate Headshot




Taking a corporate headshot can be a daunting process. Whether you are doing it yourself or having a professional take it for you, here are some tips that will help you stand out above the crowd. 

1. Absolutely No Selfies

This is one of the biggest mistakes you see people make time and time again. They will go to the trouble to put their suit on, find nice light, seek out a good background (and let their arm take the entire bottom right corner of the picture).

Taking a picture of yourself at arms length just doesn't work. A selfie tells the public that you either don't have friends, don't care, or don't know any better. Either way you just lost our interest. Best solution for a headshot: Find a friend or a tripod.


2. Solid Colors Only  

One of the most common questions I received as a photographer was what someone should wear for a photoshoot. In a headshot, we only care about what’s above the waist so that makes things a little easier but you can still make some pretty big missteps here. Avoid patterns and busy prints for your shirts and any jacket you may be wearing. Complicated patterns draw attention away from your face and make people focus on your clothes. The goal of a headshot should be to get the viewer to look right in your eyes so that you have an opportunity to start building trust.

SEE ALSO: Master the Perfect Social Media Image Size for Every Platform

If they are looking at your shirt they will never make a connection with your face. So, let’s stick to solid colors as much as possible! A slight pattern on a tie or scarf is acceptable but be sure that the design isn’t overpowering your face.

3. Angles Are Your Friends

In photography school we had a saying… Flat Background Flat Photo. Your headshot should have depth in the background, it gives a sense of place and dimension. If you are going to be shooting with a wall as a background, put one shoulder on the wall and turn your back at a slight angle away from the wall. This will let the wall run off into the background giving you a nice sense of depth in the photograph. However, a very useful technique is to keep the background extra simple and use straight white or black. While we are are speaking about angles let’s talk about your shoulders. We used to divvy away from the football team “Intimidation portrait” squaring your shoulders to the camera. At best it makes you look formidable but at worst it can make you look broad. 

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While the traditional 30 degree angle - chin tilt angle is timeless, modernize your headshot by establishing a power stance. 

4. Look Down on Yourself

High angles make you look better! They focus the viewers attention on your eyes while slimming the neck and shoulders. You don’t have to go crazy breaking out ladders or skylifts but having your photographer take one step up a footstool can make all the difference in the world.  

5. Diffuse the Tension with Diffused Light

Ok this one seems scary… I used a pretty technical term right in the subheading. Diffused light is just light that creates a soft shadow. Imagine the quality of light that you get on a cloudy day. You can barely see your shadow and when you do it has a soft, fuzzy edge. Hard light (light that creates a hard lined shadow) makes your face seem overly angular and brings out the worst textures in your skin. Does that mean you have to wait for a cloudy day before you take your picture? No, you can accomplish soft light by filtering the light you are using through diffusion material. Diffusion material can be an thin piece of fabric, a white bedsheet, sheer curtains, or even wax paper in a pinch!

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