These days, headshots are a critical piece of the puzzle for a strong professional social-media presence.  A well-done, professional headshot can be the first step in standing out from the crowd.  I believe making that happen is 100% the responsibility  of the photographer.

A GOOD professional photographer will know how to get someone to relax in front of the camera in order to make their subjects personality shine through.

Below are some tips for achieving the perfect professional headshot.

 1. Equipment.

A fast lens (large aperture with a small F number) is a must when shooting a professional headshot to blur your background and create the visual separation that draws eyes to the subject.

Avoid wide-angle lenses for a professional headshot. A wide-angle lens will distort your subject in an unflattering way that is rarely, if ever desired for a professional headshot.  The goal here is to present a look that’s marketable.  Not abstract art.

2. Background.

Play with different backgrounds.  Remember, they’ll most likely be blurred out but that blurred out background can help set the mood so put some thought into creating that mood. You want a background that will support the look you’re trying to create without being a distraction.  The key is to have a background that will allow the focus to still be on your subject.

A plain, minimalist background works best, but if a simple background is unobtainable, blur the background as much as you can with a telephoto lens, wide open.

3. Facial expressions.

The facial expression helps create the feel of confidence.  Go for confident, yet approachable.  That produces a very marketable look for a professional headshot.

Have your subject practice some facial expressions in the mirror.  When shooting pictures, start with a solid foundation, then direct your subject to produce the goal look.

4. Composition.

Do NOT position your subject so that they are directly squared off to the camera.  This is a professional headshot, not a passport picture.  Turn your subject so that they are slightly facing your light source.

Play with different angles.  Shoot down on your subject from above, then to switch it up a bit, shoot up to your subject from below.  Remember that shooting up can be very unflattering so be careful with that one.

Don’t forget to consider the person’s clothing, and all other elements that may be in the image.  If they are there, make sure they are there for a reason.

Hopefully, these tips will help you produce headshots that your clients will be proud to display.  As always, thanks for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me this week.  If you like what you’ve read here, please subscribe and share via the social media links.  You can also find MTM Photography on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram so be sure to check out those pages!  I’ll see ya next week!