There are a lot of elements that go into making a great headshot; clothes, lighting, hair, makeup, shooting angle, pose etc, etc, but if I had to take THE most important element it would be the person’s expression by far.

The whole purpose of a headshot is to evoke some kind of connection between the person in the headshot and the person viewing it.  They’re seeing your face online or even printed in a stack of actor’s headshots and the person viewing is giving you only a few seconds(if that) of consideration before they declare you hero or zero.

It doesn’t matter whether you have model looks or not; your headshot must have some kind of engaging expression if you want to stand out.  But something happens when most of us step in front of a camera – a lot of us go blank and end up looking like a deer in headlights.
geoff-headshot-example-before-1

Many times at best we’re told to say “cheese” and what results is a completely manufactured looking attempt at some real warmth.  Not good enough.
geoff-headshot-example-before-2

Are these the types of headshots we want out in front of our personal brand?  Definitely not, however, I see FAR TOO MANY headshots that fall into the above two categories.  If you’re in sales is this how you want your clients to perceive you?  If you’re a real estate agent do you want someone’s first visual impression of you to be one of apprehension or a lack of authenticity?

However, it is not the fault of client and this is where the photographer comes in.

How are they directing you?

Are they simply sitting you down and saying “smile” and clicking the shutter?

Is the session 15 minutes or are they really taking the time to get you in the zone for a great headshot?

Are they making minor subtle adjustments to your body and/or head position to change the message your body language is sending out?

Is the photographer really bringing out the best version of yourself?

Case geoff-headshot-example-afterand point is right here.  I’ve been using Geoff as an example throughout this post and no doubt he’s a naturally good looking guy.  However, good looks alone don’t make for a compelling headshot.

Here’s another example where we have a real genuine smile but it still is not the best we can do.  Even real smiles sometimes fall short of the compelling expressions we are going for.  We can still do better.

Fast forward to a little later into the session and we’ve got some real energy coming into the camera.  This is done by the photographer taking into account all the details of his face, directing him accordingly and working with him to nail it.headshot corporate

 

Most of us are not professional actors that can make compelling expressions on demand that give some real energy back to the camera.  This is why it is important for your photographer to completely help and direct you into what is going to look best; pose, expression, clothes, hair, everything because anyone can buy a great camera these days.

Reach out to me and let me know what kind of good or bad headshot experiences you have had in the past!!

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