What does your headshot say about you?

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Gwen G. Tautimez

I recently had my headshot redone. How long has it been since your’s was taken? Would people even recognize you at a networking event from your picture? I live by the rule of every 3 years you should update your profile picture with a new head-shot. Here are a few tips I found in this article about the top 7 tips to taking a successful picture.

1. Go pro. Spend the money. It’s worth it. Go to a professional, who is trained, understands lighting, and takes headshots for a living, not some friend who happens to have a decent camera who “sorta knows a little about photography.” Save those pictures for Instagram, and leave the headshots to the pros. Good headshots range from $400-$1200, and to get them professionally duplicated (not at CVS) will cost you another $100. Anything less is just a glorified passport photo. If the headshots look cheap, they probably are. And you look like you don’t care about your career.

2. Go for personality over glamour. Make sure it looks like you. Chill with the airbrushing. Casting directors expect you to look just like your headshot, and will not be happy when you show up looking totally different, or 10 years older. It’s not about looking pretty, it’s about representing your type, age wrinkles included. It should look like you on your best day, showing your age, and who you are now.It’s not about the type you want to be, it’s the type you are.

3. It’s all about the eyes. Just like with on-camera acting, it’s all about the eyes, and what’s happening behind them. It’s your closeup, your moment. Your eyes should be perfectly in focus, alive, and energized, and not dead and glazed over. There should be strong inner thoughts, implying a backstory and a life behind the eyes. A slight squint, and strong piercing eyes will bring a picture to life and help it stand out in a pile of hundreds. A good headshot photographer knows how to bring this out in you.

4. Pay attention to framing, lighting, and background. In general, a good headshot is chest up with good lighting on your face, and no strong dramatic shadows, unless you are going in for “The Phantom of the Opera.” Three-quarter shots are good for print, and extreme closeups are good for, well, nothing. Look directly into camera, and the focus should be on the center of your eyes, not your left ear, or your shirt collar. No peace signs, weird facial hair, or the famous “hand on face” pose. Be sure the background is blurred, which means it’s shot with a good, high quality camera with a high-depth of field, which makes you stand out. We don’t need to see that you are standing on the beach in Santa Monica, or on a tour boat in front of the Statue of Liberty. It’s about you, not the environment.

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