Most people don't realize that their headshot actually speaks. Before you have the opportunity to shake someone's had, talk to them over the phone or even meet them on Zoom, the headshot they see will give them their first impression of you.
I educate all of my clients about headshots in the studio because I want them to feel confident and understand what habits they have created when taking photos and how it affects the overall feel of their headshot.
First question I ask is what they need the headshot for because that determines how corporate or how relaxed the headshot needs to be. Most times, I try to provide both types of options for them to choose from but the most important piece is the facial expression and the pose.
Of course, a smiling headshot is typical but understand there's more than one way to smile. What I find is that most people tend to diminish their smiles because they feel like it's too large and shows too much teeth or makes their eyes squint and so on. While I completely listen to all of their gripes about their smile once I get started I can typically find their natural smile which is somewhere in between their laugh and their regular smile.
I provided a few examples below.
Sometimes, however, there are also reasons that you don't smile. Again, it all depends on what vibe you're going for or what you're trying to say. Take a look at an example below from my branding session with Tomira White of Delicious Bites, LLC. She provides catering services but is also known for her baked goods. See the differences in her headshot?
Did you catch it? Image one gave you Food Network vibes while the other showed you her nice side. Take notice of her eyes, see the difference in each image. The "eye squint" is actually a thing that some headshot photographers teach however I find that some of my clients tend to do it already without knowing. The squint in the eye softens the eyes and can tend to be more welcoming in some cases.
Take a look at your last professional headshot. What is it saying to you? What do you think it's saying to the person on the other end? It might be time for a new headshot.
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Brand Photographer + Strategist
Kalida is a Branding and Headshot Photographer located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that helps creatives and business entrepreneurs elevate their brands through brand strategy and meaningful brand imagery that allows them to gain visibility & credibility in their industry.