What should you do to create a good headshot for Linkedin or your social media?
Here are some suggestions, tips and tricks to ensure you have a great headshot for social media.
If you can’t access a professional headshot or portrait photographer here are some guidelines.
Use a camera phone with a ‘portrait’ lens. There are many smart phones around today, some are incredibly well specified, and may have a selection of lens.
If you can get someone else to operate it, or have it secured and get away from the camera, ideally by two metres.
1: The further away from the camera the less chance there is to have perspective distortion. This is an effect that is natural but not flattering, if you get close to someone their nose is closer and in-fact it can look enormous!
We accept this in life, but when it is captured on a photo I’m afraid it is not pretty!
2: Eye line. It is often a big mistake that occurs when you look straight into the lens, if the camera is below you, the camera can see under your chin, and possibly see more than one, you also can appear powerful and dominating, a look that could be desirable but only if you are going for a certain type of job?
Try to ensure the camera is a few centimetres higher than your eyes, if you have the camera far away this will look natural, however if you have ignored recommendation 1( Be far away from the camera) you can look like an Egg head.
3: Hair care, ladies have had lots of challenges when their stylists could not provide a good cut or colour, but now hopefully when you get your headshot next a recent visit to your favourite stylist will ensure you have a great cut.
Guys, the same is true, but remember to also have a close shave, unless you have a beard or designer stubble, but even then, make sure you take care of those stray hairs, especially the more mature guys, as a surplus of follicles can ruin a pic.
4 Clothes - It depends what tribe you belong to or want to appear to belong. A simple top can make or break an image. See you clothes as a frame of a picture, too complex and you distract from the main subject (you) , too simple and it looks like you don’t care or have any idea of who you are. T-shirts are fine if you are a sportsman or designer, but a t-shirt neck line is not flattering, if you want a cool look , make sure the top is in great condition and maybe has a v-neck?
You probably have certain colours that suit you, they compliment you hair and skin colour, but be careful not to have colours that are too strong, a bright red can look fabulous but it's the clothes that shall dominate to image, not you.
I recommend men and women to not have pure white although this can be a great look , technically the details of the material can be lost and with a white or light background you can look like your head is floating in space.
One of the major issues with headshots is to tight a jacket or top, make sure you fit into the top you are wearing, a slightly larger size will look and feel more comfortable. A jacket that fits well with a pale blue or coloured shirt, with or without a tie
5 Tie or no tie? Why not both? Currently you may want to look more casual, but in the near future, it maybe better to have a collar with a tie, so make sure you have a good (2/3) choices of ties, I recommend a ‘classic’ and not a fashion statement one, again it's about framing the face and not dominating the picture.
6 Turn your body, there are many reasons to have a formal straight on image, a passport photo is one, but if you have a turn of your body, left or right so your shoulder is slightly leading, it will make it feel more relaxed and considered.
7 To Smile or not? It is always important to smile when you greet people? However, if you want a professional look, maybe a slight smile is better, I take lots of images so the subtle warm look is captured, a model may be able to get this but most people find that is all or nothing look, smile or serious, well as you have 600 plus muscles on your face, the combinations are almost endless and getting the right expression shall be challenging, but do try and take a good number of shots, then you shall see how subtle and different just a slight change can make a shot look great.
8 Colour or Black & White?
A portrait takes on a different quality if it is converted to monochrome, it gives gravitas and can be very complimentary, however it says something that maybe not what you want to communicate to the world.
I love monochrome, having started in the days when newspapers were only colour at weekends and in a supplement, many portraits would be shot only on Black & white film, today the iPhone can convert a headshot into a variety of mono images, well worth exploring, but be very careful, you may look like a wannabe movie star, not quite the professional image you want?
9 Employ a photographer, but ensure you know what you want to look like, who your audience is and what is your headshot is going to say about you.
10 Keep it simple?
It was Charles Baudelaire that said " A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound.” - Your headshot is your communication to the world?
11 Rules of Headshot photography.
Rule 1 - look Cool
Rule 2 - there are no rules!
This is what I have told all my assistants over the years, photography is art & science and has only guidelines based on a few physics principles — best break the rules or we all look the same.