Maybe your current headshot is an old photo, maybe it's a selfie, or maybe you're still sporting an empty generic grey box. Either way, if you don't love your headshots, they aren't helping you make the best impression you can for your business. So how do you step up your image?
First, acknowledge you need a new headshot.
Second, make time to sit with a photographer. And not just any photographer — you need one that knows how to take portraits. Photographers that shoot mainly sporting events or landscapes may not necessarily know how to photograph a face in the most flattering way.
Once you've decided to have a proper headshot session, the next question is:
What do I wear?
A good portrait photographer won't let you come to your session unprepared. Whatever your profession, your new headshots should be everything you've waited for. With that in mind, I've put together a list of tips for choosing the right looks to help bring out your best.
Think of what you want your image to say. Do you want people to know you are a strong force in a business suit... an approachable nurturer in a pretty blouse and fitted jeans... a fun-loving soul with a vest and pin-striped slacks? I like to do a quick web search of people who are like me that I admire. They can be celebrities, mentors, or friends in your same profession. Gather a collection of photos in your smart phone library, or create a Pinterest page. Choose sources that would speak well about your professionalism and inspire you, but also has your same level of comfort. (See my Pinterest page on What to Wear for Business Headshots here.)
Stay true to your style, and keep it simple. If the thought of wearing a suit makes you panic, then don't wear a suit for your photo session. If you sweat easily, don't wear silk. Wear that knit dress you look great in with a sheer wrap instead. And let's say that everything in your closet has cats printed all over it. This would be a time to consider limiting the broadcasting of your cat adoration to a small charm.
Now is not the time to justify your jewelry box. Accessories like big earrings, giant hair bows or flamboyant necklaces can distract from your face. Keep jewelry subtle and complimentary, rather than letting it dominate your photo space.
Consider color. A good mix of colors or a statement color pop can be exciting in a headshot. Solid colors are preferred, and "jewel tones"— blues, reds, greys, greens, purples — generally look great on everyone. White or black can be great with interesting textures or character included. Stay away from overly bright or neon colors. Do not wear busy or bold patterns. Do not wear clothing with big logos, text or graphic prints.
Layer. If you have the chance to bring more than one wardrobe choice, an easy way to switch up your look without carrying a lot of bulk is to layer. For example, mixing up a flirty blouse, a blazer, and a scarf can give you three quick changes, each with a different mood. Layering textures or a beautiful color palette can show your confidence and versatility.
Play dress up. Definitely spend some time in the mirror playing with wardrobe choices. Settle on a couple of options that you feel comfortable in, fits well, and is appropriate for your line of work.
Ask. If you're still uncertain, ask close friends who know you well for their opinions. Keep communicating with your photographer to help guide you or narrow down your choices.
Everyone wins with a smile. Lastly, though it may seem obvious, remember to wear a smile. Be comfortable in your own skin, and trust that relaxing and enjoying your photo session is the best thing you can do to help your headshots come out great.