High quality headshots are essential in making a good first impression. A consistent image across all of your social media platforms will definitely aid you in your networking efforts.
So, it’s time to recruit your flatmate, the one who claims to have mastered the art of Instagram, and set to work. Just remember at the end of the day, you want to have photos that you’re happy with. It's worth taking the time and getting them right.
Here's our advice on how to take expert headshots.
1. Professional but approachable
Getting the perfect headshot is a fine balance between looking professional and trustworthy, but also friendly and natural. You don’t need to dress to impress – wear something smart that you feel comfortable in.
2. Know your audience
Think about who is going to be seeing these photos. What sort of roles are you applying for? You want to take into account what is appropriate; to fit in with the culture of the industry. For tech start-ups, for example, the culture is likely to be completely different to large Investment Banks. You want to demonstrate that you are right for and understand the area of business you’re applying for.
3. Smile, but not too much
A nice, genuine smile will give the impression that you are both approachable and easy to work with. That being said, a big cheesy grin probably isn’t the best way of getting across that you are a professional and can take yourself seriously. If you’re worried about your smile looking too forced or fixed, try a subtle laugh and you will come across much more natural.
4. Know your angles
What’s your good side? We all have things that we would rather not emphasise in photos, so it’s useful to understand how you can work the camera to your advantage. A useful top tip is to align yourself slightly below the line of the camera, as this is supposed to be the most flattering angle (and helps avoid the dreaded double chin).
5. It’s all about the lighting
Good lighting is key to taking a great photo. The trick is to opt for more diffused, natural lighting as it will create almost an air brushed effect, hiding any unwanted blemishes or marks. To achieve this, position yourself to face where the light is coming from with the camera in front of you.
6. Consider your surroundings
Background and surroundings will contribute to the photo more than you might realise. White walls will reflect the light back onto you, whereas strong darker colours are more likely to leave the colour or shadow on your face. If in doubt, it’s best to find a fairly plain light background for your headshot.
6. Avoid graphic disasters
Any clothing with obvious logos, bands or slogan is a big no. Not only are they unprofessional but are often distracting. Our tip is to steer towards plainer, more muted colours that enhance your features. Remember, headshots usually have a shelf life of about two years, so you want to ensure that what you are wearing will not only be suitable for now, but also the foreseeable future.
This is probably an obvious one, but important none the less. Your headshots are not the time to be experimenting with the latest Instagram filters. If you’ve found a nice well-lit spot, a natural looking photo will be much better anyway.
And finally, definitely no selfies. If you or a friend has a camera, that’s ideal. However, a good smartphone camera will do the trick.