Making An Impression That Lasts

Issue 100

In the digital age, your professional image is often the first impression you make. Whether it's for LinkedIn, your company website, or social media profiles, a business headshot is a powerful tool. Here's a short guide to ensure your business headshot reflects the polished image you want to convey.

1. What to wear?

Hawaiian shirts might be a hit on the beach, but they have no place in a business headshot, unless you are a comedian. Keep it simple with plain tops that exude professionalism. Consider where you’ll use the image – LinkedIn, your website, social media, or press releases. Tailor your outfit to your audience and the impression you want to leave. Remember, an inappropriate photo could turn potential clients away.

2. Background

Just be aware of what is in the background. I am an advocate of environmental shots, so if you work in a nice office, then there is nothing wrong with having that in the background, so long as it is not distracting. Avoid the Prisoner Mug Shot look by steering clear of walls. That said, if you work from home, viewers may be more interested in your decor.

3. Lighting

Lighting is key to a successful headshot. Stand indoors near a large, preferably north-facing window. This provides constant indirect light throughout the day, preventing harsh shadows. The great artists such as Rembrandt always had north facing studios. Turn off interior lights, as mixed lighting can create unpleasant tones. Avoid the unflattering effects of overhead lighting. Remember, a well-lit photo can make all the difference.

4. Lens/settings

When using a phone, opt for the highest resolution available to allow for cropping later. Understand your phone’s Pro and Portrait settings for optimal results. Disable beauty mode, as artificial textures are a no-go. Maintain a proper distance from the camera to avoid distortion. If you’re using a professional camera, consider a 105mm focal length and a distance of approximately four meters for a top-notch headshot.

5. Smile and Posture

Strike a balance with your smile; aim for an eight out of 10 on the scale. One being unsmiling and 10 being really cheesy. Most men benefit from a square-on pose without a head tilt, but exceptions exist and best to try out different options. If you wear glasses, be mindful of reflections, usually a slight turn or head down will do the trick. When taking photos, try various poses with your body angled differently to discover what suits you best. For the ultimate result, consider hiring a professional photographer, but hey, we might be a little biased.

Remember, your business headshot is an investment in your professional identity. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a picture-perfect portrayal of the competent and approachable individual you are.

Scarlet Butterfly Media offer both Photography and Videography services, we are based in the North East but often complete projects all over the UK.

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