How to take the perfect headshot for your social media profiles?

First impressions count.

The headshot you choose to upload on your different social media platforms plays a HUGE role in how you want to be seen online and how you want to brand yourself.

The perfect headshot is warm, relatable, professional, authentically you and welcoming.

Many of you might not know this but I’ve worked as a professional, commercial model for many years while still in college (and to help pay for college in all honesty).

Pssst… I even did a photo-shoot for Vogue Italia ;).

As such, I’ve done countless of photo shoots over the years.

I’ve learned how to become completely comfortable in front of a camera or a whole set of cameras.

How to get the lighting right, what angles will play towards my body’s attributes and which ones I should avoid, how to showcase different emotions on my face and much, much more.

One of THE most important things as a model, as an entrepreneur, a business owner or, really any other kind of professional that you want to get right is – THE HEADSHOT.

Some of you reading this right now might have cringed with me only mentioning this dreaded subject.

But I promise you when you’re done reading this blog post, you’re going to feel SO much better about the whole subject matter and will have an idea of how to get your own perfect headshot ;).

Deal? Let’s get started!

It’s not you, it’s me. 

Have you maybe ever stopped to think that when you got your headshot taken by a professional photographer that it wasn’t even your own fault that the headshot didn’t turn out okay.

Trust me. One of THE biggest key influences that come into play when taking your headshot is the person who is actually taking it!

For head shots, I personally always love to shoot with photographers that are also my friends.

Why? Because I feel like I can really showcase who I am.

This is not to say that you can’t do this with a photographer you might not quite feel as comfortable with either.

However, if you are not very familiar – or even comfortable – doing a lot of photo-shoots, this can really be a big challenge for you because you’re missing the practice and possibly, confidence.

So, my first suggestion would be to go out and actually have a quick coffee with the headshot or portrait photographer first, before actually scheduling a shoot with him/her.

That way there won’t be any surprises.

And remember that even though a photographer might have amazing ratings on Yelp or, he/she has a thriving fan-base of loving fans on Instagram, the most important thing is that you feel like you can vibe with this photographer. Cool?

By the way, a great resource I’ve found for finding portrait or headshot photographers if you currently don’t have any friends that are photographers are asking on Facebook or in Facebook Groups if someone can recommend someone in your local area ;).

Kim Kardashian is not invited.

Keep the make up natural.

You do NOT want to wear a ton of make up. The best head shots are the ones that document you as if you’d be sitting across from me in real life.

And even if you might be a person similarly to Kim Kardashian that enjoys to wear a lot of make up, I would still recommend to tone it down for your headshot.

One of the main reasons is that a close shot of your face will show clumps of mascara or dark lipstick. And that ain’t pretty.

So, I’d recommend to choose light to medium eyeliners, eye shadows, and lipsticks that are only a shade or two darker than your skin tones.

My favorite products that I’ve been using for pretty much every one of my past head shots like this one are:

{And side note: Yes, you can totally do your own make up if you know how to!}

Primer: DHC Velvet Skin Primer

Foundation: Yves Saint Laurent Awakening Foundation

Eyeliner: Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Definer

Eye Shadow Kit: Honeybee Gardens Hot Chocolate Eye Shadow Kit

Brow Brush: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel 

Mascara: Christian Dior Iconic

Lipstick: Lancome L’Absolu Lipstick

In conclusion, a light make-up will bring your features out in a subtle manner without making it look like you’re wearing lots of makeup.

Caking on heavy foundation, or wearing shiny eye shadow or lip gloss because on camera it will just look wet.

And yes, skin blemishes, pimples, and even wrinkles can be retouched. It’s not cheating. We all do it ;).

In case you’re wondering what ‘too much’ is, check out this cool collage by OrganicHeadshots. You want to be in the natural and heavier than natural category.

Color Me Pretty

You’d think that since you’re taking a head-shot, the clothes you’re gonna wear aren’t overly important.

But that is not true. The kind of colors you choose to wear can totally add to an overall ‘WOW’-factor or otherwise, can make you appear ‘washed out’. 

I recommend choosing mid-tone colors such as blue, green, wine and purple because they are universally flattering.

Avoid wearing tops in flesh tones (cream, beige, pastels, peach or yellow) as they will blend your face into your clothes.

And unless you’re feeling super confident or you wear those colors on a regular basis already, pass on bright red or orange colors.

Relax, Baby, Relax

You want to know my absolutely favorite tip that I use during any type of photo-shoot?

Okay… I’ll reveal my secret to you.

The day before a photo-shoot, I choose about 5 different songs that I play over and over again.

These songs ideally will make me feel different emotions based on what is needed for the head shot.

For a photo shoot, you want to choose one of your favorite songs that will make you feel all happy and giddy inside – whichever song that is. Your choice.

So, instead of going into the photo shoot and just nervously starting into the camera, past the camera or even look down, start playing the songs in your head that you’ve prepared – one at a time.

Ideally, you want to be singing along with each song silently, so well do you need to know them.

This will totally relax your face!

Unless, of course, it’s a song that is going to make you tear up but you so don’t wanna choose that kind of song for a head shot photo shoot.

Then, just listen to the slight directions the photographer gives you while instead of thinking about nothing, you play the music in your head.

My all-time favorite songs to play in mind while doing head-shots are:

What are yours? Leave a comment down below with your favorite ;).

It’s All About That BodyLanguage

Relax your shoulders. This will ensure that your neck looks elongated. This is true for both men and women.

Next, slightly tilt down your chin. Not too much though or you’re running into the possibility of displaying a double chin and we wouldn’t want that ;).

If you stick out your chin too much and raise it up too much, you might look arrogant and we wouldn’t want that either.

Next, it’s always advised to look at the camera at a slight angle. Tilt your head slightly (!) towards one direction and than, glance back at the camera.

Also, your face should always be turned towards the current light source (so from where the light is coming from).

 

Finally, have fun with it!

A photo shoot is an amazing way to capture a moment in your life that you might always want to remember <3.

If you’ve found these tips to be useful and you’ve used some of them in your head-shot photo-shoot, be sure to drop a comment with your image down below. I’d absolutely LOVE to see it :).

Let’s do this!

~ Cornelia

P.s. You might also enjoy: https://corneliapauline.com/2018/03/17/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-to-create-professional-videos-from-home/

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Hi! I'm Cornelia Pauline, the author of this pretty badass blog. My team and I have been running a full-time, international digital marketing agency for the past 3 years. We've helped many of our clients scale up to multiple 6-and-7 figures. Throughout this blog, I hope to provide kickass value by sharing my knowledge with you ;).

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