10 Tips for a Killer Headshot { New York Photography }

Outdoor Natural Light Headshots in New York Czech Republic with Chuck

First off if you’re looking for a New York Headshot Photographer you can check out my portfolio here.

So you want to get a killer headshot.  Here’s 10 things you can do before and during your shoot to ensure you come away with something that you will completely love.

10. Lots of Rest.

I know it might sound simple, but if you’re well rested it will certainly read in your shots.  Your eyes will be less puffy.  You’ll have tons of energy.  You’ll just generally be a lot happier to be in front of the camera.  This will translate into you getting better images.

9. Hydate.

Again this might sound like a no brainer, but seriously if you’re well hydrated it fixes a lot of things.  It’s the inverse of how you look when you’re a bit hungover.  You know that look, bags under your eyes, skin is a bit off color, hair is kinda a mess.  But if you’re well hydrated all those problems go away.  I would say try and make sure you drink at least a half gallon of water the 2 days before your shoot.  This will help shake off all that dehydration.  Your skin tone will even out across your face, and it will be much easier for me to retouch later.

8. Simple Clothes.

I know you might think your headshot is a time when you want to make a fashion statement, but it’s probably not.  Your headshot should be something that’s pretty much timeless.  This means that that trendy members only Jacket should stay at home.  You want to wear lots of solid colors.  Patterns are ok, but only if they are really…. well boring.  No big flowery things.  You want your clothes to compliment your look, not distract from it.  If you’re coming in for more than one look, I always suggest doing one more casual, and one dressier outfit.  That way you can have two totally different looks to you.  You can use one for LinkedIn, and one for Instagram.

7. Relax.

Remember, I’ve been doing this for years.  And it’s my job to make you look fantastic.  And don’t worry, I got this.  I promise you’re going to love the images we’re shooting, or we’ll shoot something else.  Headshots shouldn’t be stressful, and if they were, then I’m sorry that you weren’t working with me.  I know you want to look your best, and that’s where me and my team comes in.  We can make you look fantastic with the touch of a bit of makeup, and a some posing help from me.

6. Don’t Rush.

I don’t want you to rush to get ready, or rush to get to my studio.  So take your time, and make sure you give yourself plenty of leeway.  You’re going to be packing up clothes, and coming to a place you’ve never been before.  If you’re all flustered, you’ll feel flustered for most of the shoot.  And if you’re running and rushing, you’ll be sweaty, rosy in the cheeks, and your hair probably won’t look as good as you want.  If you get to my studio early it’s usually not a problem, and we can talk about what you want for the shoot.

5. Professional Hair and Makeup.

I can’t tell you how much it matters that you hire a professional hair and makeup artist.  I work with some of the best in the industry, and I promise they’ll make you look fantastic.  The difference between my HMUA, and someone at a salon though is that they know what looks good on film.  There’s a big difference between your everyday look, and what you should wear when you’re in front of a camera and professional studio lights.  My makeup artist know what will look good, and what won’t work.  They really can take your headshot from good to AMAZING!

Even for men.  A lot of the problem with us men as we get older our skin tones start to change across our face.  Our noses get more red, and our cheeks get more red, while the rest of our face starts to loose some color.  A professional makeup artist can help to smooth all this out, and give you a nice even look.  I promise you’ll still look like you, just better.

4.The Squinch.

I almost don’t want to spoil the fun of this one, but trust me, I have a way to give you a seriously fantastic headshot in a matter of seconds by just squinching your eyes ever so slightly.  It will take you from deer in the headlights, to rockstar in 2 seconds.  Seriously, try it the next time you’re taking a selfie, and tell me you don’t like the way you look.

3. Strengthen your jawline.

Out and down.  I’ll walk you through this, but we’ll strengthen your jawline, by having you pull your head out ever so slightly.  I promise it will make a world of difference.

2. Be open and honest.

Please tell me what you want.  You’re my client, and I really do want to make you happy.  That also means you have to tell me exactly what you’re using these for.  If you’re setting up an e-harmony profile, that’s a lot different than if you’re getting a headshot for LinkedIn.  And each of those 2 styles has a slightly different look.  If you tell me I can make sure that we get you exactly what you’re after.  Please don’t be shy if you don’t like something we’ve setup, then let’s setup something different.  I want you to come away loving your shots, and the only way that I can do that is if you tell me what you like and what you don’t like.  I know that you’re going to be plastering them all of the place, and that’s why I want to make sure you’re really happy with them.

1. Have Fun.

We’ll crank up the music you like to hear.  We’ll minimize the awkwardness I promise.  If you’re having fun there are a ton of great things that happen.  You relax, your shoulders let down, and you end up with a lot more natural smiles.

In the end I’ll do everything I can to make sure you end up with a fantastic headshot.

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2 Responses

  1. Jenn

    I really liked these tips, especially the one about the jaw line. That little extra shadow under the chin, and having your jawline just a little more taut, makes you look slim and is really flattering. As far as patterns go, I really like having people wear a solid colored shirt with a gently patterned scarf. Sometimes you can get away with a loud scarf with high contrast patterns, but a soft plaid is timeless and gives the photo a little focal interest if the background is plain!

  2. Laurie

    For me, the best shots happen when a photographer can get me to relax. You have provided some really great tips, thanks for sharing!


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