Quick headshot tips for a great website portrait

A major goal for all successful businesses is to make a trusted connection with clients. Warm and inviting content can only get you so far; clients want to put a face with the trusted name. Biographies are a great way to introduce yourself to your clients and adding a headshot to your biography can only strengthen your bond with clients. Unfortunately, you need to make that connection now and a photographer may not be available until a month from now. Here are some headshot tips that will help you take the best portrait pictures and tide you over until the professional photo shoot. All you need is a smartphone less than two years old and a little bit of knowledge.

  • Location, location, location. The best pictures are usually taken outside in the mid-morning or early-evening. If you would rather stay indoors, stay away from busy wallpapers and instead stick to neutral colored backgrounds. Bookshelves and brick walls work nicely, too. If you want a picture of someone sitting at their desk, keep a few of those family portraits and the name plaque, but remove the rest. You don’t want your viewer distracted from the focal point.
  • Put things in the right light. If you’re forced to shoot over lunch, direct sunlight can make your subjects appear washed out, try to schedule a day with some cloud cover. If you’re staying inside, it’s best to use a couple of light sources. You can achieve this by using a couple of lamps with the shades removed (see fig.1). Place the lamps on either side of the camera and position them so the light source is level with the focal point. If you only have one lamp, grab that windshield sun shade from your back seat and use the silver side to reflect the lamp’s light. You shouldn’t need a tripod, but areas with low light will trigger your flash; in that case, you may need to increase your light source, but try to avoid a direct flash.
  • Strike a pose. You want your subjects to use good posture. Stand (or if necessary, sit) straight up with shoulders pushed back a bit. Your camera should be eye level with your subject; you don’t want them to be looking up or down at you. The camera needs to be placed directly in front of the subject, but the subject should not stare at the camera head on (like a mug shot). A small turn to the side will make the subject appear slimmer (see fig.1). Take multiple shots of the same subject. You don’t want to finish the shoot and realize the subject had their eyes closed except for one image…and that one is blurry.
    turn to the side

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Sarah Geller and Jonny Rector

All stories by: Sarah Geller and Jonny Rector

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