The following blog is a sample article for photographers who specialize in headshots of different varieties and who want to A) educate clients on what headshots are ahead of their first shoot, and B) provide tips for the best headshot.

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words… and a good headshot is worth a million!

Today, we’ll not only offer a deeper insight into the headshots used to book modelling and acting jobswe will take a look at how a great headshot can make an impact in corporate, non-corporate, editorial, and just-for-fun-settings. We will also offer some great tips for the best headshot.  

Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

What Is a Headshot? 

A headshot is what it says on the tin: a picture or portrait of the subject’s head and shoulders. Traditionally, headshots were used by models and actors to book jobs in their respective fields. What was once reserved for two specific demographics has expanded to include anyone who wants them for their business, social media profile, or dating profile (just to name a few!)

As we mentioned earlier, we’ve all heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Maybe we first heard it when we were students in school at the time when school picture day came around. We may be past that now, but the headshots we have taken speak a great deal about who we are as people and what our personalities are like. 

…And both your needs and your personality play hugely into the type of headshot you’ll opt for.

The Types of Headshots

Let’s look at the six types of headshots us photographers commonly handle.

(Bonus: don’t worry, our favourite headshot tips will be included to help you look your best on the day of your shoot.)

The Actor’s Headshot

A great headshot is one of the most important tools in an actor’s arsenal. Casting directors see a lot of people for roles in their films, and your headshot is what they use to narrow down the choices for callbacks or follow-up auditions. 

Headshots for actors are used not only for booking acting jobs but also to show the casting directors what kind of person you are. Your expression and body language in your headshot are determining factors of whether or not you will land acting jobs. 

Headshot mistakes can include bad lighting, uncomfortable stiff posture, awkward positioning of the head, and unnatural expressions of the eyes (crazy/confused/too intense). These mistakes can cost you acting jobs and cause the casting directors to put your headshot to one side and move on to the next one. 

The Modelling Headshot

We’re all enthralled by models, right? These stunning people can wear everyday  clothing and look ethereal… or look great in something that looks like they just picked it up off the floor that morning and threw it on. But it’s their faces, expressions, and eyes that capture us the most. 

Our eyes are the doors to our souls: they draw people in and make them want to know what stories are behind those eyes. 

The most important thing you can do with a model headshot, besides paying professional photographers to take them, is to be yourself. Don’t try to imitate those models that you see in magazines and on billboards. They’re them, you’re you. Your authenticity and originality are what modelling agencies will remember you for. And we guarantee that your smiling eyes will look more authentic when that smile is genuine!

Other actionable tips for making the most of your modelling headshot shoot include:

  • Wear light makeup
  • Dress in solid-coloured clothing to keep the attention on your face
  • Keep your hairstyle clean and simple
  • Relax your shoulders

The Business Headshot

We’ve covered acting and modelling headshotsnow let’s turn our attention over to other industries that use headshots. Business headshots are used on company websites, resumes, portfolios, and newsletters, just to name a few. 

Business headshots have a simple, formal concept. There’s no need for fancy poses. However, the client should have an overall professional appearance. Their outfit, makeup, hairstyle and pose should speak to their professionalism and exude confidence. 

On LinkedIn, statistics have shown that LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots receive 14x more profile views

The Not-So-Corporate Headshot

A not-so-corporate headshot has the same idea as a business headshot, but is more relaxed and not quite so formal. Entrepreneurs use this approach and usually choose semi-formal attire as opposed to wearing a suit-and-tie, as well as choosing a background that is not professional. 

For this type of headshot, you don’t have to look at the camera straight-on. Sometimes a candid, captured moment can be the best look, and it can be fun too! 

When in doubt, try the following:

  • Have a casual conversation with your photographer to lighten the atmosphere
  • Consider having your photographer shoot outside vs in-studio for a more informal backdrop

The Editorial Headshot

Editorial headshots are headshots that tell stories. They’re more personal than the previous headshots we’ve described. Most commonly, they’re used in newspapers and magazines to support written articles. 

Editorial headshots are probably the most relaxed “formal” headshots: you’ll be given some direction, but you don’t have to be looking directly at the camera nor do you have to be wearing business formal. This type of headshot can be of your whole body, its purpose is to tell the story that you want to tell. 

When having an editorial headshot taken, select an outfit that you feel comfortable and confident in, take your time, and visualize a great result. 

The Just-For-Fun Headshot

The last headshot we’re going to look at is the just-for-fun headshot. This headshot is used for pleasure and fun. Some examples of this type of headshot would be:

  • A headshot that uses original backgrounds and props 
  • A headshot used for social media profiles such as Facebook and Instagram
  • Headshots used for profiles on dating websites or apps such as Tinder, Bumble, etc. 

These headshots generally look more relaxed and capture those moments where we think “this would make a great picture.” 

Rules and tips go out the window when headshots are just for fun: wear and do what feels good! As long as you are having a good time, your photos will reflect that. 

The Value of a Good Headshot 

Whether it’s a headshot used for modelling, acting, or any of the other types of headshots we’ve covered in this article, they all have one thing in common: that good value is important. 

Regardless of if you are using your headshot for personal or professional purposes, you want to make sure that the finished product has the end results that you want. To make a good first impression with your headshot, your photographer will ensure that it is high-quality, suitably retouched, and reflective of your end goal.

Tips for the Best Headshot

This section discusses tips for the best headshot to help you look and feel your best, as well as set your nerves at ease. 

Nervous for your first (or next) headshot?

Here are more of our go-to tips for clients:

  • Decide On What You Want Out of Your Shoot: Is your shoot personal or professional? The headshots you do for fun or for your dating profile are different from headshots you would use to promote your business. Once you’ve decided on if you want a personal or a professional photoshoot, it makes things easier and less stressful. 
  • Focus on the Location, Location, Location, Location: Now that you’ve figured out what you want from your shoot, you can pick the location! Photographers are good at finding and choosing locations that mirror what you want, so don’t be afraid to ask us for advice.

If you’re set on choosing for yourself, we recommend picking a location that is important or sentimental to you if you’re opting for a more personal photoshoot. This could be a building where you have memories, a lake where you spent summer days with family or friends, or even your own backyard. These are good places for personal headshots because you’re somewhere that you feel comfortable and happy. 

Locations for a professional photoshoot might be an outdoor location or indoors with different backdrops. An outdoor photoshoot, with good weather conditions and the right lighting, can make for a great headshot. If you’re more comfortable indoors, we have different backdrops and seating that we’ll use to help you achieve the look you’re going for. If you opt for an outdoor location, we’ll chime in with our recommended time of day so that you’re getting the best natural lighting possible. 

  • Don’t Be Afraid of Props: Actors use props and other tools to add to the imagery of their scenes on the stage and in films and TV shows, and it’s no different for photography. Depending on the type of headshot you’ll be having done, we may suggest a prop or two to lend a certain atmosphere to your shoot.
  • Personalize: When you show your true self, that’s what stands out as opposed to someone who’s trying to look and be like everyone else. Personalization can be done through clothing, hairstyles, and makeup. 
  • Remember That the Early Bird Gets the Worm: We’ve all heard this saying, and in the case of photography, it hits the target. When you’re faced with the choice of early morning light vs. daylight vs. nighttime, early morning light is the way to go. The early morning light gives a different feel to your pictures with beautiful lighting you won’t find at any other time of the day. 
  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush things! By rushing yourself, you’re rushing us too, and neither of us will be happy with the end results of the photographs. Slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the ride. We are pros who love having the chance to help you bring your headshot dreams to life. 
  • Ask For Help: If you’re having difficulties with styling and posing choices, reach out to us before the shoot and we’ll help you with those, as well as any difficulty you’re having with location ideas. Feeling nerves on the day of or the day before? No problem! We’re here to help you, so don’t be shy in speaking up about what would make you feel more comfortable. 
  • Relax! This is a big one. If you’re tense and nervous, those are going to come through in your photos. If you’re feeling nervous on the day of your shoot, do some kind of physical activity to help get rid of the angst and nerves you’re feeling. Add some breathing techniques and meditation and you’re golden. The more peaceful you feel, the more organic your photos will be. 


Now That You Know Our Tips for the Best Headshot, Book Your Next Photography Session Today

We hope you’ve found this article informative and now have a better idea of what headshots are and what they can do for you. 

Feeling ready to have yours done? Give us a call today to book your first (or next!) session with us.

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Today’s sample blog was penned by one of our talented Wee Writers.

Lauren A.Long lives in Quesnel, BC, Canada, is an advocate for mental and physical health, and spends a lot of time reading and writing. She is a fan of Disney and Marvel.