10 Expert Tips for Capturing the Perfect Headshot

Capturing headshots to show personality? You’ve arrived!

Learn how to take professional, unique shots with these 10 pro tips. Get those amazing photos with confidence!


Having a professional headshot is essential if you want to make a good impression in the business world – whether you’re an entrepreneur, job seeker, or career climber. It can be intimidating, though, leaving many feeling nervous.

Great news! Taking the perfect headshot doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 10 tips for eye-catching portraits that will make you and your brand stand out:

1. Choose wardrobe and accessories carefully; subtle colors are usually best.

2. Avoid patterns – solid colors look better in photos.

3. Pick an appropriate background that suits your look – white is usually preferable.

4. Research local photographers to find one who understands your needs and creative direction.

5. Practice poses in advance to look confident when it’s time for the photo shoot.

6. Natural makeup is best – avoid exaggerated looks.

7. See if retouching services are included, or if there’s an add-on option.

8. Get photos delivered immediately after the session.

9. Save prints on hard drive and cloud storage for easy access.

10. Don’t forget sharing options like e-mail attachments and social media uploads – but remember some people have limited data plans.

What Makes a Good Headshot?

Create the perfect headshot and get professional help! Here are tips from experts:

• Think natural – shake out tension. Reflect who you are without appearing stiff.

• Choose clothing carefully. Avoid loud patterns and bright colors. Stick to solid colors that focus on your face and eyes.

• Be prepared – know what shots you want. Also consider how you want to use the shots afterwards.

• Get professional help. Find a talented photographer who understands camera settings and equipment, lighting and composition.

• Look at examples of other photographers’ work. Have an idea of what “good” looks like.

• Address concerns ahead of time. Let photographer know of any physical features, clothing problems at least 24 hours before appointment. This can help reduce anxiety!

Posing and Posture

Finding the right pose for your headshot is more than looking great. Reflect your work and the message you’re trying to show. Before the shot, think about your posture. Is it confident? Friendly? Professional?

Your posture can make or break physical features. For instance, broad shoulders? Stand up straight to show them off. Self-conscious of a feature? Angle slightly.

Make sure to create a natural image but with self-assurance. Get comfortable with yourself and practice in front of the mirror. Try standing tall, leaning forward in a chair, or letting arms hang. And relax between shots!


Lighting is essential for a successful headshot. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. Natural light from the sun can give a natural look but direct sunlight can be too harsh. When shooting outdoors, use diffused light, like open shade or during golden hour.

For indoor headshots, softboxes are ideal, as they provide soft and even lighting. Place the lights at 45 degrees and slightly below your subject’s eyes. Using multiple lights on either side of the subject will add depth.

If you use a flash, diffuse it with an umbrella or softbox. For studio/commercial shoots, add a reflector opposite the main source of light, to bounce light onto darker areas. Experiment until you get the desired effect.


A busy background can take away attention from the subject. Look for an uncluttered backdrop that fits the atmosphere you desire for your portrait.

When taking pictures outside, search for walls, trees, or other textured surfaces that offer visual depth and contrast. Inside, look for plain walls and furniture that suit the atmosphere.

Rustic backdrops may be better for vintage portraits, while industrial objects are best for modern, minimal aesthetics. Choose a background that respects the overall aesthetics of your shot and keeps the emphasis on the person.

Clothing and Accessories

The clothes and accessories you pick can be a hit or miss. Basically, you want your clothes to flatter you, not take away from it. Find items that look good on your body and fit you perfectly. Neutral colors are usually the way to go, since bold colors can draw attention away from your face.

When picking jewelry or other accessories, don’t pick something too eye-catching; the main focus should be on your face, not the outfit. If you’re unsure, don’t add it or bring two or three outfits and accessories and let your photographer help you decide.

Expression and Emotion

The expression for your headshot should tell a story. A smile can show warmth and happiness. But, a determined look can portray strength and ambition. You don’t have to always smile. Choose an emotion that best represents you or your brand. Display subtle facial expressions that tell the story.

Make sure the message is readable when viewing the image at a small size. Exaggerate enough so it doesn’t rely on context. Avoid looks of anger and sadness. Humor or clever angles should be positive. When choosing an emotion, set yourself apart in an interesting way, while preserving trustworthiness and professionalism.

Editing and Retouching

Choose your favorite shot(s). Technology lets you turn a good shot into an amazing one. But, don’t forget to be responsible when retouching. Here are some tips to help you:

-Smooth skin blemishes without making them too glossy.

-Choose a color balance based on the shot background and desired lighting.

-Sharpen facial features for more beauty.

-Make small changes to hair color or shape.

-Reduce noise in background and keep fine details in faces.

-Groom skin with spot removal tools.

-Adjust lightness/darkness of eyes and teeth.

-Adjust highlights and shadows separately.

-Use masks to make changes to eyes/mouth.

-Check image on other devices/screens.

Email or call us today: stlphotographystudio@gmail.com 314-913-5626


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