Make Your Corporate Headshot Work For You
Our resident marketer, Paul, sits down for an interview and answers your questions about how to make the most of your headshot across your website and social media. He talks about how simple things, like smiling and subtle changes in body language that can make a world of difference in your online popularity.
Question: What makes people more drawn toward one headshot over another?
Paul: I think there are a number of reasons that we as business owners fail to understand how and why images of us either win or fail in the race to attract trust and engagement from potential clients and prospects.
I am an absolute believer in the power of open friendly expressions and smiles to create an attraction. Your ideal avatar is a savvy seasoned social media user who is engaging with a hyped up versions of everyone on their best day on Facebook and Linked-in. People shun grumpy, unhappy people on social media and their visual skills are truly honed when it comes to analysing your image and in a split second they are able to render a likeability and trust score based on expressions and visual clues.
Question: As a photographer I hear clients tell me all the time that they dont like their smile. Why do you think this happens?
Paul: Normally there is a trigger that has our sitter feeling this way. It could be a passing comment made by someone in the past relating to our subject that has been taken out of context and made them self concious about smiling.
Or perhaps they feel their teeth may be slightly crooked or discoloured and they hide their real happiness under a closed mouth smile that normally turns to a grimace as they try to control the most natural of display of our attractiveness for others!
Question: How do you get around that in order to create that friendly engaging headshot.
Paul: I think that trust plays a major part in allowing your subject to overcome their discomfort around smiling and showing their inner happiness. Letting them know their final choices will be a mixture of their preferred non smiley images along with more natural smile shots puts them at ease and also letting them know we can correct peoples teeth or uneven smiles if there are in fact cosmetic reasons why the were originally adverse to to smiling.
Question: We hear a lot about body language as a key element in portaits and headshots what's your thoughts?
I think people were made paranoid by a certain gentleman in the 80's and 90's sprouting theories on body laguage that were unsubstantiated and poorly researched. For instance an armfold doesn't infere the person is bossy or stand offish. That in fact is the expression that dictactes the overall message in the use of that pose. With a big warm smile the person is confident and in control. With a neutral or serious expression they may be perceives as dominant or overbearing.
We tend to use little movements, angles and leans to get more engagement with our headshots. Someone for instance leaning into the shot demonstrates they are attentive and engaging and even a tilt of the head to the slightly lower shoulder shows an level of empathy and understanding that the viewer recognises as being a desirable attribute and that in turn creates a relationship on a sublinimal level.
Question: How about personal presentation for a headshot?
I think prior to a headshot session men should have a haircut around a week out from their photoshoot at their regular hairdresser so there are no little surprises. When you go into the studio session take along a good fitting jjacket unless you are after a very laid back non corporate headshot. The jacket without a tie is a much better informal corporate style and looks finished where as a shirt only option can look messy especiall if there are any creases.
For women we can highly recommend the services of a professional makeup artist who understands photographic makeup. A skilled artist is also a great communicator it's all part of their job. They will listen to you and how you see your self and your individual style and create a makeup look the will accentuate your features without looking overdone or at worst not like you. Our inhouse team of makeup artists and hairdressers are "The Powder Room" Who have built an amazing reputation here in Brisbane as the best in the business! Hair is impotant as well, make sure your colour is fresh and a root colour is applied close to your photoshoot if required. We also have the very best hairdressers inhouse if you require hairstyling on the day!
For us girls the choices of what to wear are as boundless as our wardrobes. That's why we suggest garments that suit your personal style. Patterns around the face can draw attention away from your eyes and features. But if it is something you love then by all means wear it, rules were mean't to be broken. Jackets are alway nice to add that corporate edge. Also a beautifully cut dress or shirt and skirt look great! We suggest always bringing more. We have fashionistas on hand to advise on wardrobe choice and we are more than happy to try a few different looks to get it perfect for you!
Question: Lastly Paul I just wanted to ask about how someone can prepare mentally for the session. I know it sounds funny but a lot of people are very uncomfotable having their headshots taken. Any advice?
Paul: My career began in beauty and fashion advertising photography. A lot of the time we dealt with professional models and sometimes they were new talent quite green and lacking confidence. My advice to my clients is the same method models apply when getting comfotable with expressions and perfecting their looks. Stand in front of your bathroom mirror for a few minutes each day prior to your session, think happy thoughts and say the word "yes" You will see that your eyes light up and the expressions come naturally and flow the more you practice. models take it a step futher learning and perfecting angles and poses but that's where we come in as photographers. It's out job to put you at ease and coach you with poses. Then discovering your best angles we move easily through your session and it passes quickly as an ejoyable interlude in you otherwise busy day:)