Headshot Tips – How to Get Engaging Results

Headshots Are Not Created Equal.

In a digital world, where your online profile image may be the first interaction your potential client has with you, it is crucial to make a good first impression. Let’s face it, people are visual and make quick judgements on visual impressions. Your headshot – good or bad – speaks of your credibility as a professional. What’s more, people are known to  make judgements as to whether or not you look like a person they want to do business with, based on the image you display.

What Makes A Good Headshot?

There are so many aspects that go into making a good headshot. One major aspect I see majorly lacking from the majority of headshots is ENGAGEMENT.

How many times have you seen headshots with lifeless eyes and a stale smile? It looks like the subject is staring blankly at a board. The image may look professional and have good lighting and every hair in place, but honestly… does any of that matter if the image lacks engagement?

Boring Vs. Engaging

Take a look at the next headshot you see. Does it make you look at that person and feel like you know a little something about them? Are they sending you a message through their expression? Does it make you want to know them? Most realtor headshots are a good example. It’s so unfortunate. I look at those images and think… that person must be super boring!

It is absolutely crucial to me to pull out some essence of the person I am photographing. I never ever tell my clients to look at my camera and smile. I don’t want to just take a picture of them… I want to say something about them. I want their image… the one chance they have to represent themselves to potential clients… to ENGAGE their viewer.

People have praised me as a photographer, for capturing the essence of the person I’m photographing.

 The images (by Sash Photography) are revealing and genuine yet still very professional. Nothing like the headshots you always see, with the same blank stare and the same fake smile.  When I looked at them for the first time, I felt like people would really be able to see me in the photo, and learn a little about my nature. – Jamie Noteboom, Thyia Tree Massage

professional headshot photographers portland, Lake Oswego, Oregon City and Vancouver

Here Are A Few Tips On How I Create Captivating, Engaging Headshots… And What You Can Do To Improve The Engagement Of Your Headshot.

1. Think of two words – I ask my clients to think of two words that embody the message they want to relay to potential clients. My suggestions are: Confident + Approachable. Focusing on these two words does wonders to creating an expression in your headshots, rather than that blank look that’s so common. When I ask my clients to focus on these words, I see their faces completely morph… their eyes spark and their entire body becomes more confident.

2. Look through the lens – I tell my clients to look through my lens like they can see my eye. The improvement in eye engagement is astounding. Try it. You can tell if a person is just looking at the camera and when they are looking through the lens. The resulting image goes beyond the blank stare at a board effect… suddenly the person is looking directly at you as the viewer.

3. Smile through your eyes – A genuine smile engages your entire face. It’s not simply an act of moving your mouth muscles… the result you generally get when you ask a nervous headshot client to smile at the camera. I ask my clients to think of someone they love… to think of all the love they have for that person… and to show me that love through their eyes. I never want my clients to simply smile at my camera. I want them to reveal all the love they have through one single expression.

 ‘Briena has an uncanny ability to capture an essence beyond words. She is a catalyst for that authentic something which emerges within the subject;  beyond what is simply before the camera.’ – Carolyn Holman, Girlband Fashion Headware