How a Photographer Captures Headshots

How a Photographer Captures Headshots will greatly effect the outcome. What’s the main reason a business person avoids updating their professional headshot photo? Because they had a bad experience with a photographer in the past. 

I’ve seen this over and over again. While many photographers possess lots of technical expertise, some lack a warm, personable, and patient personality. Putting a nervous client at ease is the key to capturing the perfect professional headshot photo.

After nearly 40 years as a professional photographer, I’ve developed a successful approach to the situation. It can vary a little depending on the person, but here’s my general methodology 

Calming the anxious client

For a photoshoot to be successful, the photographer must exhibit empathy, patience, and confidence. It’s also important he or she provides the client with constant positive reinforcement. All of these things contribute to producing an image that flatters the client.

Before I begin the professional headshot photo session, I begin by analyzing my client’s face and hairstyle. This helps me quickly determine what would work best. I call this my 90% rule because it yields my subject’s best side 90% of the time. Now I know in which direction to turn them – and which side to light them from. 

Step one: Observation

If you’re my client, I will try to get to know you a little by engaging in small talk. At the same time, I’m analyzing your mannerisms and snapping several test photos – which I will display on a large monitor. This will help determine how we proceed. (from there because I now know from seeing the images and chatting with you:)

• Was my facial analysis accurate? 
• Were you smiling as much as you thought you were?  
• Are there any adjustments needed to your wardrobe? 
• Do you like your hair?

Step two: Make small refinements

Now, we’ll move to the next stage of your professional headshot session.  At this time, I will usually suggest slight changes in the position of your headyour posture, and your expression.

All of this is meant to help create a photo that depicts you at your best. I want you to look great as much as you do!

However, if I don’t feel I’ve captured a relaxed and natural expression, I’ll try to lighten things up by getting you to laugh and delivering over-the-top compliments. Putting you at ease is necessary to get the best result. Which brings us to…

Step three: Getting it right

You know the saying, “The third time’s a charm?” I have found it’s usually true when it comes to professional headshot photography.

Both you and I are learning new things after each round of photos. So, we keep going until you and I are satisfiedI won’t rush you. 

Together, we’ll narrow down your choices to a few favorites. 

Step four: Adding final touches to your headshot.

At the end of our professional headshot photo session, after we say our goodbyes, my next step will be to do some light** retouching of your photo.

Did you know not all headshot photographers have mastered the art of retouching? Some rely on AI (artificial intelligence) software to soften and blur imperfections, while others send their images to a vendor for this purpose. 

Here at The Gallery Studios, the photographer who took your business headshot, with whom you have established a rapport and a relationship, does the retouchingIt may seem old-fashioned to some, but in my opinion, this step shouldn’t be left to a computer program or outsourced to a stranger

Believe me, there is a difference. 

Do your homework

In closing, never hire a professional headshot photographer without doing your research. Browse their personal or business website to learn about how they operate, the services they offer, and what they charge for those services.

If you’re ready to schedule your first business photography session or update your existing business headshot (portrait photo), I invite you to review my portfolio and read comments from my clients. Then click on our “Contact Us” button to make an appointment.

I look forward to making your next professional headshot experience one you’ll remember – for the right reasons.

Headshot Photography: View Steve in Action