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How to Make Sure Your Business Headshot is Both Professional and Friendly

by: Allison Sanka on

Getting photos taken for your new planned giving website? Today we have a guest post from Michael Schacht, a professional portrait and headshot photographer based in Chicago. He offers tips and practical advice on making sure your headshot photos are ones you love, and that show you at your best.

Your boss announced that you'd be needing a business headshot by next week. This picture will be posted on your company’s website and in your office’s organizational structure display. You feel both excited and worried. Since this picture will be published on so many platforms, you want to look professional but friendly at the same time. You want the people to feel that regardless of your position in top management, you’re still an approachable person. You know what you want with your business headshot, but you don’t know how to achieve it. And it’s happening next week, so you don’t want to be too lax about this.

Well, you don’t have to worry because this article will help you achieve that goal of yours. No matter if this is your first or tenth time for a business headshot, these tips will help you look professional and friendly (because yes, that’s possible):Smile: First impressions do last and since you only have a business headshot to make that impression, make the most of it. You’ll typically see business headshots of people looking serious or fierce, but you don’t have to be one of them. Make a difference by putting that best smile in your business headshot. No, your wacky face isn’t appropriate here, letting people see your pearly whites is enough. 

  • Take time to feel good: You can’t smile when you don’t feel good about yourself. You tend to be too conscious that it creates that awkward facial expressions. Take your time to feel good about yourself. If you’re a lady, visit your nearest salon to get your nails and hair done. You can even hire a professional stylist for the picture! If you’re a man, be sure that your hair is neat and try to look clean. Take a good rest a day before the photo shoot. Do whatever makes you feel good and go all out. 
  • Learn to relax: It can be very overwhelming when there are too many lights or people in your photo shoot. You may end up being too careful with your actions because you’re scared that these people will say something about you. You might not control their reactions but obviously, you can control yours. If you’re faced with this type of situation, learn to relax and breathe in before posing in front of the camera. Always remember your goal in your business headshot and focus on that one, rather than the other elements in the room. 
  • Choose the best pose: You have a goal for your business headshot and how you pose will help you acquire that. Days before the shoot, practice how you would pose. You can do this in front of your mirror at home and you can also ask your family which suits you best. The internet is also a gold mine for pose ideas so go ahead and make use of that resource. You’ll have greater chances of achieving that professional and friendly business photo once there’s a lot of pose options to choose from.
  • Know the photographer: Your nerves might be getting you every time you’re dealing with someone new and this includes the photographer. Given that you don’t know who’s behind the camera, you become too tense and you know how this affects your photos. This is why it’s always a good idea to know the photographer. For one, you can communicate what you want in your photos and the photographer can help you get there. You can also tell them your best and worse angles so they’ll know how to work with your poses. This will create an environment for communication for the both of you. And once the photographer becomes your friend, it will be easier to work with them and pose in front of the camera. You’ll be at ease in what you’re doing. 
  • Choose the appropriate attire: No one would believe that you’re a professional when you’re dressed in your tank top, shorts and slippers - you’re not posing for a summer themed magazine. For you to look professional and friendly, dress appropriately. You can go for the typical business or casual attire, depending on your company’s culture, or go for a more casual look. You can also use jewelry but keep it basic and simple. You don’t want it to be stealing the spotlight from you!
  • Look in the mirror before the shoot: There are instances when you look good personally, but your photos tell otherwise. You feel good about yourself, but your photo is nowhere that direction. For you to avoid getting into situations like these, look in the mirror before the shoot. Make sure that your hair is in place, your makeup is set, and your teeth are clean. You can even bring a compact mirror to the shoot so you can look at it at the last minute before the shoot starts. 

The professionals taking the best headshots in Chicago know that having that perfect business headshot is vital in any business industry. It’s basically what people use to determine what your personality is and it gives them an idea of how to mingle with you. Your company might be shooting in different locations and backgrounds, but you should always make one thing certain – that your business headshot will reflect who you are. 

Michael Schacht is a portrait photographer and photography educator based in Chicago, Illinois. As owner/operator of 312 Elements Headshot Photography located in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, Michael oversees the day-to-day operations, and has had the opportunity to photograph thousands of corporate professionals over the last decade. Through his direction, attention to detail, and people skills, he's helped these clients to craft a narrative around their personal brand. It's his belief that the headshot is the modern day business card, and that a better headshot is essential for a better career. Michael, his wife Meghan, and his two daughters reside in Tinley Park, Illinois, where he is a community leader and active participant in the local business sector. Michael studied business at Ball State University, and photography with world renown headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. It was Hurley that trained Michael in the art of human expression. Michael is now a Headshot Crew certified Mentor, and active member of the Headshot Crew community where he was named one of the top 20 headshot photographers in the world.

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