6 Biggest Mistakes in Headshots and How to Avoid Them

Do you enter any important meeting without making sure you have all necessary information with you? Do you submit reports without double checking the facts? You know there will be repercussions if you’re not thorough with work projects.

Now here’s the work tip no one ever tells you: It shouldn’t be any different when you have a photoshoot coming up.

An image is part of your branding, can make people trust or reject you and it can be the center of your marketing campaign. Sound important now?

So here’s what you need to avoid when you start preparing for your next one.

1. Wrong Colors

You want people to remember your face, not really what you’re wearing. A neon shirt or one with too many colors mixed together will grab attention and no one will look at your facial features.

Tip: Use these handy guidelines if you’re unsure what to wear:

  • Pick colors that complement your skin tone
  • If it matches your company colors your images will blend in well with marketing material
  • Blues and greens match most people’s coloring
  • Flesh tones can make your face blend with your clothing which you don’t want; You want some definition.

2. Too Much Jewelry

You want to show people you’re professional but that doesn’t mean flashy.

Your attire must highlight your face and excessive jewelry will only detract attention. The shiny metals or jewels will glisten and that can make someone forget to look at your face.

Tip: Women should wear simple stud earrings rather than hanging ones. Necklaces should preferably not hang over your neckline. Remember the image may be cropped and if a viewer can’t see the bottom of the necklace they’ll spend more time wondering what it looked like than memorizing your face.

3. The Wrong Hair

When do you have your hair appointment booked?

There’s nothing wrong with getting your hair done for a headshot because it’s important you look well groomed. But avoid these costly mistakes:

  • Don’t try a new haircut shortly before the headshot. It may look ridiculous and you can’t edit that out.
  • Women who dye their hair should use the coloring they’re used to because you have no guarantee that a new hue will suit you.
  • Don’t do the haircut right before the shoot because it may look unnatural and strange while you’re trying to look normal.

4. You Look Uncomfortable

Here’s something you and the photographer will need to work on: Making you feel at home in front of the camera. Because most of us don’t like smiling for photos you’ll have to conquer this fear.

Tip: Build rapport with the photographer to counter the awkwardness.

5. You Look Like a Robot

Can you smile on cue? Not many people can flash a relaxed, genuine smile unless they just heard a joke. This leads to many headshots showing fake, mechanical smiles. Your mouth may respond but your eyes still look tense.

Tip: I’ve found that thinking of something that makes you happy or that latest joke you heard actually leads to a genuine smile.

6. You Don’t Update Your Pictures

When did you last go through this process? If your profile photo is more than two years old it shows an outdated hairstyle and old fashioned clothing. This could lead to people thinking you’re outdated yourself. If you’re a dancer or actor it may not show how great you’re looking these days. Can you afford someone judging you based on old images?

Tip: Schedule a session every two years so no one can ever say you’re losing touch with modern developments.


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