©Dandy Headshots

Headshot Tips 101 – Taking the Time to do it Right


As with anything, a lot that can go wrong with a headshot session. Many people — consumers and photographers alike — assume a professional headshot is nothing more than just lining someone up against a background, throwing some light on them, and snapping the shutter. Get em’ to smile or something. Yeah, that’ll work.

Not so fast.

One of the biggest complaints I get from people about their previous headshot — the photographer didn’t take any time to get a GREAT heashot. It’s common for corporations to hold events or have photographers come to their location to photograph headshots of their executive team or entire staff. Unreasonable time constraints are sometimes placed on photographers to get the job done, which results in one, two, or three headshots of each person in different poses, then moving to the next.

That’s NOT a headshot. It’s a mugshot, and there’s no effort or pride from the person being photographed or the photographer. While some general photographers will do this, I don’t know of a good headshot photographer that will. I work with big events, but I need at least 5 minutes allotted with everyone and I’ll occasionally go over if we’re not getting there. Sessions in my studio can last much longer, depending on what we’re doing, so 5 minutes isn’t a ton of time. A headshot session is a personal thing, and most people don’t at all know what to do in front of a camera. There can be bad habits (facial expressions, poses, posture, etc) we need to help a person with, and it’s incredibly important to make a person comfortable and natural, not RUSHED. There’s also the subtleties of lighting each face slightly different from the next, bringing out everyone’s best. Because I’ve specialized in headshots for so long, I can usually get a great result in as little as 5 minutes, but I’ll decline a job if someone insists on popping out 3 shots in a couple of minutes or less with each person. It’s not how I get my results, and I don’t want my client to waste their money on a bad or mediocre product.

To summarize: Before staging the timeline on your company’s headshot session, always consult with a few great headshot photographers to learn how they work and WHY we all need to put some effort into the product. Your employees will love you for it, they’ll look GREAT for their prospects and clients, and it’ll save them from having to get their headshot redone.

If you’re in Indianapolis and need a headshot, let me know!

Headshot & architectural / interior photographer, street & landscape photography, too.