A high-quality professional headshot can make or break your chances when it comes to making a good impression in the corporate world. With today’s emphasis on digital connections, your corporate headshot is often the first thing people notice when they view your portfolio website, resume, or LinkedIn profile.
With countless people striving for employers’ attention online, you’ll have to present yourself as nicely as possible in order to stand out and achieve success. This means nailing the perfect corporate headshot!
To help you, here are 15 tips on how you can be fully prepared for your corporate photo shoot.
Tip #1: Know Your Audience
Before setting up any plans for your corporate photo shoot, build yourself a mental foundation for who you’ll be presenting your photos to. Knowing your viewers will help you determine the way you want them to perceive you. Look at other online profiles and websites aimed towards your target audience to gauge what is most appropriate and desirable. Then, base most of the following details on how you want this group to see you.
Knowing your audience and streamlining your brand will also help you determine what type of photos to get. Your photographer will need to know whether you want full-body portraits or cropped headshots, along with how bright you want your background to be. Your photo should mirror the atmosphere of other corporate portraits from companies you hope to work for.
Tip #2: Consult Your Photographer
Now that you’ve identified your target audience, you should discuss this with your photographer so that they can plan for a corporate photo shoot that will meet your needs as closely as possible and help you achieve your goals. Talk to your professional photographer and ask for any tips they have before you get started. Ask them for advice not only on your look and presentation; but for preparations on the day of the photo shoot as well.
Pay special attention to tips based on lighting, angles, and clothing colors, since these are usually areas of expertise where photographers have special insight—you might think that a certain blouse looks perfect, but it could cause some post-production issues that you wouldn’t anticipate. It’s also wise to discuss turnaround time for photos if you have deadlines to meet.
Tip #3: Pick Your Outfit
If you don’t have a professional outfit ready yet, it’s time to go shopping. Remember: A good corporate headshot is worth investing in! And again, consider your target audience while you look for the ideal clothing. If you’re looking to work in a more traditional environment, opt for neutral and understated tones. If you’re applying to work in design or other artistic fields, then more expressive colors may work well as long as you remain professional in your choices.
Researching which colors or prints flatter your skin tone and body shape the most will also pay off. A great color may not look so good if it’s laid out in a pattern that’s too large or small to bring out the best in your features. It’s also crucial to factor in whether you’re going for full-body or headshots when picking your outfit.
Tip #4: Take Care of Your Hair
Get a professional haircut done a few days before your corporate photo shoot and make sure that your hair color is appealing for your target audience. Even if you love bright, unnatural colors or alternative haircuts, then now is the time to compromise. Talk to your photographer and your hairstylist about how to transform into the most professional-looking version of yourself. Remember: You never get a second chance at first impressions, but you can always experiment with your look later!
It’s also smart to practice how to style your hair for corporate photos. If possible, you might want to have your hairstyle done professionally by a stylist right before your photo shoot.
Tip #5: Learn How to Smile
Your smile is a huge factor in how people view you! Take pictures of yourself with different smiles in different lighting to see which smile suits you best. You’ll quickly see when you look confident, nervous, happy, uncomfortable, and so on. Once you find your ideal smile, practice it until you can do it automatically.
Smiling is the perfect opportunity to show that you’re sure of yourself and confident in what you offer. And while many photographers brighten up the teeth in post-production, you may want to get a whitening treatment for good measure. Just make sure you get it a few days in advance so that you’re used to it when it’s time to smile!
Tip #6: Practice Your Makeup
Ensure that your makeup look matches your target audience’s preferences, and then practice makeup application ahead of time. You don’t want to walk into the studio with hot pink eyeshadow or mismatched foundation—it’s important for your makeup to enhance your most appealing features while still looking natural.
Alternatively, you can get your makeup done professionally before the corporate photo shoot. Just make sure you clearly communicate that you’re getting it done for a corporate portrait, so you want something understated and classy.
Tip #7: Accessorize with Elegance
Accessories can brighten up your look and keep your outfit from looking too bland, but be careful not to overdo it. Understated accessories are better for a professional setting. Large hoop earrings and necklaces, flashy rings, or oversized and gaudy watches can cause people to take you less seriously.
Make sure that your accessories match each other, your clothing, and your features. Silver, gold, and rose gold all look best on different people, so it’s worthwhile to try things on and take some personal photos ahead of time to see what looks best.
It’s also important to think about any alternative piercings you might have. If you have facial piercings, you’ll ideally remove them and cover those spots with makeup to the best of your ability for photo day. Consult your photographer on how best to handle this.
Additionally: While glasses are still professional, ask your photographer about glare and consider contacts for a cleaner shot.
Tip #8: Get Comfortable Posing
Your “power poses” should feel practiced and natural—you don’t want to look stiff, nervous, or out of place in your photos. Stand in front of a mirror and try out some different poses, taking into consideration whether your photos will be full-body or headshots. Consider the angle of your face, your posture, the tilt of your shoulders, and how you position your hands.
Ideally, your back should be straight but not rigid, your shoulders should drop slightly back for a confident look, and your head should be held high. No matter what pose suits you best, it should look like you sit or stand that way every single day!
Tip #9: Prepare the Day Before
Preparation for the ideal corporate photo shoot begins a day or two in advance. A poor diet or a deficiency in water or sleep can make you look worse for wear—no matter how on-point your outfit, accessories, or makeup might be. So make sure you eat well and drink plenty of water during the days leading up to your photo shoot—and get at least eight hours of sleep the night or two before.
It’s also advised to shave the night before, whether it’s your face or your legs. Doing so will provide the chance for any accidental razor burn to fade away, leaving you looking your best the next morning. As you look yourself over for any necessary touch-ups, be mindful of how you’re feeling and remember that you’re here to show the world your best self!
Tip #10: Practice Finding a Confident Headspace
Speaking of mindfulness: Talk yourself up as you prepare for the photo shoot ahead of time. For many people, confidence requires practice no matter how skilled they are. So take as much time as you can leading up to your photo shoot to practice slipping into a state of mind where you feel peaceful, powerful, and confident in your abilities.
If you can transition to a genuine feeling of confidence when it’s time to get your picture taken, you’ll be ahead of the game. No matter what you wear on the surface, true confidence will shine through from inside!
Tip #11: Have A Backup Date
Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan, so try to remain flexible. Always plan to have professional photos taken indoors, so that weather isn’t an issue.
It’s also wise to discuss cancellation notice and refund policies with any professional stylists you’re thinking of booking with. You don’t want to have to pay a big fee for nothing as a result of factors that are outside your control.
You should be prepared to reschedule if you feel sickly or if your life circumstances change, as well. Health and family come first: If you don’t feel your best, you won’t look your best.
Tip #12: Plan Around Your Team
If you’re attending a corporate photo shoot with your work team, try to match the overall energy level in the room. Be confident and poised, but make sure you don’t look like you’re trying to upstage anyone.
If you’re in charge of planning the group photo shoot with your photographer, be sure to schedule enough time for everyone to get the opportunity to display their best selves in front of the camera. Check with the photographer to see how much time they recommend for a team of your size.
Make sure no one feels rushed or stressed. Using a service like Nimbus can bring the photographers to you, streamlining the process and putting less strain on your work team so that everyone can focus on looking their best.
Tip #13: Prepare an Emergency Kit
Before the big day arrives, make sure you have a kit of backup supplies put together. This kit can include everything from makeup and a more comfortable pair of shoes to backup contacts and a full change of clothes in case of spills or mishaps. You may even want to include a compact sewing kit or some safety pins just in case the worst happens to your favorite outfit right when it matters the most.
It’s smart to bring some light snacks and bottled water, too, in case things take longer than anticipated. You want to stay looking your finest and make every minute in the photo studio worth it!
Tip #14: Practice with Friends or Family
If you’re especially nervous, try some practice runs with a close friend or family member so that you’ll feel more comfortable once you reach the photo studio. Practice putting it all together: Your clothing and accessories, makeup, hairstyle, poses, and smile. Nothing should feel new to you when you arrive for the photo shoot!
Depending on how quickly you become confident and comfortable in your corporate persona, you may want to do one practice run—or several. No matter how many tries it takes, it’s worth it to feel your best.
Tip #15: Always Check Last-Minute
Have a checklist ready ahead of time for easily-missed details that could throw off your photo shoot in the heat of the moment, and go over it before the photographer starts snapping. To be extra safe, show the list to your photographer as well so that you’re doubly sure that everything’s in order.
Common things to check for include flyaway strands of hair, lipstick marks on your teeth, crooked or wrinkled clothing, smudged glasses, and shirt hems that haven’t been tucked in. (Consider anything that might go wrong when you put your emergency kit together! Include items like hair gel and makeup remover.)
When you’re putting together all the elements for the perfect professional portrait, small details make all the difference. Your first impression is crucial, so learn to display your best self.
Always keep your target audience at the forefront of your mind while you assemble your most flattering outfit, accessories, and hairstyle. Don’t be afraid to try out different poses and smiles for your friends and family, and take some informal photos in advance to find your best look before you hit the photo studio. This is your opportunity to shine!