A headshot has a very specific job: convey a message about you. What’s the message? You are the only one who can answer that question. Here are a few pre-questions to help you get identify the specific message you want your headshot to convey.
- What will you use the headshot for? Is it for your resume/LinkedIn profile? General use across your social media sites? For an online dating site?
- What do you want the headshot to accomplish? To get you an interview? To get you a date?
- What do you want the person who sees your picture to immediately think or believe about you? That you are competent? That you are a born leader? That you are talented? That you are sexy?
It’s said a picture can convey a thousand words. So what are the words you want your photo to say about you? Think about your goal. If you’re job hunting, are you looking to move up to a more senior position, or will it be a lateral move to more satisfying role at a different company?
If you’re an artist, are you trying to build a business or do you want to accentuate your quirky side? Do you want to convey creativity, talent, or reliability? Each of these is a slightly different message.
If you’ll be using your picture for a dating site, what do you want prospective dates to think about you? Are you just getting back into the dating scene after ending a long relationship? Have you been dating around for a while and are now looking for “the one”? Do you want to appear sexy? Smart? Funny?
A skilled photographer will help you identify the message you want your headshot to convey, and they will help you achieve it through the composition of the photo. But even if they don’t ask the question, you still need to know the answer so you can know how to dress, the expression you want to capture, and the degree of editing you’ll desire after the photo’s been taken.