There are two things which photographers should focus on when taking a great business headshot.
One is getting a pleasing, flattering facial expression on your subject. Personally I always start by going for a natural, open smile. It helps to strike up an engaging rapport with your subject as soon as they come into the room, to put them at ease and, amongst other things, convey to them that they are in safe, capable hands. There is no getting away from the fact that the best people photographers have the best people skills. It’s also important to know your camera and your lights inside out, so you’re never fumbling, bumbling and mumbling (a real chemistry killer)! Once the conversation is flowing, keep it bright and positive, and the smiles will happen naturally.
The second thing photographers should get spot on is lighting. And with lighting, there’s no substitute for experience. Learn lighting! Experiment on your days off. So before your subject arrives, decide on your main light – think about the size of the source and it’s placement. Assess the quality of light that’ll be falling on your subjects face. Are you going to use natural daylight or artificial? Think about the need to modify your main light (it might a gel or a softbox or just be a simple sheet of muslin, ). Think about the need for a kicker light to separate your subject from your background. Ultimately the goal is to achieve soft, directional lighting that results in a nice catchlight in the eyes. Throw all those things together and you’re basically home and dry with a great looking business headshot for your client.
Well, there are other considerations like focal length choice and posing your subject. And creating variety from a limited location. And background selection. And balancing ambient lighting with flashlight. And maintaining the energy of the shoot at a high level. And juggling ALL of these things to convey the desired brand message for your client. But that’s another post entirely 🙂
A big thank you to David Gray (pictured above) for asking us to photograph his new business headshot to reflect his next career move. David joins the fantastic team AM Bid Services a business that aims to assist local, regional and national organisations with delivering business growth by creating winning bids and proposals. If you need help with bid writing/management, tender management or funding applications, they are the people to call.