Actors Headshot_KarenForsythePhotography

Tips for a great headshot, Part 1

Headshots are absolutely NOT just for actors.   Everyone who has ANY  presence on the web, either in a social media site, or on their own website, has got to have a headshot.  It’s your first impression, and even if you aren’t a model, you can make yours a great one.  Here are some tips a great headshot that will get you noticed:The first few tips have to do with clothing.

1.  Bring several items of clothing.  Yes, it’s just a headshot, but there is clothing visible around your head.  If it’s a wrinkly t-shirt (and girls bring wrinkly t-shirts just as often as guys do!), you’ll see it.  And unless you are a drummer in some band, your t-shirt will do nothing for the image.  I always tell people to bring clothing that can be layered, like shirts, sweaters, jackets.  And a variety of them.  Textures really add to the close-up shot, whether the texture is silky, knit, or tweed, and a combination of textures is even better.  Guys should always have a sport coat as an option, and a plain shirt.  Or a leather jacket, maybe.  Girls, have a blouse with a jacket, or sweater that can work together.  Or a soft solid sweater.

If you are a man, and want to wear a tie, bring a few ties along in different colors.  Bring a few shirts in different colors, and bring a sport coat along with your suit jacket.

I can’t tell you how many people come with several t-shirts all in the same color.  Good grief.  Be a little imaginative.  Or at least call ahead and ask some questions of your photographer.

2. Pattern.  No crazy patterns.  They are distracting.  Go for texture instead.

3.  Think of color.  Not too bright, but you don’t need a black jacket.  It might be what you like to wear, but it might not be the most photogenic color for you. What looks good on you? What colors when you wear them do people compliment you on?  What brings out the color in your eyes?  If you’re layering, how do the colors work together?  Avoid bright colors (think even white collars or shirts) that draw attention to themselves and away from you.  Monochromatic looks can be lovely, adding all the texture but not the distraction.  White can be fine, and is a beautiful choice in high-key headshots (white background, bright light).  Talk to your photographer about using a high-key lighting scheme ahead of time, as it requires more set up in advance.

4.  Neckline.  Turtleneck tops aren’t the most flattering for most body types, because it can make your head look like a golf ball on a tee.  That sounds terrible, but it’s true.  Showing some neck and chest (think V-neck) elongates the face, or at least gives the illusion of elongating the face.  Posing will cover a double chin.  Please don’t wear a turtleneck, especially a black one.  Ugh.

There are other necklines that can work well too, such as crew neck sweaters for guys, open shirt collars, etc.  Girls have other options too.  Just show some neck.

5.  Fit.  Wear something that fits you, and that isn’t too loose.  You can tell if a shirt is too loose, or too big around a collar.  Add a tie to a too-tight or too-loose shirt collar and it looks weird and is distracting.

Sometimes I’ll shoot a headshot with a little more body in the photo, and loose clothing doesn’t make anyone look thinner!

More coming up soon.

In the meantime, shoot me a message to talk about your next headshot!

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