How professional headshots have transformed

For decades, professional headshots were largely reserved for aspiring actors, professional athletes and image-conscious business people. 🎬  Now, you’re not quite a contemporary citizen without at least one headshot, as the various uses for headshots are increasing — and increasingly required — in places well beyond LinkedIn. For example, many hiring companies request a business headshot or will check out your social media profile to see how you present yourself. So if you’re transitioning into a new career, turning the page on a new chapter, or are looking for new ways to tell your story – it’s headshot time. 

The main takeaways: How you present yourself online is everything at the moment. Personalized, thumb-stopping photos are a compelling way to tell your story. Ana a headshot is your first impression in telling that story! In other words, everyone needs a headshot and deserves one that communicates personality and brings out who you are. 🤩 

Here at Flytographer, we easily connect people with trusted photographers for fun photo shoots and have captured over three million memories worldwide. Today, we asked our professional photographers around the world to tell us all of their insider headshot tips.

We want to answer the questions we hear people asking about how to get a modern headshot, namely:

  1. What makes a good professional headshot?
  2. How can I pose naturally and look my best?
  3. How does the type of industry I work in affect my headshot?
  4. What’s the best online dating profile pic that stands out? 
  5. What are some graduation photo ideas?

There’s a lot to get into…so let’s dive into it!

Photo: Natalia in Barcelona for Flytographer. Kathleen poses by sitting on a bench for her Modern Headshot photo shoot in Barcelona.

What makes a good professional headshot? 

A good — no, great — professional headshot communicates your authentic personality while sowing seeds of trust with future clients, employers, colleagues, partners and/or customers. It inspires confidence and curiosity. It helps you stand out from the first impression.

It might show you in your work context. It might reveal something about your lifestyle. It might even take a classic corporate look, but in a fresh and current way, with a meaningful and dynamic backdrop. It should never be boring pantsuits and gray school picture backgrounds.

Remember, whether we like it or not, these days your customers and collaborators often look at your profile photo on your email or Slack channel more than in real life. So the stakes are high. Professional photographers can help a lot. 😇

Photo: Fernanda in Cabo San Lucas for Flytographer. Kritika captures memories in Cabo San Lucas with a modern headshot photoshoot.

How to pose naturally and look my best

The Modern Headshot is about YOU — your brand, your personality, your style. It’s about showing the world who you are. Gone are the days of cheesy or stiff portraits that say nothing about the person in the photo. The tried-and-true tenet of people doing business with those they like and trust starts with your personal brand identity, whether you are a professional, a student, an entrepreneur or a creative.

Part of what makes a pro photographer so helpful is that she or he can help put you at ease and find a natural and appealing way to position your body, head and hands. They’ll also help navigate the fickle — and fundamental — element that is lighting. (Avoiding direct sunlight is just the beginning!) A high-quality professional headshot doesn’t happen without it, whether that is accomplished using timing and natural light or professional lighting devices. 

Here are some of our favourite posing ideas from our community:

Tuck hands in pockets

This helps mellow many people out and conquer the “I don’t know what to do with my hands in photos!” dilemma. Success with this pose may include adding a little swaying movement, pretending the camera isn’t there and avoiding direct looks at the lens. 

Photo: Claudia in Lisbon for Flytographer. Meg captures memories in Lisbon with a modern headshot photoshoot.

Lean on a wall

A little support goes a long way in making a shot look and feel more genuinely comfortable.

Photo: Izumi in Manchester for Flytographer. Aditi poses by leaning on a wall for her Modern Headshot photo shoot in Manchester.

Sit down

Who knew? It really does work! A staircase or ledge may do the trick. If the shoot is indoors, a unique chair is a great way to go. Having one knee higher than the other and resting a hand on a knee also helps.

Photo: Luis in Cabo San Lucas for Flytographer. Marcus poses for his Modern Headshot photo shoot in Cabo San Lucas.

Take a walk

There’s a reason it works in movies. (Cue the slow-mo!) The movement automatically humanizes its subject because the mind can focus on a super common activity rather than the uncommon occurrence of shooting professional photos with a portrait photographer.

Photo: Natalie in Honolulu (photo taken in Prague). Carol captures memories in Prague with a modern headshot photoshoot.

Bring a prop

Something meaningful and relevant — a camera, a professional tool, a laptop, a notebook or some piece of professional or sporting equipment — helps the person relax as they turn their attention on the object while simultaneously relaying something to tell the story of what you do.

Photo: Elisenda in Washington for Flytographer. Keisha poses with a prop for her Modern Headshot photo shoot in Washington DC.

Look amazing in photos

Get 50+ insider tips on how to prepare, what to wear, and easy posing ideas for your next photo shoot!

Why a great online dating app profile picture is important

Not all headshots are strictly business. But the same goal of evoking authentic personality remains for profile photos on dating apps, whether they’re selfies, a new headshot, a special facial expression. Standing out is everything — while staying true to who you are. You want to set your photo apart, especially from the played-out bathroom reflection or the back-to-the-camera look into the distance. This isn’t event photography, but photography that makes viewing your photo an event, every time it’s seen.

If you are among the many who can’t stand getting your photo taken but know a beautiful headshot makes your dating app and social media sing to its audience, hiring our professional photographers who are pros at making you look amazing is the perfect avenue. A magnetic profile pic introduces you in a way that makes it light years easier to cultivate connections and attract the people you’re looking for! 🧲 

Photo: Amelia in Buenos Aires for Flytographer. Carina poses for her Modern Headshot photo shoot in Buenos Aires.

Professional headshots according to industry

Professional photos, corporate headshots, social media profile pics and LinkedIn images have far more range and versatility than many even think to explore. To keep her shoots fresh, Flytographer Elisenda in Washington DC keeps her clients in motion. “A good rule of thumb for being in front of the camera is to move to the beat of the shutter,” she says. “You can switch hand position, look the other way, and keep moving!”

There are other strategies for compelling business portraits. Before shooting, Elisenda will also ask customers about their shoot goals. For instance, where are they going to use these photos and what are their must-have shots? Then, before the day of the shoot, she will create a map and plan beforehand to execute the client’s vision. Recently she photographed a group of lawyers at the Supreme Court. 📸

Personal branding is more important than ever, and we think it’s time to liberate your outdated headshot to show the world who you are. Headshots should not be overlooked as a prime opportunity to showcase your bright, unique and authentic personality while building trust with your future clients, employers, partners and more.

Photo: Gihad in Cairo for Flytographer. Danielle celebrates her birthday in Cairo with a modern headshot photoshoot.

Photoshoot ideas for grad pictures

A milestone moment calls for a professional portrait, and there are a million directions to take it. Some handy things to consider when organizing a graduation photoshoot that honours — and/or happens on — the big day:

  • Go with the joy. Don’t be afraid to involve action that epitomizes the excitement of accomplishment. Throw that mortarboard. Leap off the group. Hug your family. Dance with your friends.
  • Consider setting. Seek out the library for fun composition with polished wood and vintage books. Find a significant building and take some photos in front. Head for your favourite campus statue. Pair your graduate with friends as they talk, high five, or throw confetti.
  • Cultivate candid. Whether truly candid or *new word alert* “plandid,” encouraging your subject to look away from the camera — whether that’s at a graduating cohort, up at the building where they took the most classes, or at a future so bright you have to wear shades.
  • Include classics. Old-school works, and really works best when given a contemporary tweak. For example, go for a time-honoured straight-on portrait of the graduate, but have it with the campus in the background rather than a washed-out backdrop. 🎓

Learn 6 more tips for your grad photoshoot and be well on your way to capturing this defining moment in your life!

Photo: Kari in New York City for Flytographer. Jennifer and her daughter capture senior photos while they are travelling to NYC as a family.

Show the world who you are

The right professional headshot bursts with energy, positivity and personal branding. It also brings a lot of pressure to get a headshot session right. A surefire way to capture a high-quality, low-stress portrait, with the best photo editing to further perfect the frame: 

Collaborate with one of our hundreds of Flytographers — each of them master headshot photographers and experts at turning worldly settings into your personal photography studio — in 500 locations around the planet. 

So show the world who you are (and look amazing!) with a fun, headshot photoshoot. 🥳