What is a headshot?

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s an old saying that holds some truth, especially now in the digital age. Nowadays, your profile images speak on your behalf, from your social media and LinkedIn profile to your personal life. In such times, we all need a little personal branding. So why not invest in a session with a professional headshot photographer? 📸

Typically, a headshot is a high-quality close-up focusing on your head and face. The industry standard for business portraits is a studio photograph with a plain backdrop, always aiming for that executive feel. 👩‍💼👨‍💼

It sounds a bit old-fashioned, right?

Luckily, at Flytographer, we’re not about being standard in any way, shape, or form. So, forget all stiff and boring rules about headshot photography and be ready to welcome your creativity with a modern headshot session. 

They say it’s the first impression that lasts. Still, it’s not all about the way you look. You also have a backstory, a personality, and an attitude that shapes you. So here are some headshot tips for you to make use of all your traits and tell the world who you are and what you’re about! 🎉

Photo: Macy in Austin for Flytographer. Jessica captures memories in her hometown with a Modern Headshot in Austin.

1. Photo for your professional life

Did you know that it takes a fraction of a second for people to decide if they trust you or not? If you’re starting your career or venturing with new opportunities, use this split-second assessment to your benefit and make the best impression possible. A good headshot is like your business card and of utmost importance for your career.

In business, as in life, if someone is interested in working with you, they’ll most likely look you up online. That means that your headshot is their impression of you. Hence, it’s your first chance to build trust and relationships. A good picture should depict who you are and give your audience a good grasp of what you can bring to them professionally. 

By the looks of it, remote work is here to stay. More and more professionals will either work from home or take a hybrid approach from now on. That means that online tools such as Zoom and Microsoft teams will continue to be part of our work routines. 

But remember, no one likes to chat with a blank avatar. It feels like talking to a ghost! 👻  If there’s space for a profile picture there, why not add one? It only takes a few seconds, and it’s yet another chance for you to stand out from your peers or competition. 

And … it’s not all digital, folks! A clear headshot helps potential clients to recognize you in the real world when you come across each other in networking events or conferences. 🤝

Here are some examples of headshots from ten female founders who are all-inspiring.

Photo: Amelia in Buenos Aires for Flytographer. Paul celebrates a trip to Buenos Aires with a Modern Headshot photoshoot.

2. Photos for your (online dating) profile picture

Many of our personal relationships are also born online. The message behind your pictures really matters. However, a traditional headshot is probably not what you are looking for here. A modern headshot infused with personality and attitude can really spruce up your Instagram and Tinder profiles.

Often, people make the mistake of coming across as intimidating or of overselling themselves. Don’t fall for it. You’re much better off looking inviting, friendly, and betting on the power of your smile. What you attract reflects what’s inside, so the key is really to be yourself. 

Photo: Hayley in Vancouver for Flytographer. Kitty captures memories in Vancouver with a Modern Headshot photoshoot.

3. Making it personal

When it comes to new headshots, the X factor is your personality! Think about it, what better ways to stand out in the crowd than highlighting whatever makes you unique?

It helps to think of it from an outsider’s perspective. What do your best friends say about you? Are you more of a romantic type or an adventurer? What about your coworkers? Would they define you as an avid risk-taker or more of a creative soul? 

Take all this into consideration when brainstorming ideas for your headshot session. Stick to one or two traits, and you’re good to go.

Photo: Flytographer in New York City. Yuri captures memories in New York City with a Modern Headshot photoshoot.

4. Your style matters

We’ve all heard things like “dress to impress” or “dress like a boss.” That just doesn’t sound right, does it? 

Before everything, we think that what you wear should introduce yourself, not anyone else. Your headshot session is an excellent opportunity for you to make an honest statement through your own personal style

You can select pieces and accessories to highlight exciting aspects of your personality. For instance, why not show your creative side with an artsy style or a vintage touch? Or perhaps you want people to know how updated you are by wearing the latest trend and express your sophistication and appreciation for beautiful things.

If this is a corporate headshot, a polished and classic look works well for most industries. It’s a style that fits both work and social life perfectly.

It’s also a good idea to pick more than one look. This gives you a wider variety of photos for your social media channels and more options when selecting that one professional headshot to boost your career.

But remember: what you wear also influences how you feel. Make sure to choose something you feel confident in, and that brings out your best natural self.

Photo: Bayu in Bali for Flytographer. Elena captures memories in Bali with a Modern Headshot photoshoot.

5. Use props to tell your story

Have you ever thought of using props? In a modern headshot session, they can build the mise-en-scène, tell a story about you or send a particular message to your audience.

 For instance, an open laptop can show you’re flexible to move around, the classic coffee mug implies that you’re available for friendly conversations, and the right pair of glasses can undoubtedly make you look more trustworthy. 

But be careful: some props can send wrong messages. You should be aware of that, especially if it’s a professional photo shoot. A glass of wine, for instance, shows sophistication on social media. But it isn’t ideal for a professional portrait unless you are in the wine business. Sunglasses are fine for a mysterious look on your Instagram feed. 🕶  But they’re a no-go for professional photographs and dating app profile photos alike. For those, it’s all about that eye contact. 👁

Photo: Marta in Venice for Flytographer. Sophia captures memories in Venice with a Modern Headshot photoshoot.

6. Picking the background for your headshot

Modern headshots are usually taken outside or in a location that relates to your personality or business. They tend to have wider angles, revealing a lot of the context in the background. Whether you’re in a quiet interior or in the middle of a bustling city, the environment you choose for your headshot photo is most definitely meaningful.

If you’re the outdoorsy type, you may want to take your headshot in a park, or somewhere you can also feature nature and greenery in the shoot.  This works well for professionals dealing with nature, such as botanists, landscape architects, or organic farmers. 🌿

As an established executive, you may opt to shoot your professional headshot in a sleek-looking office or overlooking a stunning city view. This helps you to convey a sensation of transparency and achievement.

Or perhaps you’re more of a bohemian, artsy type. So you can choose a cozy interior from a café or lounge. If you’re into the performing arts, a theatre stage can also be an idea. Or why not simply stand by your favourite artwork?

A few adventurous ones do their remote work from across the globe, typing on their laptops from beautiful and oftentimes exotic sceneries. 🏝  If you’re a digital nomad, why not use the inspiring locations you visit as backgrounds for your modern headshot? 

There are many inspiring sites in urban centres like San Francisco, off-the-beaten-path spots such as Jackson Hole, and bucket-list vacation locations like Cabo San Lucas.

There’s no rule of thumb, people! As long as the place inspires you or reflects your biz, it’s perfectly suitable.

Photo: Siza in Venice for Flytographer. Tianna captures memories in Venice with Modern Headshot photoshoot.

7. How should you pose for your headshot?

No one’s better than a headshot photographer to guide you on the practicalities of where to look, what to do with your hands, and, quite literally, how to put your best foot forward during your headshot session. But you can brainstorm ahead. Your headshot is a powerful non-verbal form of communication, which means that you’ll talk through your facial expressions, eye contact, and body language. 

The magic of a modern headshot is that you can loosen up and try different things. It’s often more like a portrait, and it can even be from your waist up or full-body. You don’t have to stand up straight or sit on a chair, although you can. Here’s an idea: why not make it more dynamic and walk towards the camera confidently? You can also gaze at the camera over your shoulder as you walk past it. All-time classics also work, like sitting on the steps looking fabulous or leaning against a parapet.

If you have the freedom, you can be silly and do something unconventional, like making a face, laughing with your eyes closed, screaming out loud, and even dancing. Sometimes a funny look replaces a perfect smile. 😜

Photo: Elina in Amsterdam for Flytographer. Roy captures memories in Amsterdam with a Modern Headshot photoshoot.

Show the world who you are

Who would have guessed that a simple headshot had so many possibilities behind it, right? Well, believe it or not, there’s much more. Our professional photographers worldwide can add to these ideas and guide you for a perfect modern headshot. With their help, all you have to do is show the world who you are (and look amazing) with a fun, hassle-free photo shoot.

Book your Modern Headshot photoshoot today

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