As a professional photographer for the past 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand how a great headshot can open doors for women in any industry. These days, your photograph is often your first impression. 

Whether it’s on LinkedIn, your company website, or business cards, a professional headshot acts like the modern-day business suit. It suggests competence, professionalism, and the subtler nuances of your personality before you even meet someone face-to-face. Remember, people connect with people, not profiles!

This guide is designed from my experiences behind the lens. My aim? To show you how to approach your headshot session with confidence and strategic insight. 

Whether you’re updating your current photo or taking your first professional headshot, I’ll share tips on preparation, posing, makeup, and styling, all tailored for women who want to make a mark.

Table of Contents:

1. How To Prepare For Your Professional Headshots

2. How To Pose For Your Professional Headshots

3. How To Wear Your Makeup

4. How To Style Your Hair 

5. Which Props To Bring

6. Where To Use Your Headshots

1. How To Prepare For Your Professional Headshots

Selecting a photographer is like choosing a partner for a dance. It’s important to find someone whose style aligns with your vision and brand. Look through portfolios, and notice how each photographer captures the person. Does their style resonate with yours? For example, a corporate lawyer might prefer a more traditional, subdued aesthetic compared to a creative director who might go for something bold and contemporary.

Think about who will see this photo. Are you aiming to climb the corporate ladder? Are you a freelancer updating your LinkedIn profile? Your headshot should resonate with the audience it’s intended for. For instance, when I recently shot for a tech startup CEO, we went for a more casual look to reflect her company’s innovative and approachable style.

Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. A classic blazer can project authority, while a soft-colored blouse can suggest approachability. Accessories should complement, not dominate. A simple necklace or earrings can frame your face beautifully without distracting. Remember, the focus is your face and the story it tells.

Start prepping your skin a few days before the shoot. Hydration is key—drink plenty of water and use a good moisturizer to give your skin a healthy glow. Avoid any drastic skin treatments close to the day; we want to avoid unexpected breakouts. And ladies, a little lip balm goes a long way to avoid chapped lips!

2. How To Pose For Your Professional Headshots

The right pose can make all the difference. Standing poses can project more power, while seated ones might feel more inviting. I always encourage a slight tilt of the head or a hand on the hip to break symmetry and add interest. Remember how Michelle Obama often posed? There’s a reason her photos radiate strength and warmth!

The key here is to find the balance between approachable and authoritative. A slight smile that reaches the eyes can soften a stern look. Practice in the mirror; see how a small change in your expression can change the message you’re sending. It’s fascinating!

Lean slightly towards the camera—this subtle move can make you seem more engaged and less imposing. Soften your eyes, and think of something that genuinely makes you happy. This trick can bring a natural smile that’s perfect for the shot.

3. How To Wear Your Makeup

What works for a night out doesn’t necessarily work for a headshot. Opt for natural makeup to enhance, not mask, your features. For instance, a light foundation, a touch of concealer, and neutral shadows can highlight your best features without feeling overdone. But for those in more creative fields, a pop of color on the lips can reflect a bold, innovative spirit.

Under the lights and in front of the lens, certain features can wash out. Contouring lightly under the cheekbones and along the jawline can add definition. A dab of highlighter on the cheekbones and brow bones can create a healthy, subtle glow that translates beautifully on camera.

Do use matte products to reduce shine and avoid glitter or overly glossy products that might catch too much light. Don’t forget to match your foundation perfectly to your neck—this is crucial! And always, always have a makeup retouch kit on hand during the shoot for quick fixes.

4. How To Style Your Hair 

Whether you’re an oval, square, or heart-shaped face maven, each shape has styles that naturally enhance your features. For instance, soft layers can soften a square jaw, while those with round faces might opt for volume on top to elongate the face.

A good hair day starts with a good hair care routine. A deep conditioning treatment a week before can add that extra shine and manageability your hair needs. On the day, a smooth blowout can never go wrong. Remember, flyaways are camera shy! A little hairspray or anti-frizz serum can keep them in check.

If you’re worried about thinning hair, strategic styling and volumizing products can help create the illusion of thickness. Got curls? Embrace them! Well-defined curls can frame your face beautifully, making your headshot unique and memorable.

5. Which Props To Bring

Props can be a great addition when they make sense. For example, a chef might hold a rolling pin, or a writer might have a vintage typewriter in the background. The prop should feel like a natural extension of your profession, not a forced accessory. Have you ever seen someone posing with a random object like a pineapple? It’s quirky, sure, but does it help their professional image? Probably not, unless they’re a fruit vendor or a tropical travel agent!

Props should complement, not dominate the scene. Hold them as you naturally would when using them in your profession. The interaction should feel authentic—like you’re caught in a moment of your everyday brilliance, not like you’re posing at a Renaissance fair (unless, of course, you are!).

I once photographed a novelist with her cat perched on her shoulder; it was whimsical yet fitting as her books featured a feline sidekick. This small, personal touch not only relaxed the author but also added a unique element to her brand narrative.

6. Where To Use Your Headshots

Once you have your polished headshots, update all your professional profiles. This look helps reinforce your professional presence. Did you know profiles with professional headshots are 14 times more likely to be viewed? That’s not just a number; it’s an invitation to be seen!

Use your headshot on your LinkedIn profile, business cards, email signatures, and any promotional materials. It personalizes your business and makes you more memorable. Think about it—would you rather talk to a face or a logo?

A great headshot can be a conversation starter at networking events or even on social media. Share your new headshot with a story about your experience or what your brand stands for. People connect with stories, not just faces.

Need Help From a Professional?

Whether you’re trying to improve your LinkedIn profile or adding a professional touch to your marketing materials, I’m here to photograph you at your absolute best. With an eye for lighting and detail, I promise to make your session relaxed and fun. Let’s create a headshot that looks great and truly represents you. 

Eric Campbell Photography – Professional Headshots Specialist

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About Eric Campbell

Eric Campbell is a highly experienced photographer specializing in professional headshots. His extensive expertise, gained through 20 years of dedicated practice, has made him a preferred choice in the field. Known for his exceptional skill in capturing the unique characteristics of each subject, Eric consistently delivers headshots that stand out for their quality, individuality, and professionalism. His reputation as a reliable and skilled photographer ensures that clients receive headshots that are visually striking and effectively represent their professional persona.

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