What are Headshots? All You Need To Know

What are Headshots? All You Need To Know

What are Headshots? All You Need To Know

As a professional, you know that your headshot is your calling card. It represents you and your brand in the digital world. But with so many options for headshot photography these days, how do you choose what's right for you in 2024? This article will walk you through everything you need to know about headshots, from costs and photo styles to preparation tips and how to find a reputable headshot photographer near you. You'll learn what makes for an effective headshot in 2024 across platforms like Linkedin, company websites, and more. With the right insights on headshot photography trends, costs, and best practices, you can present your best professional self this year and beyond.

What Are Headshots and Why Are They Important?

Headshots are professional portrait photographs that focus on a person's face and convey their personality. They are an essential tool for anyone in a public-facing role, as they allow you to make a strong first impression on potential clients or employers.

Cost and Process

The cost of headshots can vary depending on factors like experience of photographer, number of outfits or locations, and amount of retouching. During your headshot session, the photographer will guide you through a variety of poses and facial expressions to capture the most professional and flattering photos of you. They will then retouch the best images to ensure high quality, polished results.

Key Tips for a Successful Session

Schedule your headshot session when you are feeling rested and confident. Get a good night's sleep and wear minimal makeup so you appear natural on camera. Dress in solid colors that compliment your features. For women, a button-down blouse is always a safe choice. For men, a button-down shirt and tie or suit are standard. Make sure your outfit is pressed and that you feel comfortable. Smile genuinely and tilt your chin slightly upward for the most flattering angle. Have fun - your confidence and enthusiasm will shine through!

With professional headshots, you are making an investment in your career and personal brand. Following some simple tips for preparation and working with an experienced photographer will ensure you receive images you can use for years to come. Headshots are well worth the effort for the many opportunities they can open up.

How to Prepare for a Headshot Photoshoot?

To ensure you get high-quality headshots that represent you professionally, preparation is key. First, schedule your photoshoot in advance and block out enough time to get ready. For women, hair and makeup can take 1-2 hours. Men should allot at least 30 minutes for a barber visit.

Related Article: How to Shoot Headshot Photography?

Choose an Outfit

Select an outfit that is conservative yet stylish and fits well. Solid colors or simple patterns and minimal accessories are best. For men, a button-down shirt or simple blazer is a good choice. Women can consider a blouse, sheath dress or blazer. Make sure any pieces are freshly pressed.

Practise Facial Expressions

Headshot expressions should appear natural, yet polished and confident. Practice smiling in front of a mirror to find an expression that feels authentic to you. For women, a slight smile with their mouth closed is often most flattering. Men can consider a subtle smile that wrinkles the eyes. A relaxed, open expression also works well for either.

Bring Props (Optional)

If desired, you can bring props that highlight your industry or interests. For example, a doctor might bring a stethoscope, or an author might bring books they have written. However, keep props minimal and avoid anything distracting. It is best to get headshots both with and without props, so you have options to use for different purposes.

With some preparation and practice, you will feel at ease during your headshot session and get photos that capture the confident, professional you. The results will be headshots you can use with pride for years to come.

Finding a Headshot Photographer Near Me

When seeking a headshot photographer, look for professionals with experience specifically in headshot and portrait photography. Their portfolio should demonstrate high quality, flattering images that will appropriately represent you or your brand.

Experience and expertise

An experienced headshot photographer will understand how to compose shots and provide direction to achieve a polished, professional image. They stay up-to-date with trends in headshot photography to create a style that will remain current for years to come. When viewing a photographer's portfolio, look for headshots with simple, minimalistic backgrounds that keep the focus on the subject. The images should capture a natural, authentic expression.

Services offered

Discuss what specific services the photographer offers to ensure they can meet your needs. Beyond the actual photo session, they may provide styling consultation, makeup application, and retouching services. They should also offer options for both indoor studio and outdoor on-location sessions. Inquire about the number of final images provided, as well as options to receive both color and black and white headshots.

Headshot Pricing

Headshot photography pricing can range from under $100 up to $500 or more for a session with a premium photographer. The exact cost will depend on factors like the number of final images, the length and location of the session, additional services like makeup or retouching, and the overall experience of the photographer. Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true, as it often reflects the quality and professionalism.

However, an expensive photographer is not always indicative of premium images either. Compare rates of different local photographers to determine a fair price range based on your needs.

With some research, you can find a skilled headshot photographer that suits your needs and budget. Meet with photographers you are interested in to view more of their work and discuss their approach before booking a session. A professional headshot is an investment, so take the time to find a photographer you trust to capture images you will use with confidence for years to come.

Headshot Costs and Packages in 2024

As technology and equipment have advanced, headshot photography has become more accessible and affordable. However, the costs can still vary depending on factors like your location, the experience of the photographer, the types of photos you need, and any additional services like makeup or retouching.

Basic Headshot Session

Basic headshot session typically includes a 30 to 60-minute session with a photographer to capture different poses and expressions. You'll receive a set of high-resolution, digital photos to use for your professional profiles and social media.

Corporate Headshot Packages

If you need headshots for your company website or other corporate uses, packaged deals of 3 to 5 photos are common. These often include some retouching to ensure consistent and polished results across all photos. Some photographers offer corporate discounts and rates for photographing large groups or entire teams.

Related Article: Group Corporate Headshots: Image for Business Success

Premium Headshot Packages

For actors, models, and those who want a more stylized shoot, premium packages with additional features like makeup application, outfit changes, and extensive retouching are available. These photo sessions can last 2 hours or more to capture a variety of different looks. The final photos are professionally retouched and provided in a high resolution with full printing rights.

Additional Costs

Other potential costs to keep in mind include:

  • Retouching or airbrushing
  • Makeup application
  • Outfit, hair, and styling changes
  • Expedited editing or rush delivery fees
  • Printing photos: Prices vary based on size, paper type, and quantity

With many options at a range of price points, you can find a headshot photographer and package to suit your needs and budget. Plan ahead, check reviews, and make sure you understand exactly what is included to get the most value from your investment. Headshots are an essential part of your personal brand and image, so high-quality results are worth the cost.

Headshot Tips and Ideas for Great Photos

Prepare Ahead of Time

In preparation for your headshot photoshoot, get plenty of rest the night before and arrive with minimal makeup. Keep your look clean and natural. For women, light makeup with neutral tones is best. For men, be freshly shaven or maintain well-groomed facial hair.

Choose clothing in solid colors that you feel comfortable and confident in. A button-down shirt or blouse is standard. Make sure your clothes are well-pressed and lint-free.

Relax and Be Yourself

Feeling tense and uncomfortable will show through in your photos. Take some deep breaths to help yourself relax. Think of your headshot as an opportunity to capture the real you. Let your personality and approachability shine through. A warm, genuine smile is ideal. Laughing or making subtle expressions can also help you appear more natural on camera. The end result will be headshots that authentically reflect who you are.

Work with the Photographer

An experienced headshot photographer will guide you through various poses and facial expressions to capture your best angles and most flattering shots. Listen to their direction and make adjustments as needed. Feel free to ask questions or provide feedback on what you like or dislike. A collaborative approach will yield headshots you feel positive about that also meet the needs of your intended use, whether for a professional profile, social media, or branding purposes.

Related Article: Professional Business Headshot Poses That Get Results

Consider Your Options

Discuss options for indoor or outdoor locations with your photographer based on the overall look and feel you want to achieve. Outdoor headshots, for example, tend to appear more casual while studio shots have a more professional polish. You can also choose between close-up head and shoulder shots versus wider shots that include more of your torso. Color or black and white images are possibilities as well. Think about how you want to represent yourself and the message you want to convey with your headshots.


While it may seem intimidating, getting professional headshots is a key part of advancing your career. By learning what makes an effective headshot, preparing properly, and finding a skilled photographer, you can get images that accurately capture your brand and help you stand out. With an understanding of current headshot trends and best practices, you'll feel confident going into your photoshoot. Remember that a small investment in quality headshots can have an outsized impact on your career success. Approach the process thoughtfully, find a style that suits you, and walk away with headshots that convey your true strengths. Great photos have the power to open doors and take your career to the next level.