Top 10 Tips for Headshots

Top 10 Tips for Headshots

1. Learn how to fold your arms. Practise by extending your arms in front of you, taking your right hand and tucking it under your left armpit, taking your left arm under your right arm and placing it on your right bicep. Don’t clutch your elbow or your forearm. It will make you look weird.

2. Do not have your picture taken from below. If you have one chin, it will make you look like you have two. If you have two chins, it will make you look like you have three.

3. Smile. As you can see from my profile picture, I’m no fan of this, and the smirks pulled by some business people make them look like Wallace, the eccentric, cheese-loving inventor from Wallace & Gromit. But, in general, people do look better when they smile.

4. Leave at least 15 minutes at the end of a press interview to have your picture taken. Too often, business people spend hours talking to a reporter and then say they only have a moment for pictures. They then despair when the resulting picture makes them look like Wallace, the eccentric, cheese-loving inventor from Wallace & Gromit. Remember: not everyone will read the piece, but everyone will see the picture. It is worth investing some time in.

5. Make sure you have no colleagues milling around when you have your picture taken. It is almost impossible to act naturally when being photographed. Everyone feels like an idiot. But it is even more difficult if you have lots of colleagues nearby pulling faces.

6. Do not play office politics with the photo. Too often a chief executive or chairman will insist on being photographed with their finance director or human resources director or tea lady, to demonstrate they are a team player. All this does is increase the likelihood of a rubbish picture being taken and decrease the likelihood of it ever being published.

7. Unless you want to look like Bob Geldof after a weekend of boozing, if you are having your picture taken in the afternoon, shave beforehand. Obviously, this doesn’t, in general, apply to women.

8. Avoid fancy dress. This is not something that only happens in episodes of The Office (who can forget the moment David Brent agrees to be photographed for a local paper in an ostrich outfit?).

9. Understand that men in suits are boring, even to men in suits. Business photographers are always looking for ways of bringing pictures alive for their business audience. The bad ones go too far – we all groan when we see pictures of serious business people doing things we know they never do – digging the foundations to a building, demoniacally waving around a company product, and so on. But the good ones are on your side and will not make you appear an idiot. Try to be helpful.

10. It is fine to make suggestions, but don’t get carried away. Joan Collins may be able to insist on certain light and angles and lenses for photographs, but the average chief executive probably can’t.