In the world of professional photography, headshots hold a special place. They are crucial for business professionals, actors, and even job seekers. To delve deeper into the art of capturing the perfect headshot, we sat down with David, a photogpher with more then 10 years of experience and an expert in the field and asked him for tips about headshots.

Here’s what he had to say about headshot tips.

Interviewer: Before we start to dive in about Headshots and the tips – do you consider the new AI Headshots a threat or a chance?

That’s a great question. I believe AI headshots present both a threat and an opportunity. On one hand, they could be seen as a threat because they can generate headshots quickly and inexpensively, which could potentially reduce the demand for professional photographers.

On the other hand, they also present an opportunity. AI-generated headshots, while impressive, still lack the personal touch and creative vision that a professional photographer brings to the table. They can’t replicate the rapport a photographer builds with a subject during a shoot, which often leads to more authentic and engaging photos.

Interviewer: What’s the first thing you consider when setting up for a headshot session?

David: The first thing I consider is the setup. It’s crucial to have a clean, white backdrop, which we achieve with a background light. We also use a key light positioned at a 45-degree angle and above to the left of the subject, a reflector on the right side to fill in shadows, and a rim light behind the subject for a nice highlight. This setup ensures a consistent, professional look.

Interviewer: What camera settings do you typically use for headshots?

David: For the highest quality image, I recommend keeping the ISO as low as possible, typically around ISO 100. An aperture of f/4 at 85mm ensures the whole face is in focus while still providing a slightly shallow depth of field. A shutter speed of 1/125th of a second avoids any shake and ensures the camera syncs with the flash.

Interviewer: Posing seems to be a critical aspect of headshot photography. Can you share some tips?

David: Absolutely. Posing is crucial in headshot photography. First, I use tape marks on the floor to guide the subject where to stand. This ensures consistency in the shots. I then encourage the subject to have a straight spine, level shoulders, and a slight pivot towards the light. The front shoulder should be dipped down a touch. The subject’s chin should not be pointed towards the floor or the ceiling, and the eye level should be straight to the camera. The head should be level and straight.

Interviewer: How do you guide your subjects to get the right expression?

David: Expression is a key element in headshots. I encourage the subject to give a selection of serious and lighter expressions. Headshots should still have some personality in them. It’s about capturing the essence of the person, not just their physical appearance.

Interviewer: What happens after the shoot?

David: After the shoot, I let the subjects choose their preferred headshot. This gives them control and ensures they are happy with the final result. I do this by tethering my camera to a computer and letting them sift through the shots, or by creating contact sheets in Photoshop.

Interviewer: Any final tips for those looking to improve their headshot photography?

David: Practice, practice, practice. And remember, communication is key. Make sure you’re listening to your subject and making them feel comfortable. The more relaxed they are, the better the headshot will be.

In conclusion, professional headshot photography requires a balance of technical skills, artistic vision, and the ability to direct and communicate with your subjects. With these tips and techniques, you can capture high-quality, professional headshots every time.

10 tips for great headshots:

Avoid Overly Glamorous or Artsy Shots

When taking headshots, avoid any shots that look too glam or artsy. This can be distracting for the viewer and detract from your overall image. Stick to simple and classic-looking shots that clearly showcase your features.

headshot tips - glamy headshot
Headshot tips - choose the right outfit

Choose the Right Outfit

The clothes you wear in your headshots have a huge impact on your overall look. Therefore, you must choose your wardrobe carefully. Depending on the type of headshot you’re taking—for example, business, actor, or model—the outfit requirements can vary. So make sure to do your research and pick something appropriate. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid daring colors or patterns and try to stick to dark solids.

Wear Minimal Makeup and Jewelry

When it comes to makeup and jewelry for your headshots, less is definitely more. Avoid heavy makeup and any type of jewelry that hangs over your face, as it decreases the focus from your features.

Headshot tips - wear minimal makeup
Headshot tips - hair done professional

Have Your Hair Done Professionally

If you want to get the most out of your headshots, make sure to schedule an appointment at a salon to have your hair professionally done. A stylist can make sure your hair is perfectly in place for the duration of the shoot.

Use Natural Light

Using natural light for your headshots can be a great way to make sure your shot comes out well. Natural light can be extremely flattering, but it’s important to make sure you find the right source. Look for a place where the light is diffused and not too harsh.

headshot tips - natural light
Headshot Tips - Practice your pose

Practice Your Poses

You don’t want to look stiff and awkward in your headshots. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you practice your poses beforehand. Spend some time in front of the mirror to figure out what angles look best on you and which ones should be avoided.

Be Conscious of Your Body Language

Good body language is essential for making sure your headshot has the right effect. Therefore, pay attention to the message your body language may be sending with your poses. Make sure to focus on appearing confident and open with your body language.

Headshot tips - body language
Headshot tips - avoid over smilling

Avoid Over-Smiling

Smiling can add to your approachability in a headshot, but make sure to avoid over-smiling. As with any other facial expression, avoid going overboard with your smile, as it can detract from your overall look.

Avoid Last Minute Changes

Arriving at a headshot session with a clear plan will help you save time and money, so think carefully about how you want your shot to look before your session. Make sure to discuss your plans with your photographer beforehand so that you can agree on the look you’re aiming to achieve.

Headshot tips - avoid last minute changes
Headshot tip

Work With a Professional or with AI

Finally, make sure to work with a professional photographer for your headshots. An experienced photographer can help you make sure your shots come out perfectly and capture your best angles. Nowadays, you could also use an AI Headshot Generator to create great headshots.

Headshots play a critical role in the presentation of both professionals and individuals alike, so make sure you take the time to get the perfect headshot. If you follow these headshot tips, you’ll be sure to have a great headshot that you’ll be proud of.

Quick checklist:

To sum up, we concluded the most important tips here.


  • Choose appropriate attire

  • Pay attention to grooming

  • Maintain a natural expression

  • Use good lighting

  • Focus on your eyes

Don’t do these mistakes when taking your headshots:

  • Rush the process

  • Use low-resolution images

  • Neglect posture and body language

  • Include distracting elements

  • Overdo retouching
  • Use outdated headshots


Q: Who is a good headshot photographer?

A: There are many talented headshot photographers available, and the “good” photographer for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. It’s best to look for a photographer who specializes in headshots, has a strong portfolio showcasing their work, positive reviews or recommendations, and a style that aligns with your desired outcome. Research and compare different photographers to find the one who suits your vision and budget.

Q: What are acting headshots?

A: Acting headshots are professional photographs taken specifically for actors and actresses. These headshots serve as a crucial marketing tool to showcase an actor’s appearance, range, and personality to casting directors, agents, and industry professionals. Acting headshots typically focus on the actor’s face and may include different expressions and looks to demonstrate versatility. They are used for casting submissions, auditions, and promotional materials in the acting industry.

Q: What are some tips for female headshots?

A: Choose flattering clothing and colors that complement your skin tone and convey professionalism. Pay attention to hair and makeup, keeping it natural and enhancing your features without going overboard. Consider your facial expressions and aim for a confident and approachable look while maintaining good eye contact with the camera. More tips for female headshots you find here.

Q: What should I wear for a headshot?

A: When taking headshots, you should choose a wardrobe that is simple and reflects the image that you wish to present. Depending on the context in which the headshot will be used, the wardrobe may vary. Generally speaking, you should stick to darker colors and avoid any bold colors or patterns.

Q: Is it necessary to have my hair done professionally for a headshot?
A: Having your hair professionally styled for your headshot can be a great way to make sure your look is absolutely perfect. Even if you consider yourself a hair guru, book an appointment with a stylist to get that polished and pristine look.

Q: How can I make sure I look good in my headshot?
A: For a great headshot, you should practice your poses beforehand, choose an appropriate outfit and makeup, and make sure you use natural light. Additionally, make sure to work with an experienced photographer to make sure your headshot comes out just right.

Getting the perfect headshot requires knowledge, preparation, and the right photographer. If you follow these headshot tips, you’ll be sure to get a shot you’ll be proud of and can confidently share with employers, customers, or agents.

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