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Katie O'Brien, Web Designer for Coaches_Tips for Your Upcoming Headshot Session

7 Tips to Get the Best Possible Headshots for Your Website

One of the greatest investments you can make for your business is professional photography.

And when I say professional I mean a professional photographer who can effortlessly capture who you are and what you represent through your photos.

However, for most of my clients, before they even find a photographer, they’re dreading the process altogether. They say things like:

“I don’t like so much attention on myself.”

“I can’t stand looking at my photos.”

“I never take a good photo.”

“I’m so uncomfortable in front of the camera.”

“My brand isn’t about me… do I really need photos of myself?”

On top of all of these limiting beliefs, they’re also trying to figure out what they should wear, how they should pose and so on.

While I’m not too comfortable behind the camera myself, I’ve had my fair share of experience with getting my own headshots done for my website as well as plenty of experience guiding my clients through this process.

Today I want to provide the top tips I share with my clients to ensure they get the best possible results from their headshot session.

1. Know your ideal client.

Who are you trying to attract? And how do you want your clients to FEEL when they work with you? Make sure to convey that in your headshot with your expressions, your looks, your shoot locations, and overall style.

If your clients are more corporate or professional, maybe you’ll do your shoot in a studio. If you’re a life coach, maybe you’ll do your shoot outdoors or in a coffee shop. If you’re a speaker, perhaps you set a mock stage or bring your photographer to your next event.

2. Be yourself.

I know it sounds cliché, but your photos should reflect you and your personality. This means if you don’t own a single dress… don’t go out and buy one just for the shoot. That’s not you.

Authenticity is what your clients are after. It’s the only way you can attract your people. You want to make sure the images used on your website will match the “you” that shows up on your first video call with your new client.

3. Invest in hair and makeup.

I highly recommend investing in hair and makeup. You will not only look great but you will feel amazing. That spark will then be captured on camera.

Sure you want to still look like you, but the best hairstylists and makeup artists will be able to give you a natural look that reflects the best version of you.

4. Gather inspiration before your shoot.

Jump over to Pinterest and create a new board called Headshots. Then search for ‘headshot inspiration’ and you’ll instantly have thousands of photos for inspiration. Start saving the ones that resonate with you.

Once you have a good amount, narrow them down to your favorites. Use this inspiration to gather ideas for your outfits, shoot location, poses and more. Remember you’re using this for inspiration, not a duplication. Don’t copy another’s style verbatim. Use it for inspiration in finding your own style.

Also, don’t forget to share your inspiration with your photographer before your session so you’re on the same page.

Click here to check out some of my favorite professional headshots I’ve used for inspiration for my own sessions over the years.

5. Request a variety of poses and orientations.

You’re no longer in corporate. You’re a small business owner and even if you’re attracting corporate clientele, you want a variety of poses and shots. You don’t want the standard corporate headshot. 

You’ll also want to ensure your photographer is including plenty of negative space in your photos. (Your web designer will thank you for this!) Getting a variety of shots, orientations and including negative space allows the greatest amount of flexibility when going to use your photos. Remember, you can easily crop an image after the fact.

6. Let your photographer take the lead.

You’re going to hire a professional. Give them the space and grace to do their job. Share your inspiration and ideas with them, but then relax and let them guide you. This is what you’re paying them for.

When picking your photographer, find someone who not only has a stellar portfolio but also gets your business. A great photographer will guide you through this entire process and make you feel at ease.

7. Relax.

Remember these aren’t for you, they’re for your clients. If you stare at your images long enough, I promise you’ll end up hating them. We are our own worst critics. So many of my clients have expressed how horrible their images are and once they’re shared with me I’m flabbergasted because they’re stunning!

Remind yourself to relax during (and after!) your session. Share your library of images with your website designer when they’re ready and trust them to do their job from there. 

You should be getting updated shots every 2-3 years so with each session it will get easier and easier. And hopefully, the above tips will help ease the process for you each time.

What are your biggest questions when it comes to preparing for your headshot session for your website? Pop them in the comments below and I’ll answer them ASAP.

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Hi! I'm Katie. I'm a web designer and brand strategist who specializes in blending clean + crisp design alongside smart strategy for professional coaches + consultants.

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