• Exposures by Rah | Traverse City Photo

Professional Headshot Tips | Northern Michigan Photographer


As a business owner, having professional headshots of your staff is essential in portraying a positive image for your company. When it comes time for you to update yours, there are a few factors to consider. First, you have to think about HOW you’ll be using your photos. Then, you must consider the message you want to convey to the audience who will see your photo. For example, a Doctor might opt to wear his medial attire, however a vintage store owner might prefer something more casual or playful for their headshot. Professional photos help to humanize you and your company in a controlled way by allowing you ability to determine the final visual narrative that is going to be associated with your brand. Below you’ll find a guide for how to prepare for your upcoming corporate photo session; what you should wear, posing, and other tips and tricks to make your photoshoot a success.

Determine Your Style Of Photo

There are different approaches to corporate headshots that are starkly different from one another; on-site editorial headshots and professional business portraits.

1. On-Site Editorial Headshots

Editorial portraits are most often created within the workplace. Since many small businesses want to portray a personalized approach, this is a fantastic way to allow your potential customers to actually visualize working with you. This is an original and creative approach, more interesting than a plain background, but is still considered professional. For example, a Personal Chef might have their editorial portrait taken over their kitchen island, wearing their professional kitchen attire. They may even be “action photos” where a chef could be flipping a pancake or pouring a batter. This style of portraiture is most often found in newspaper, magazine & online articles since interview are often conducted on site.

2. Professional Business Portrait

Professional headshots from Exposures by Rah are also done at your home or office for your convenience. We will set up a neutral backdrop in your conference room, living room, spare office or lobby with our controlled lighting so that the subject is in full focus. Frame wise, the subject’s shoulders and top of the chest are usually visible unless full body photos are requested. Clothing worn for your photos can be sophisticated or casual depending on what image the company wants to send out.

Professional headshots are often used by large companies to humanize their staff, but they can also be used on job applications, or even on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a profile picture. Getting the right look for a headshot is difficult, but we’ve got a handful of tricks for you to make sure your photo comes out great.

Important things to take into consideration:

1. Ready For Your Closeup?

Which side is your best side - do you know? For most people, the left side is the good side (not everyone though! You should come to your session knowing if you have a preference). Are there any features that will be visible in your portrait that you’re self conscious about? Are threre specific edits you’d like us to make to your portrait? As headshot photographers, we are extremely used to hearing it all, so don’t feel shy telling us that one of your eyebrows is over plucked or you have a monster zit you want us to hide. In either of these cases, we could angle you to one side so that the perspective makes both eyebrows look the same size and hides your zit - OR - if nothing else we can ensure that we’ll take care of the issue in post production.

2. Say Monkey!

Whether you ARE or AREN’T a toothy grinner, you know how you smile when you’re truly smiling. For your professional photos, smiling works with and without your pearly whites, so whichever way you feel most comfortable smiling is how we want for your photos. The last thing we want is a forced smile because this can come off as unpleasant or hard to work with. Luckilly we come equipped with stupid jokes to make you chuckle so we can get those “real smiles” out of you - ya know, the one where you can tell by the eyes? That’s what we’re looking for.

3. Wardrobe

Think timeless.

Guys… Pick your favorite suit that fits you like a glove, or a nice crispy button down that’s well fitted. Steer away from loud patterns as well as metallic ties as this can distract from the focus of your portrait.

Ladies… What would you wear to work on your most professional day? Wear that! Try not to choose bold or distracting patterns, however little pops of color are definitely encouraged. Try avoid bright white unless it’s underneath another layer since white leads to washed out skin tones. For rings, bracelets, watches, and necklaces, anything you wear should be subtle and timeless.

Although there are no official rules for what to wear (and know that these guidelines can always be broken for the right vision), whatever look you choose to go with should reflect your company’s values & vision.

4. Your stance

Have you ever heard the term a picture’s worth a thousand words? That’s because photos tell a visual story, and part of that story is told in how you carry yourself. Your posture will start the story and send out the initial message. In most cases, we’ll tell you to stand straight & pull your shoulders back, then lean in slightly toward Rah who is on a step stool.

5. Hair

As a rule of thumb, we don’t recommend that you go to the salon for a trim or a color session right before the shoot. If anything, we recommend scheduling an appointment for a blow out or styling session. Business headshots provide purchasing confidence to anyone visiting your company’s website by humanizing the staff that works with you. Ultimately professional portraits help you stand out amongst your competitors and really step up your marketing game. Your potential business partners, guests and/or clients can see that there are actual human beings behind all the amazing products and/or services you specialize in.

Now that you know everything you need to know for your professional photoshoot, CLICK HERE to schedule yours with our team!


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