The 5 W’s of Head Shots

One of the best parts about being a photographer is the diverse shoots I get to do. I love taking on new projects and learning the nuances of the individual needs.

Head shots are one of those things I didn’t start out doing but ended up really enjoying.

I’m surprised at how many people don’t think about getting head shots done, so I thought I would do a post to help you decide if you should get updated shots done.


What even are head shots?

Head shots are typically photos of a person’s head and shoulders that mostly fill the entire frame of the picture. There are lots of different kinds of head shots. The most common type is the business shot and is used in a company or corporate setting.

There are also head shots for the performing world. These include modeling, musician, and acting head shots.

Head shot done coming out of graduate school and looking for that first professional job


Who needs head shots? 

Actually, lots of people. Are you on LinkedIn? Actively looking or will be actively looking for a job soon? Do you attend conferences regularly and network with others in your career field? Are you graduating from college and looking for a job in the next 6 months? You need a head shot.

For obvious reasons, those who are interested in a modeling or acting career will need them since many call back decisions are based on physical characteristics in the arts and entertainment world. 


Why should you get a head shot?

In our world of social media and online networking, having a head shot will give you a leg up over the competition.

When you turn in a resume you want it to stand out. You want the hiring team to want to meet you. A head shot will tell them that you are professional and they will be more likely to call you in for that first interview. It can help jog someone’s memory of you and they are more likely to connect with you online.

Acting headshot boy
Acting head shot for local theater roles


When should you have your head shot done?

I suggest having a head shot done every year. This is especially true if you have changed your look recently. Acting and modeling head shots should be done at least once a year to keep current and it is suggested that actor/model head shots for anyone under age 16 be taken every 6 months. As an adult you might be able to get away with two years if your look hasn’t changed.


Finally, where should you have your head shots done?

Since I work solely with natural light, I am biased toward those shots taken outside or in a bright sunny indoor area. Really, it depends on your preference. Take a look at different photographers and their work and see what draws you in. There are a lot of head shots taken outside these days (much like the change over in wedding photography from the standard posed shots inside to the outdoor editorial style). 

Your photographer should work with you on a look that is right for you and help to portray your personality.

I offer mini sessions for those looking for an updated head shot. The session runs about 30 minutes and in the end you will have a great shot that you can feel good about putting out there as an investment in your personal brand.

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