Whether you are a lawyer, a sales person, an executive, an entrepreneur or a creative type, you need a business portrait also called a headshot, mugshot, or executive portrait to use as a profile picture online, on business cards and brochures, in company annual reports, for the press, etc.
Why good profile pictures matter
Remember, first impression are difficult to change and a business portrait is the ideal way to show the public exactly who you are. So you need to put your best photo forward to produce the right first impression and there are several things to take into account when making that picture perfect.
How to pose
You need a shot where you look relaxed but confident and look into the camera for eye contact. The purpose of a business portrait is to connect and establish trust while you are not physically there.
How to dress
First, wear something comfortable – posing is hard the way it is and wearing clothes that don’t sit well will make you look stiff and unnatural. On the other hand, be aware of clothing that wrinkles easily as that will look sloppy and unprofessional.
Otherwise, your choice of clothing should be dictated by the type of image you are looking to project – conservative, friendly, artsy or approachable. Still, there are certain photography-related technicalities and some natural rules of perception to be taken into account.
Keep in mind that all black clothes might come out as a solid black spot while all white will reflect the flash light and might “blind” the camera. Off-white, navy blue, gray and brown, are better choices for neutral colors.
For women, avoid open shoulders and deep cuts. When you photo is cropped to fit the online format or the layout of the publication, you might appear as if wearing no clothes. It is better if you wear a long sleeve shirt which is more flattering on arms than short. Avoid busy prints and jewelry – they are distracting in photos.
Hire a professional or use a lucky amateur shot
Needless to say that a professional will deliver a good portrait with ease helping you with posing and setting the lighting in no time. But hiring a professional is not always an option when you are self-employed or an entrepreneur on a tight budget. In this case, if you have a good shot taken by an amateur, it can be enhanced to the level of the studio portrait. The photo below was improved at $11.95. Without the change of the background, this would have cost $3.50 – an affordable expense for any budget.
Contemporary consumer cameras go to 10 Megapixels and higher to give you top-notch resolution of any professional camera. With a good lighting, your friend, colleague or a family member can produce a decent shot of you that will be enhance to the grade of a studio portrait by a retoucher.
Should I get my photo retouched?
Professionally shot “executive portraits” normally get retouched. This is a subtle procedure to give your image a “fresher” (not younger) look. Any temporary skin imperfections like blemishes and rashes that tend to pop up in digitally shot photos due to the sharpness of the capture get evened out. If your eyes welled up with tears during intense posing and exsessive lighting, the retoucher will dry them and fix the eye redness. Flyaway hair that gives the image a sloppy look is removed. Makeup is fixed. Eyeglasses glare and unsightly facial shadows get eliminated. For men, shaving mishaps get corrected. Flashlight reflection that makes the face look oily is toned down. Lint is removed from clothing.
These might sound like trifle things but all these tiny imperfections, hardly noticeable in reality, get into the limelight when a person sees your photo for the first time. After all, it’s 70% how you look, 20% how you sound, and 10% what you say.