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The New Age of Headshots

The traditional headshot has become totally outdated. A headshot doesn’t tell the story of anything other than what your head looks like. Better to present yourself with a series of images that tells the story of who you are.


What does your power shot look like, and what does it say about you? Consider John F. Kennedy’s official White House portrait—standing with his arms crossed, looking thoughtfully downward. It would tell a totally different story, and we’d be left with a much different impression of him, if he were staring forward seriously, for example, or holding his hands behind his back.

What feelings are you trying to evoke? Tough girl? Advocate? Kind? Thoughtful? Fun? Take the time before your shoot to decide how you want to be perceived, and then strike a pose accordingly.


Even though the headshot itself shouldn’t be your main image, you should still have your photographer give you one to use as an option—but make sure to have them include the top of your shoulders in the frame. Never have the frame end just above the neck. Also, don’t look dead center into the camera, unless you’re Hannibal Lecter; look to the left or right instead. (Ask any twenty-something; they know which side is best, and you should as well. Something to do with the nose and eyes.) When it comes to your outfit, think about what flatters you. A turtleneck may work for some (think Elizabeth Holmes, although she won’t be wearing them at her new home in a Texas prison), but a softer look could be a scoop neck with a well chosen necklace that speaks to who you are. A simple diamond on a chain? Pearls? (Please, God, not again!) Three chains? Less is more. Sometimes more is just more, not better.



A full-body shot is a great way to show off your personality, but remember to consider the backdrop. If you do your shoot in a studio, have them use a green screen if possible so you can change the background in the future. If your shoot is outside, make sure that the sun is behind the camera, and that there isn’t too much going behind you so that people get distracted—because, after all, this is all about you.



--Christine Merser

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