The following is a guest post by Erik Cooper, professional photographer.

Your headshot is a direct way for you to communicate a professional image to potential business partners and clients. In my opinion, your personality should be a feature in your captures. Keeping a professional look while projecting warmth and interest are the keys to getting it right.

Avoid the deer-in-the-headlights look.professional headshots erik cooper

A mentor of mine warned me of the lack of emotion seen in so many images used for business purposes. Unfortunately, this lack of emotion only results in a deer-in-the-headlights look indicative of so many professional headshots.

So why do most people approach their business photos with such a lack of emotion and personality?

In reality, most people look forward to their photo session about as much as a visit to the dentist! This produces a stiff reaction to the shutter’s click. A simple way to remove the tension and anxiety over a photo shoot is to have a plan. Think about the kind of look you would like to have and talk about it with the photographer before the day of the shoot.

Also, be kind to yourself.

We are our own worst critics when it comes to getting our picture taken. If there is something, in particular, you are self-conscious about, tell your photographer! He or she will show you how to pose in order to highlight your best features and distract from those you don’t like. Think about what you want to wear. When you have a plan, you develop a sense of involvement as well as an easing of tension once the camera and lights begin working.

Figure out in advance all your outfits, hair, and makeup needs. Maybe even schedule a trip to the hair stylist before your photo shoot. Also, consider who your audience is. In other words, what are all the situations you might need a headshot? Some may be more formal than others. Ask your photographer how many outfit changes you can have for the price that was agreed upon. You are hiring a professional to make you look good to your clientele so take the time to get to know them during the days and weeks before your appointment.

With the knowledge that you have planned everything out and communicated with your photographer, you should get a better feeling about the end result.

Do your due diligence in finding the right photographer.

You can do all the preparation necessary for an amazing photo shoot, but if you don’t have the right photographer, it still may not be the best experience. Think about what is important to you. Research different photographers in your area. What extra services do they offer? Some photographers will even bring their equipment to your place of business in order to capture you in your element. Not only will that provide you will awesome photos, it will also eliminate some of the photo shoot jitters as you can pose in an environment comfortable to you. The more relaxed you are, the better the photos!

As always, breathe deep and relax before the session begins. Have fun with the shoot and ask any questions you might need in order to feel better about the session. Take it from someone that does this for a living, your image is my image. I want you to look fantastic in your headshots!

Erik Cooper
Erik Cooper Photography and Portraits