Picture Perfect?

When someone views your photos, they should get an accurate glimpse of your persona. The perfect headshot or profile photo is one that conveys your attitude and suits your approach within your industry. Even fields more traditional in nature allow for a modern visual image. If you are in an artistic line of work or in the public eye, an exceptional photo is likely to be expected of you.

A relatively recent colour photo should be featured on your website and all other main marketing materials. It is expected and it adds credibility. It can be a significant advantage as it gives your audience a window into your personality and style of business.

Remember that your photo is a communication tool and must accurately represent you while it speaks some of your key strategic message.

Your vision should be derived from your immediate and long term career goals + your personality style and your taste. If you have a knowledgable trusted advisor helping you with image management they should be able to assist you with this. Here are some tips to get you started:


1) Choosing your photographer

Whether you are looking to work with a portrait style photographer or an entertainment style photographer, review some of their portfolio images to determine whether their style matches yours. Take the time to have a conversation with them to to review your vision and ask they are amenable to helping you to bring that vision to life. My most successful photoshoot was casual and was done by a skilled friend who clearly understood the types of shots I wanted. Showing a few sample photos from magazine and explaining why I liked them helped tremendously.

2) Body language

A beautiful photo is one that highlights your best angles and features a version of your natural body posture is ideal. Choice of poses depends on the purpose of the photo and the message you are trying to convey. An approachable and relaxed expression while your face and body face the camera may be the most effective pose. Body language should be poised but relaxed and approachable. In other words, have good alignment but be careful not to be too rigid.

Photographers sometimes have an unstructured process and sometimes have a routine. If you are being posed in a way that does not feel natural to you or in a way that feels too stage simply politely insist that you try something that does feel right. You need to be satisfied and proud of your photos so it’s best to speak up in the moment while respective their expertise. Good collaborators welcome this because they also have your best interests in mind.

3) Styling

Choose a small selection of outfits that are classic or modern in style with impeccable fit. Consider colour psychology as well as colours that best suit your complexion so that you will be the focus of the photo and visual credibility will be in tact. Your outfit should not garner more attention that your face. Comfort is critical if you are someone who can’t focus or relax if you are wearing something that is bothering you. (Some don’t have this concern and can put up with nearly everything for a gorgeous photo.)

If you don’t have a stylist or consultant with you, bring along the following items in case a need arises: essential hair and makeup products, deodorant, mark removing sponge, scissors, double sided tape (not just for women – your hem could come loose or you may want a rolled lapel to sit properly), travel sewing kit, hand mirror, lint roller, travel steamer

Before packing your gear for the shoot, give everything a last look and steam, cut any loose threads, polish shoes, check that buttons are secure etc. Try on your outfit at least several days prior to your session. Sometimes garments don’t fit the way they did in recent memory and sometimes they are no longer photo worthy. If things are not up to standards you will have time to choose another look.

I’m not including any client samples here as the work is often confidential. Look for a follow up post with some public examples of lacking vs great shots.

4) Burn some nervous energy

Some of my clients feel nervous before getting their photo taken. For many (even performers) this does not feel natural and anticipation of the event can cause nervousness. It might be chatting with a good friend or dancing to your favorite song of the moment around the corner from your photoshoot that calms you down. Going into the shoot in a relaxed state will help a great deal.


Your photo is a critical component of your digital first impression. Choose aspects of your personality to highlight and use the photo to give the same impression you are carefully crafting when you meet people in person.

Your perfect picture might be carefully orchestrated or it might be a candid that was taken in between poses when you were relaxing, looking pensive, or having fun!