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7 tips for women to get great headshots

A good business headshot helps you communicate who you are and what you do. This is true universally, but there are some questions that are gender-specific. That’s what we’re talking about today. Here are some quick headshot tips that are specific to female headshots. I have a post that offers some tips on male headshots. Female headshot or male headshot, here’s what all headshots should project.




Happiness –

…that means smiling! No one wants to talk to someone who looks angry or sullen.

Here are a few tips for ensuring a great headshot.

  1. DON’T immediately reach for the most boring gray suit you can find. Washington DC may be the home of the federal government, but rather than blend into the gray suits, take a few minutes to think about the tone you want to project in your headshots.  In fact, I question the ‘suit’ jacket as the go-to for women headshots for women professionals. When clients come to my portrait studio I ask about why we’re making a headshot, about their profession, and the corporate culture and potential uses for their headshot. Depending on the culture of your company, you may want to come across as hip, friendly, or creative.  Also, do you really want your headshot to blend in? I would argue toward a headshot that stands out and has an immediate appeal but is still professional. An example is attorney headshots. There’s a lot of different kinds of attorneys and whilst they may still be slightly more on the conservative ‘look’ spectrum, there’s still a fair degree of variety. An attorney that specializes in wills and probate is not just pushing paper. It’s a personal and often emotional time and clients want to feel they can be looked after. Compassion as well as professionalism would be important.

  2. COLORS Plain colors are often your best choice.  Patterns can sometimes distract and date your photo.  Mid-tone colors in blue, green, wine, and purple because they are universally flattering. If you can wear bright bold colors, go for it. Definitely avoid wearing tops in flesh tones (cream, beige, pastels, peach, or yellow) as they will blend your face into your clothes.  Whilst I wear black much of the time, consider substituting the black with rich navy colors.  A fail-safe tip is to pick a top that accentuates your eyes.
  3. NECKLINE. V-neck is universally flattering because it lengthens the neck and displays the décolleté. Opt for blouses with sleeves.  Fine to medium gauge knits work really well too because they introduce textural interest.   If you choose to wear a jacket, pair it with a collarless top.  This is modern and keeps the neckline simple and sleek. Crisply ironed shirts by themselves frame the face really well.
  4. JEWELRY. It’s a reflection of you. If you’re not sure, feel free to bring some jewelry along to your headshot session and we can pick some out together. In general, I’d go for something simple. That does not mean a set of pearls at all. Don’t feel you have to shop for jewelry either, just bring some things you like, jewelry that makes you feel good.
  5. MAKEUP. Whatever your makeup choices try and avoid shiny mineral-based makeups. While some lip gloss is good, some of the super shiny lipsticks aren’t good on camera. Generally speaking, matt makeup is better.
  6. HAIR. Be you! It’s possibly not the right time for a completely new look!
  7. SHOES. It’s a headshot if your shoes are in it – something is very wrong!

I believe your headshots will be infinitely better if you are comfortable. Make sure your clothes reflect who you are.

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