So, I’m going to attempt to address the subject of “headshot dread.” Almost every time I’m about to take a headshot, I hear, “I hate having my picture taken” or “I don’t photograph well.”

I’d like to try to offer a couple of tips to improve your experience being photographed, which will, in turn, produce better photos. Otherwise, you’ll be the mystery box below on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Prepare for your session. 

Try on some outfits and pick something professional that makes you feel good. Be sure it fits well and flatters you. I always recommend solid prints over patterns but it’s most important for you to enjoy what you wear. Don’t wait to the last minute. Iron or steam your clothing. If you have pets, de-furr your attire before the shoot. Put some time and thought into your hair and makeup (this goes for the guys too) but keep it natural. Don’t try anything new or drastic before the shoot.

Here’s a few tips from Shelley Cardoos, Director of Programs at Entrepreneurship for All, “It’s really important to have a great headshot for LinkedIn. I use that site a lot to see what people look like before meeting. And also, you never know when you’ll be honored at an event and need a headshot. It’s definitely worth it to have a great one taken every few years.”

Confidence is key

Approach your session with an open mind and a positive attitude. You’ve hired a professional with years of experience to photograph you, allow him or her to give you direction. Think of your photographer as your coach or brand ambassador for the session. Trust their expertise.

Boston commercial photographer Rick Friedman makes a point of striking up a conversation with his subjects and involving them in the creative process by previewing pictures with them as well. “I always ask, ‘What do you think of the picture we are creating?’ It’s definitely a collaboration.”

Engage with your photographer. Be upfront with any concerns or preferences. Participate in the conversation. Keep it light and fun.

Mark Medeiros owner of Slocum Studio seconds the team effort sentiment, “share your feelings with the photographer when it comes to posing for a photograph. Do you like your left side more than your right, hairline, neckline, or glasses on or off etc? A good photographer knows what to look for in shaping a good portrait.”

For my upcoming headshot event, here are a few things I’ll have on hand to make your experience more pleasant (in addition to the obvious, my camera, lens, a white backdrop and studio lights.)

  • Mirror
  • Lint roller
  • Face Powder Palette
  • Coffee
  • Music
  • Lollipops

You are your brand and in order to put your best self forward for your digital presence, you need a flattering photo. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s some advice from three marketing gurus…

Independent design director Laura Parrish explains that your personal brand is a reflection of who you are and what your business strives to accomplish, “The little details can have such a big impact. High-quality, professional headshots can be a quick and easy way to set the tone of your brand, and shows potential clients a glimpse into your personality and what your business represents,” she said.

Allison Oberton of Oberton Marketing has over 13 years of experience in digital marketing. She suggests looking to Pinterest for inspiration and practicing your facial expressions in a mirror beforehand. “It’s important to have a polished, professional headshot because it’s an increasingly important element of your personal brand. Whether you own a business or are working for others, you’ll want to have a proper headshot to accompany your bio and other professional places like LinkedIn or corporate presentations.”

Betsy Keady of Keady Communications echoed the significance of a good picture, “When a potential client is doing due diligence on an organization, it’s critical that they get a professional, approachable impression of the leadership.  A well done, on-brand photograph goes a long way to making the desired impression.“

How are we going to make this FUN?

Here’s your homework assignment before your shoot with Salty Broad Studios. Select your “walk-up” song. At MLB games, when a player heads up to bat, their chosen anthem blares from the stadium speakers. We’ll start your session by pumping the jam that makes you feel fabulous! We’ll try different looks and poses. We can even do a few silly ones. When it’s all over, you can treat yourself to a piece of candy and go on your merry way.