How to Take a Great Headshot: 7 Tips From a Professional Photographer

By Published On: August 10th, 2023

Professional headshots are an increasingly effective marketing tool for businesses and professional individuals, but sitting in front of the camera and trying “act natural” can make most of us feel overwhelmed and underprepared. So what’s the best way to get an incredible headshot without needing to book an appointment with a therapist? Follow these 7 tips from a professional headshot photographer.

Professional Utah Actor headshot

1. Dress the Part

It seems like a no-brainer, but when it comes to deciding what to wear for your headshot session, you want to look polished and professional. Your clothes should be clean, wrinkle-free, and not be busy or distracting in print or pattern. You also want to make sure your clothes are comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, you’ll be distracted and that will come through in your headshots so maybe leave the SPANX and stilettos at home.

2. Posing for your Headshot

When it comes to posing for your headshots, posture is everything. Keep your back straight, your shoulders down and your head slightly forward to create a nice defined jaw line. I often tell my clients to close their eyes and breath in and out several times to “reset”. This usually results in a much more relaxed and natural expression.

3. Choosing the Right Photographer

When choosing a photographer for your headshots, it’s important to find someone who is experienced and has the set up to light you appropriately. Do some research, check out their profiles, and ask for referrals. (Psst! I know a great headshot photographer. Here’s her info.)

4. What to Bring to Your Photoshoot

Before you walk out the door, be sure you’ve packed everything you need for a successful session. Here are a few items most find helpful:

-A comb or brush for fixing flyaways
-1 or 2 wardrobe options for variety (think texture and layers as opposed to prints and patterns)
-Inspiration photos so your photographer can see what you like
-Water and snacks! A little chocolate goes a long way.

5. After the Shoot

Many photographers will allow you to view all the images shot during your headshot session. We are usually our own worst critics so get some feedback from trusted family and friends on choosing the images that highlight your personality and features. After you’ve selected your favorites, your photographer can edit them for you.

6. Where to Use Your Headshots

Once you have your edited headshots, you can use them for your website, company directory, resume, social media profiles, speaking engagements, networking events, or anywhere else you need to represent your personal brand.

7. Update Your Headshots Regularly

There is no set rule for when to update your headshots, but it’s a good idea to update it every few years. As your career progresses and you change jobs or make other changes, you’ll want to make sure your headshot is up-to-date. You may also want to update your headshot more frequently if you’re using it for social media purposes.


Headshots are an important part of marketing your personal brand. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that the investment you make in your headshots pays off and makes a stellar first impression on potential clients or employers. If you’re in the market for some amazing new headshots, book a session with JGardiner Photography.