A Few Notes on Headshots

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I recently attended the Headshot Intensive and the Headshot Intensified hosted by Peter Hurley in his New York City studio. The Headshot Intensive is a two day photography workshop based on Peter's process of producing the highest quality headshots in the industry. The Headshot Intensified was an optional 3rd day where I spent more one on one time with Peter in order to drive all those concepts home.

I loved learning how Peter works with clients and how he runs his business. Peter is genuinely interested in people and he loves the human face. It really shows in his work. He’s very passionate about getting the very best headshot from every client. I got a chance to get in front of his camera and it was a powerful experience.

My biggest takeaway was learning how to build that connection with my client starting the minute they walk in the door. That connection starts out as a fine piece of silk thread and as the connection builds it turns into a string, then into a rope, and finally into a chain. When you get to that chain level you can really get the best shots because a great deal of trust has been built between the photographer and the client.

The goal of the headshot session is to get an expression that conveys confidence and approachability. Confidence is conveyed through the eyes while approachability shows in the mouth. Once we’ve got that shot we’re done!


 Before heading in to the studio think about all of the things that make up your personal brand and what you want others to take away from a glance at your profile page. Jot down some key words and phrases and bring them to your shoot. Think about what exemplifies your personal brand to you. Are you a chef? An educator? A writer? A business owner?

 We can take a couple different shots—in different outfits—so you’ll have a series to choose from. You may want to tailor your profile picture based on the social media platform you’re using. Remember to have fun! A relaxed, comfortable subject naturally exudes confidence.


 It’s important that your look matches the image you’re trying to convey.  What you wear on a daily basis is a great place to start. Solid colors are always a good choice, as are tops with strong collars and necklines. Even though you’ll only be shot from the shoulders up, it’s important you’re pulled together from head to toe—you may want a shot or two that are pulled back a bit. Aim for clothes that complement your skin and eye tones and, overall, steer clear of very bold colors.


 Dubbed “the new handshake,” professional headshots are now the first introduction to you, your business and your personal brand—shouldn’t that intro be the best it can be? With 93% of HR professionals and recruiters tapping into LinkedIn to find quality candidates—plus 2 in 3 on Facebook and more than half utilizing Twitter—that headshot has countless applications in your professional life. Should your profile pic be the family vacation, the fun night out or—worse—the logo or abstract shot? Or should it be a powerful, compelling and confidence-building headshot that makes prospective clients, employers and partners want to click “Connect?”