While there are a number of variables to consider when taking a headshot, colour is rarely factored in.
With a world of difference between a monochrome and saturated image, choosing the right style can help add value and ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
What should you consider when choosing between colour or black and white?
And what should you bear in mind when you finally step into the studio?
What should I choose?
Easy to spot at first glance, one style involves the use of full colour and the other is taken in crisp black and white.
Making this choice can be daunting as you become ‘locked’ into a particular style that requires unique considerations from you and your photographer.
That makes deciding which one is better than the other highly important.
And when we say ‘better’, it is important to consider your end-user before you pull the trigger on one over the other.
Depending on how you intend to use the final image, you’ll definitely want to choose one over the other.
Colour headshots bring a degree of life and warmth to the image, letting you play with light and shade – creating an approachable and welcoming image.
Choosing to go monochrome strips back the playfulness of an image and presents a crisp, professional look.
In short, if you are aiming to present yourself as an individual and represent your unique brand, go with colour. However, if you are interested in appearing professional, business-like, or highlighting the services you can provide – black and white can be a fantastic choice.
With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that it’s relatively easy for photographers to provide both.
Any colour image can be manipulated into a quality black and white facsimile.
However if you’re looking for rich, fit-for-purpose black and white headshot, your provider will need to relight the studio.
What are some top tips for each?
Depending on what choice you make, there are a number of key considerations that you should bear in mind. Some of these include:
Black and white
Your palette: While you may not think about what colour you’re wearing, it’s arguably more important in a monochrome headshot. Choosing a dark or light colour can leave the image looking ‘washed out’ and produce the wrong reaction when viewed at first glance – with readers drawn to your outfit rather than your identity. Avoid stark whites and blacks as they can produce a clashing effect and – if in doubt – review your photographer’s portfolio to find a setup that complements your look and skin-tone.
Your background: The details really pop in a black and white image. This makes choosing the right background an essential consideration. While your photographer will work with you to find or suggest the right location, it’s important to match your look with the setting. Choosing a site full of colour can leave the image looking weak and desaturated. On the other hand, an enclosed or man-made space can really draw the eye and add a level of professionalism to the shoot.
Your expression: One of black and white’s greatest strengths is that the lack of colour draws the eye to the individual. This places increased emphasis on your look. By its nature, going monochrome makes things appear more serious and cultivating a neutral or relaxed expression can help you appear professional or help carry your brand. If in doubt, talk through your desired look with your photographer and they will be more than able to accommodate.
Preparation: The human eye is designed to spot differences in colour and contrast, affecting how your face is captured on the headshot. This means ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep, have a shave or trim in the morning, and – ideally – invest in a bit of on-site makeup care. Though this may feel a little maintenance heavy, it’s essential on important shoots or ones that will be used for your personal branding or representing you professionally.
Accessories: The use of colour can make the smallest accessory pop, with shining silver studs or heavy glasses drawing the eye on the image. While black and white is a little more forgiving here, it becomes essential to go as focused as possible when choosing any accessories. Remember that less is always more. An eye-catching pendant or piece of jewellery can quickly become a distraction so choose wisely.
Wardrobe: Picking the right outfit and colour scheme is incredibly important when it comes to a colour shoot. While the focus of an image is on your head and shoulders, colour still plays a part in setting the mood. As with your accessories, remember you can change outfits if necessary to find the right look for you. If in doubt, you can always consult your photographer who will help give you a range of options when it comes to finding the right ‘look’ for your final images. Ultimately, we would always recommend finding a few examples of both and reaching out to a provider. This will allow you to talk through your needs and organise a shoot that works for you.
If you want to learn more about finding the right image for your unique needs, the team at Just Headshots is here to help.
With many years’ experience providing professional headshots for clients from a range of backgrounds, we will work with you to find the composition that suits the look you want to achieve.
You can view our full range of services here or if you have unique needs or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us on 0800 304 7375 or message us through our contact page and let our team know exactly what you need to secure the right, representative image you need.