Used for a range of professional, personal, and creative reasons, headshots are essential for individuals the world over.

But with so many options available and a wide range choice on the market, it’s important to consider the elements that make up a session.

So, what can you expect and what are some of the points to discuss with potential providers?


What is headshot photography?

Simply put, a headshot is an image of your face that captures a front-facing portrayal of your head and shoulders.

They can be used for several personal or professional reasons, allowing you to consolidate your identity and make a sound first impression when it matters.

They are commonly used for online profiles, on websites or networking accounts.

A photography session for your headshot will involve planning with your photographer to establish why the it is being taken, what the client is looking for, and how best to achieve those goals.

That will commonly involve working with a high-quality camera and a selection of appropriate lights and equipment to capture the best, most representative image possible.

While many shoots are ‘cut and dried’, many providers allow for a range of setup options that make the image usable for a range of purposes such as being part of a performer’s portfolio or suitable images for a professional ‘About us page’.

These can play a part in establishing a personal brand or conforming to an image or identity that has already been crafted.

Choosing the right photographer can help add value to the process, allowing you to look your best and have a huge degree of control over the outcome.

That makes understanding the elements of taking a headshot essential, and failing to do so can leave you with a flat, standardised image that doesn’t do you justice.


Who needs a professional headshot?

While a professional headshot has several uses, chief among them is the ability to consolidate your identity and allow you to stand out in the online marketplace through physical promotional materials or attached to your industry profiles.

Typical examples include:

Online jobseekers: As sites like LinkedIn increase in prevalence, there is added importance to crafting a reliable online professional identity. Quality images can allow you to network more effectively, easily unify your social media accounts and let potential employers or peers put a face to your extensive skillset.

Professional workers: Those in high-powered professions or industry roles need to craft and sustain a reliable and trustworthy professional identity. This can include consultants, medical practitioners and lawyers. Securing a representative headshot allows clients to approach you with confidence and encourage engagement when they may otherwise hesitate.

Actors and performers: A headshot gives agents or casting bodies an idea of your physical appearance and if you have the appropriate ‘look’ for a part. Choosing the right photographer gives you control over a first impression on your CV or portfolio and ensures your skills and appearance align with the work you’re trying to secure.

Professional headshots and profile photographs for solicitors and accountants

How long does a headshot session take?

While it may be easy to reply: ‘How long is a piece of string?’, a photography session takes place within a set timeframe and has agreed goals to accomplish. As a guide, a scheduled photoshoot lasts between 30 minutes and an hour.

In part that is due to the amount of preparation required with the correct lighting, equipment and physical setup demanding attention to detail.

While it is possible to book a longer session for bespoke reasons, it will be segmented throughout the day to allow for multiple wardrobe changes, adjusting lighting and backdrops or reviewing pictures and ensuring full coverage.

If time is an issue, any reliable provider will be able to work around your schedule to ensure you get the attention you need. While it is possible to push for a shorter session, it’s advisable to rely on the know-how of your photographer who will be able to provide a considered estimate for how long it will take.


What should I wear?

When it comes to choosing the right clothes to wear for your session, it’s easy to find yourself at a loss.

If you are looking for a professional business headshot, a general rule of thumb is to wear the clothes that you go to work in each day.

While it may be tempting to ‘dress up’ for the occasion, that runs the risk of appearing stiff and inauthentic.

Find a middle ground for your look, and collaborate with your photographer to find a style that works.

If you are still struggling to find the right look, feel free to bring two or three outfits to the session.

That way you can try alternative headshots as required.

If you are still in doubt, we always recommend consulting your photographer to settle on the right ‘look’.

It’s also helpful to browse the internet to find example images your provider could match.

That can involve a specific background, lighting style or framing option.

headshots of men and women with corporate backgrounds, taken on location at the companies' premises in Cheshire

What is the size of a headshot?

When considering the ‘size’ of your image, it’s important to understand this means its dimensions and the configurations of the digital file you’re provided with.

For some people, ‘size’ refers to its physical profile.

As standard, headshots are normally provided as 8 by 10 inch photograph – (cropped to a square in social media) the standard measure for several professions throughout the UK.

While you can select other options, they risk making your image stand out for the wrong reasons.

Alternatively, and perhaps most importantly, ‘size’ can mean the pixel count of the final image.

A high-quality image can be manipulated or retouched as required, although a good photographer will make edits unnecessary.

An ideal count is 2400×3000 px, providing a great-looking headshot that can be used in a number of ways.

Many photographers offer a printing service, which gives you the flexibility to enjoy the image in any physical dimensions you want; attaching it to acting CV’s, use in a professional setting or deployed in any way you need.

While this is useful, it’s worth remembering digital print services are more affordable and user-friendly than previously when it comes to the dimensions of an image.


How much does it cost?

When it comes to costing a shoot, the range of options are often vast.

In the UK, you can expect to pay an average of £100-400 as an introductory going rate.

It’s always important to talk to your provider up front, fixing a price and understanding exactly what you will receive in return.

At a minimum, that should include clarity on studio time, the number of images provided, their quality, and identifying any detail specific to your brief.

At Just Headshots, we understand the importance of providing a competitive price without compromising on quality.

If budget is an issue, we are happy to work with you on a package that best meets your needs and unique requirements.

If this is of interest, you can arrange a free consultation today.

A member of our team will guide you through the consultancy process, letting you know what to expect from a session.

That also includes a full costing.


What next?

If you want to learn more about headshot photography, or are keen to arrange a session, the team at Just Headshots is here to help.

With comprehensive professional experience across a range of sectors and wealth of styles, we work with you to provide the right headshot for your needs.

We pride ourselves on working with our clients to get the results they’re after without any fuss or stress.

That involves validating what you are looking for, matching your brief, and adding value where it matters most.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our team directly and let us know exactly what you need.