The best headshots accomplish one key goal; highlighting the subject’s face in a natural setting.
Natural-looking headshots allow people to get a glimpse of your personality before they meet you, and with the right expression and pose, you can convey the right message.
Three key elements combine to make a headshot appear as natural as possible; lighting, makeup and posture.
Lighting is one of the most important elements in creating a natural-looking headshot.
Natural light is the preference for every photographer because it creates the perfect setting in achieving a well-lit headshot (provided the subject is not stood in direct sunlight).
However, on occasions when the weather will not accommodate as much, or you desire a more ‘polished’ aesthetic, a photographer will create their own well-lit set up within a spacious indoor area – most likely with a simple background that allows the light to focus on the subject.
Makeup can look different in real life to how it does when photographed, and poorly-applied or brightly coloured makeup will be highlighted in a headshot.
When choosing makeup for a natural headshot, try to apply neutral tones that complement your skin tone and highlight your eye colour.
A headshot should be reflective of who you truly are, and using minimal, flattering makeup can help to achieve this.
Less is always more in natural headshots, which is why consulting your photographer ahead of time on makeup choices you are unsure of is always advisable.
This mantra equally applies to any clothing and accessory choices because too many colours and elaborate elements in a photograph can detract from where the focus ought to be.
Plain, neutral coloured clothing that has minimal texture and patterns is ideal for creating a successful headshot.
Colours that complement your eyes, or skin tone, are more likely to achieve a natural-looking headshot.
Even with the best photographer, lighting and makeup, if you do not know how best to pose or create the right facial expression, you’ll struggle to produce a natural headshot.
Ensuring you are at eye level with the camera, have a relaxed expression and natural posture is key to a headshot that reflects who you are.
Forcing a smile, or standing in an abnormal position, will be immediately obvious and could potentially portray you in an unflattering and disingenuous light.
If you are struggling to smile naturally, try thinking of a pleasant memory or something that always makes you laugh.
Naturally your face will relax and make your eyes appear brighter to create a more approachable and friendly look.