Female headshots. Are they different to male headshots?

Are they meant to do a different job? Yes, they are different but they are supposed to do the same job.

Many women feel more comfortable working with a photographer who has long standing experience in photographing female headshots. We’re all concerned about how we look in photographs and, let’s be honest, most of us don’t like being photographed. Working with a headshot photographer who will guide you through the process, set by step is reassuring and helps you enjoy the session and that comes out in the photographs.

Some of us would even prefer a visit to the dentist than have our photographs taken. We worry about chins, bits that sag when they never used to and lines that seem to appear from nowhere.

But what’s the point of a headshot? Whether it’s a male or female headshot the objective is the same.

White background headshot of womanIn business, that headshot must say ‘I can deliver’

The headshot needs to engage with the audience. It must make people want to find out more about you. It needs to encourage them to connect with you, to get to know you and to want to trust you with their business.

But that’s the first stage. Once a business relationship is established then it needs to be maintained. That headshot then needs to be an ongoing reminder of your values, your professionalism, your empathy and your value as a partner in a business relationship.

We all know the sayings about first impressions. Yes, you can only make them once. But did you know that it takes around six to eight months to change someone’s initial impression of us? If a relationship sets off on the wrong foot it will either crash on the rocks or it will take a long time and a lot of effort to correct it. But what if you can’t correct it? That’s a lost opportunity.

So why do some people cut corners with their headshots?

Some people don’t understand the power of headshots and of personal branding. Sometimes when we’re new to a social platform we feel obliged to fill everything in to get ourselves on there without necessarily knowing how important that content is or how to make best use of it.

If we don’t know how that headshot should look or the job it must do it’s easy to choose the wrong photo. Examples of bad headshots include not looking at the camera, being so small in the picture that your face isn’t visible, more than one person in the picture, wearing the wrong clothing like beachwear or sportswear unless it’s relevant to your job, pictures of your kids, pets, or your favourite beach. A classic howler is wearing a party frock and holding a glass of champagne. Giving people the impression that you’re a party animal isn’t a great idea on a business social channel like LinkedIn. If the dress is off the shoulder and the dress is cropped out, it may look like the person is naked!

People who understand the power of a headshot, understand the benefits of investing in a specialist headshot photographer. Going to just any commercial photographer won’t get you the results you need.

You need a photographer who specialises in photographing people and in taking headshots. A specialist headshot photographer will understand how to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera and will be able to draw out that confidence which make your headshots stand out against your competitors.

Male and female headshots are different from each other because men and women react differently to being photographed. An experienced headshot photographer will understand this and will adjust sessions accordingly.

To Photoshop or not to Photoshop? That is the question

One thing virtually every client asks is ‘can you airbrush me?’ We’re asked this more often than ‘is that lens reinforced? I wouldn’t want to break it.’ Self-deprecation is a particularly British thing. You know, get the insults in first before anyone else does. So some people do this to invite a compliment or to start a conversation?

We all have bits of us that we don’t like that stand out to us in every photo we see of us. Yet when we look at other people’s photos we see the whole person and tend not to look closely at those details we would home in on when looking at our photographs.

Should we change the way we look in photos? It depends on the purpose of the photo. If it’s a piece of art, then it’s OK. Artistic interpretation is fine. But in my opinion and that of many photographers, it’s not OK to change the way people look in headshots. It would be misleading and misrepresents the person in the photograph. In a more and more online world, where people meet less frequently, and deal with other by email, by video link and through web portals, our headshot is the one opportunity to make sure that we create the right first impression, where the lighting is right and we are putting our best selves forward.

I think it’s OK to retouch spots and maybe soften laughter lines a little as these can be exaggerated by studio lighting but I think body shaping is a bad idea. People need to be able to recognise you from your headshots.

What celebs say about airbrushing

I think Jameela Jamil’s attitude towards airbrushing and retouching is really refreshing and interesting. Airbrushing has been mainstream in celeb culture for years and it’s good to see people taking a stand against it. This article in Insider magazine shows eighteen female celebs who have taken a stand against airbrushing. It’s an interesting read.

Dark background headshot of womanSo, what’s the best way to get the ideal female headshot?

It comes down to two things. Firstly, choosing a headshot photographer who is very experienced in shooting female headshots. The second is all about preparing for your headshots session. Decide what style of headshot you want, think about what to wear, about hair and makeup as these all form part of creating our personal brand image. From the very start talk to your photographer about your business and your personal brand values and most importantly your target audience. A great headshot photographer will know what questions to ask you and will understand your goals and how to translate them into the perfect headshot for you and your business.

Get in touch

We love to listen, and can’t wait to talk to you about your headshots.
If you have any questions, or simply want to find out more about how can help you, then call 0800 304 7375.
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