Examples of good and bad headshots

We’ve all heard the phrase: ‘You get what you pay for’, and for good reason.

When you want a headshot, whether it is for your website, marketing materials, LinkedIn or anything in between, it is tempting to choose the cheapest option.

It’s easy to slip into the mindset of: ‘How hard can it be to take a photo?’, but until you’ve had a bad headshot, you wont realise the value of paying the right price.

A photo is no longer simply that, particularly when it comes to creating a first impression in business, and the consequences of cutting costs for your headshot can be damaging.

Poor quality

The first red flag you will notice with a cheap headshot is the quality.

An experienced and knowledgeable photographer will know their worth, and would never charge such a low price when they know they can produce first-class results using high-quality equipment.

Often, low-cost photography is an instant indicator of an amateur photographer who can only produce substandard headshots that you could take yourself on a phone with a decent camera. Cheap headshots look as much, and risk making you look unprofessional by demonstrating how little importance you attach to how the world perceives you.

Reflection on glasses

One of the other red flags any experienced photographer can point out to you in a cheap headshot is a reflection on your glasses.

If your headshot has a reflection of the photographer, the studio lighting or glare from the sun, it instantly ruins what could have been a successful photo.

The focus of a headshot is the person, specifically their face, and if you can see the photographer reflected in their glasses it will immediately detract from the individual.

Equally, as Shakespeare once postulated ‘the eyes are the windows to the soul’, and if glare from the sun or a ring light is visible in the subject’s glasses, their eyes will be completely hidden from view, ruining the shot.

Bad lighting

Poor lighting is a sure-fire way to ruin any photo, and cheap headshots are notorious for neglecting this crucial element.

If a photographer is charging substantially less than the industry standard, it is unlikely that they will have invested in a professional lighting setup to create a well-lit and captivating headshot that highlights a subject’s face.

When you pay for quality headshots, it will mean that your photographer has extensive knowledge and experience of how best to manage and manipulate lighting conditions – whether that be outdoors or an indoor setup to capture you, quite literally, in the best light.

Having to pay more to have them retaken

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. Everyone loves a bargain, and it is always tempting to choose the cheaper option when it comes to headshots.

However, it will almost always cost you more money in the long term.

Cheap headshots wont provide you with the longevity of a quality headshot that exudes professionalism and personalisation that can last years without requiring updating.

Ultimately, paying for cheap headshots in the short term may save you some money but it wont be long before they need updating to more accurately reflect your values and personality in a more professional and modern headshot.

The only way to avoid this is to understand that you are paying not only for an amazing, captivating and personal headshot but also for the skills, experience, time and talent of the photographer – qualities you cannot put a price on.

Lack of editing and touch ups

A good headshot isn’t just a click of a button, it takes a range of elements to perfectly combine and this includes the editing process.

Any good photographer will tell you that once a headshot is taken it’s only a job half done as they will need time to begin the editing process.

They may have taken the ideal headshot with the right lighting, expression and posture, but it can always be improved post shoot.

Paying for a cheap headshot will never guarantee you attention to detail such as touching up any blemishes, correcting lighting, exposure and creating a finished product that is in keeping with who you are and what message you a looking to send.


Cheap headshots can create the wrong first impression in any industry, which is why paying for the job to be done right the first time is worth every penny.

At Just Headshots, we endeavour to create natural headshots for individuals, SMEs, corporate and large enterprises as well as the government and public sectors.

Get in touch today on 0800 304 7375 or 07989 471926 to discuss how we can create your perfect headshot.