How to nail your headshot for PR
Photos are such an essential part of your media toolkit. I’ve been sharing a few tips about how and why you need decent press shots. So it was serendipitous when Sara Dalrymple asked if I’d like a guest post from her. Read her Top 5 actionable tips below. Any questions for me or Sara? Ask in the comment below.
1. Create genuine laughter and smiles
This is a big one - your headshot is the first chance your clients get to see and connect with you - the person behind the brand. In order for clients you haven’t even met yet to want to pick up the phone and work with you, your smiley headshot does so much work for you in terms of giving off warmth and approachability and showing what a bloody good egg you are! These smiles need to be genuine, rather than staged, so it’s crucial to work with a photographer who you get on really well with and can have a laugh with, as if you feel happy around your photographer, your warmth will shine through effortlessly. Absolutely no stuffy, staged or awkward posing allowed.
2. Pick personally
Get the right photographer for YOU! Before you start looking for a photographer, have a think about how you are in front of a camera and the kinds of photos you want to capture. For example, if you know you feel shy and awkward around a camera, it’s definitely worth making sure you find someone who specializes in relaxing you and putting people at ease. When it comes to style, every photographer has their own individual way of shooting, so it’s important to find out whether what they specialise in matches what you’re looking for. Obviously you need to love their style (as above) and the photos they capture, but it's also really important that your photographer is someone you could and would be friends with.
3. Mix it up
Ensure you have a mixture of photos of you looking at the camera and also more candid shots of you. Eye contact is key when it comes to fostering connection and building trust, but your clients also want to see you in action, whether that’s at work, walking in your local area or just having a coffee, it all helps to tell the story of your brand.
4. Align your photos to your brand
If you’re a bright and colourful person, make sure your headshots aren’t taken in a neutral colour palette, for example. Your photos are there to represent you and your brand until you can do so in person, so show up for your photoshoot wearing pops of colour in your brand colours, and an outfit that you might wear if you were meeting clients, as these details all help build strong brand identity and gives an overall impression professionalism and consistency. Wear something you feel comfortable but amazing in, as the number one aim for your photo session is for you to look like YOU. For some people this might mean trainers and denim jackets, for others, a smart dress and jacket – the key is to keep it real.
Having your headshots taken should NOT make you feel nervous: it’s for the photographer to work out how to get the best out of you and find all the beautiful light, so turn up with your shoulders down and your head held high and don’t worry about a thing.
Sara Dalrymple is a London-based headshot and personal branding photographer for female-led creative brands. She specialises in putting people absolutely at ease to create fun, personality filled headshots that are all about YOU feeling your very best - the kind of shot that is going to get you seen by your kind of people.