Please fill out the form below to schedule a Headshot Portfolio Session.
These sessions are being offered on a very limited basis.
Sessions take place at my residential studio in Plymouth, WI
What is a Headshot?
A headshot or head shot is a modern portrait where the focus is on the person. The term is usually applied for professional profile images on social media, the 'about us page' or a corporate website and promotional pictures of actors, models, and authors. They are typically very tight crops of a person’s head and shoulders only against a very plain and non-distracting backdrop.
What is the difference between a Headshot and a Portrait?
The main difference between a head shot and a portrait is that a headshot is basically a picture of a person's face only. Its purpose is to identify someone, to see what their face looks like. A portrait on the other hand is something more personal. A portrait is a likeness of a person to identify them, but it also tells you something about the person - or the personality of the person in the picture. They can be cropped as wide as a 3/4 body shot and will often have environmental elements in the backdrop.
3 Elements of a Killer Headshot
Most of our communication as human beings is non-verbal, and we make judgments about a person and their mood based on their expression in a couple of milliseconds without even realizing it. So when that expression is frozen in a photograph, you HAVE to make sure that it is sending exactly the message you want.
Considering that fact, there are three qualities that I think every headshot should convey. It should show the person looking confident, approachable, and interesting. Confidence in your headshot shows that you are credible. So if you look scared or uncertain, I'm not going believe that you have what it takes to get the job done. Being approachable in your headshot conveys that you have likability. People work with people, and if you look mean, no one will want to work with you. The last is that you want to look interesting. This is where your personality comes out, and makes you stand apart from everyone else with a generic cheap headshot.
How to achieve all these in your headshot? It just so happens that all of them are controlled by your expression. It is also interesting that there are only three things on your face that you can move to change your expression! Those are your mouth, eyes, and eyebrows. Moving these three facial features in different ways together completely changes the personality you convey in your headshot, and what you want to communicate through it.
Confidence comes from your eyes. Opening your eyes really wide, while it does show off the color, actually is not a good look for photos. In fact, this is referred to as the 'deer in headlights' look. Instinctively you open your eyes really wide when you are scared in order to take in as much of your surroundings as possible, so you can see any predators! But by slightly squinching your lower eyelids, you tighten the muscles, and that give the impression of increased confidence.
Approach-ability comes from the mouth. The bigger and more genuine the smile you have, the more approachable you are perceived. If you have no mouth expression, you have what is known as 'resting b**** face'--definitely not approachable. At the very least you must always have a slight smirk to convey that you aren't going to kick someone's butt. So depending on the personality you want to convey, this will help you decide how much smile you should have.
Lastly, you have your eyebrows which convey intention, emotion, and personality. Eyebrows are the biggest factor for changing expression, and it is the most overlooked thing in headshots. By engaging your brows, you will automatically stand out more than everyone else. Downward brow pressure towards the eyes can convey concern or intensity. Raising one eyebrow and lowering the other can look slightly sassy. Raising both can be surprised. You get the point. There are lots of different ways to move them, and combined with various eye and mouth movements, expressions can go exponential.
Whatever photogenic may mean to you, here’s my definition: when your self-confidence outweighs your insecurities. So think: when you are being yourself, and not worried about what you look like is when you are most attractive. Add a photographer who understands your best angles, and you see what I mean by a killer headshot. I think anyone can look incredible in pictures. It just takes an expert photographer who can get people to relax, laugh enough to capture real expressions, and be competent to coach them into something interesting and engaging.
Thank you, Dan Maki - Mandaki Photo LLC