The ultimate goal of professional headshot photography is to build an excellent first impression and convey credibility to the intended audience.
But how do you achieve a perfect headshot? No worries, even if you don’t have much experience in headshot photography.
We will provide you with numerous professional headshot examples and the best tips for your next headshot photography session. Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or photographer, this article will help you out.
So, without further ado, let’s begin:
Importance of professional headshots
A professional headshot serves as the first impression that potential clients, employers, or colleagues have of you. It’s a game-changer that can open up doors of opportunities regardless of the industry you are in.
Here are some quick stats that show its importance:
- 54% of recruiters have eliminated a job applicant based on the negative online content associated with them.
- Social media is used by 75% of B2B buyers to evaluate and source vendors.
- Professional headshots boost viewers’ perception of competence, influence, and likeability by 76%, 62%, and 9%, respectively.
So, a poorly executed selfie or an outdated photo taken years ago simply won’t cut it anymore. Having a professional headshot showcases your professionalism, credibility, and attention to detail.
It tells people that you’re serious about your personal brand and want to put your best foot forward. No matter if you are an entrepreneur, a job seeker, or an executive looking to enhance your online presence, a well-crafted headshot will set you apart from the crowd.
Professional headshots not only make you appear more approachable but also help establish trust with your audience.
What’s a good headshot?
You might want to know how you will know if your headshot is good or bad to judge the quality of your headshot image.
Here are a few signs and some professional headshot examples to make it easy to understand if a headshot is professional and appropriate to use:
- Free from distraction
- Clear and sharp
- Appropriate facial expression
- Formal and modest attire
- Simple background color
- Confident pose
- Good lighting
- No excessive shadows
- Properly groomed
- Free from unusual angles
Preparation tips for professional headshot photography
Before diving into the world of headshot photography, it is important to plan ahead, understand the requirements, and have a clear idea of what constitutes a good professional headshot.
Take a moment to think about where you’ll be conducting your headshot sessions. Will it be in a rented studio, utilizing your own studio setup if you’re a photographer, or perhaps outdoors?
Consider what kind of photography ideas or lighting setup you will implement and if you are willing to opt for image post-processing methods.
If you feel that you’d rather not invest your time in collecting and setting up photography equipment, it may be worth considering the option of hiring a professional photographer.
In that case, It’s a smart move to get familiar with how much professional headshot photography services cost. Getting ready is half the battle for a successful headshot session.
Here are some suggestions to assist you in making the most of your session:
1. Define your goals
Before you head into the shoot, make sure you’ve got a solid idea of what you’re aiming for with your headshots. Think about who your audience is, what your industry is, and how you want to present yourself.
Have a conversation with your photographer about what you’re after so that both of you are on the same wavelength.
2. Wardrobe selection
Choosing clothing that reflects your personal brand and suits the purpose of your headshots is essential. Let’s keep things simple! Complex patterns or logos might steal the spotlight from your face.
So, ensure that nothing takes that away. It’s a smart move to go for solid colors or simple patterns that really make your skin tone pop and highlight your features.
3. Hair and grooming
Ensure your hair is styled in a way that represents your everyday appearance. If you’re thinking about a major hair or beard makeover, get it done a few days before the shoot so it has time to look natural.
Don’t forget the little things like keeping your nails clean and well-manicured to ensure a professional look.
4. Rest and hydration
To ensure you look your absolute best for the session, put a good night’s sleep at the top of your to-do list. This will help ward off any signs of tiredness and fatigue.
Moreover, don’t forget to hydrate generously in the days preceding the shoot.
This simple yet effective step will keep your skin radiant and fresh, making you camera-ready!
5. Practice posing and expressions
Spend some time in front of a mirror, experimenting with various poses and expressions that instill a sense of comfort and confidence within you.
This approach will help you relax your nerves during the session, enabling you to express your emotions with ease and authenticity.
35 professional headshot examples for your next photoshoot
Before you embark on your headshot photography session, it is a good idea to get inspired by various professional headshot examples.
It will give you a clear idea of what kind of professional headshot you want to capture that matches your personality and conveys something about your industry.
1. Headshot example with a clean and simple composition
A simple and clean composition in a headshot can make a strong positive impression. Taking away distractions will allow the viewer to focus on your face.
Here is a headshot example for capturing a photo with a clean and simple composition:
- Opt for a neutral or solid-colored backdrop to avoid any distractions.
- Make sure the lighting is even and highlights your features without casting any harsh shadows.
- Keep the focus on your face by minimizing any props or accessories.
2. Angled portrait headshot example
Angling your face or body a little bit can add a contemporary touch to your headshot; if you want to convey a fresh, modern, and dynamic look, this professional headshot example is for you.
- Tilt your head slightly or position your body at an angle. Play around with different angles until you find the one that suits you best.
- Find the right lighting setup that enhances the angles and contours of your face. You can use side lighting to add depth and dimension to your headshot.
- Make sure your facial expression exudes self-assurance.
3. Crossed-arm headshot example
A headshot with crossed arms can give off a vibe of being both professional and friendly. This professional headshot example is the right one for you if you want to convey confidence and authority while still appearing welcoming.
- Cross your arms in a relaxed and natural way, avoiding any stiffness or tension.
- Stand or sit up straight to project confidence and professionalism.
- Smile subtly, but avoid overdoing it. A slight, genuine smile can soften the crossed-arm pose and make you appear more approachable.
4. Bringing motion in the headshot
Adding a sense of movement can really make your headshot stand out. It’s an excellent way to grab eyeballs and make a memorable visual statement.
Take a look at this headshot example:
- Experiment with hair movement. Let your hair flow naturally or create controlled movement by gently tossing or flipping it.
- Try capturing a moment where you’re in the midst of a natural gesture or expression.
- Incorporate props or accessories that imply motion.
5. Neutral facial expression for headshot
It’s easier to adapt and be versatile if your headshot has a neutral facial expression. This lets employers or clients see who you are and how you fit into different roles.
Here’s a neutral-face headshot example:
- Relax your facial muscles. Avoid tension in your face by consciously relaxing your facial muscles.
- Maintain steady eye contact with the camera to establish a connection with the viewer.
- Aim for a balanced expression that doesn’t lean too far in any particular direction.
6. Headshot example with a genuine and warm smile
It takes only a few seconds for a headshot with a genuine smile to make a positive and approachable impression. This shows friendliness and invites connection.
Here is a professional example with a smiling face:
- Before the photoshoot, focus on positive experiences or memories that bring a genuine smile to your face.
- Allow your smile to reach your eyes by consciously relaxing your facial muscles.
- Practice smiling naturally. Experiment with different intensities in front of a mirror and find the one that feels most genuine to you.
7. Incorporating eyeglasses in headshot
Eyeglasses can be a great way to show off your style or professional demeanor in your headshot. If you wear glasses regularly, it’s a good idea to keep them on for your photoshoot.
This is a good headshot example:
- Ensure your eyeglasses are clean and free from smudges or fingerprints.
- Position yourself in a way that minimizes glare or reflections on your glasses.
- If you have stylish or unique frames, make sure they are visible in the headshot.
8. Standing with hands at hips
A standing pose headshot with hands resting on the hips can effectively communicate an air of confidence, authority, and a commanding presence.
This posture radiates an aura of preparedness and is particularly fitting for individuals in professional or leadership positions.
Get inspired by this professional headshot example:
- Maintain good posture by standing tall with your shoulders back and your spine aligned.
- Let your arms rest comfortably at your sides and then bring them to your hips with a relaxed and natural motion.
- Engage your facial expression and gaze to convey confidence and approachability.
9. Confident hand gestures headshot example
Incorporating confident hand gestures into your headshot can add a dynamic element and showcase your personality. It can convey passion, enthusiasm, and engagement.
The following is an example of a headshot with confident hand gestures:
- Select a confident hand gesture that aligns with your personal brand or the message you want to convey. Practice them beforehand to ensure they appear natural and confident.
- Avoid overly exaggerated or distracting hand movements.
- Ensure that your hand movements complement and enhance your facial expression rather than drawing attention away from it.
10. Capturing the elegance of speaking
It’s easy to convey charisma, eloquence, and the ability to communicate effectively with a headshot that captures the elegance of speaking.
Below is an example of a professional headshot that conveys it:
- Look directly into the camera with a focused and confident gaze. Imagine yourself addressing a captivated audience.
- Slightly part your lips as if you were in the midst of delivering a captivating speech.
- Stand or sit up straight with your shoulders back to project a commanding presence.
11. Sitting behind an office desk
A portrait captured while seated behind an office desk can subtly communicate a sense of professionalism, authority, and expertise. Moreover, it creates a visual connection to a work environment.
Here is a corporate headshot example while sitting behind an office desk:
- Ensure that the desk is clean and well-organized, as clutter can be distracting.
- Place relevant items, such as a laptop or a notebook, to create a realistic office setting.
- Sit up straight with your back against the chair. Avoid slouching or leaning too far back.
12. Outdoor headshot example
An outdoor headshot offers a refreshing and natural look, bringing the beauty of nature as its canvas. It can spark a feeling of possibility, liveliness, and adaptability.
Here is a woman’s headshot example in an outdoor location:
- Select an outdoor location. It could be a park, a city street, or any scenic spot that matches your style.
- Take advantage of natural light by scheduling your photoshoot during the golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset).
- Position yourself in front of interesting backdrops like trees, buildings, or colorful walls.
13. Standing sideways headshot example
Photographing a headshot from a side perspective can result in an impressive image. This adds a touch of creativity and catches the attention of the viewer.
Take a look at this headshot example:
- Try different angles and positions to see what looks best.
- Determine which side of your face you prefer to highlight and angle it towards the camera.
- Use your body language to enhance the sideways pose. Try crossing one leg over the other or placing your hands in a relaxed yet confident position.
14. Headshot example with a unique background
If you are not a fan of conventional headshots, you can make your headshot stand out by using a unique backdrop. You can use it to enhance the personality and individuality of your headshot.
Check out this example of a creative headshot:
- Look for unconventional settings. Seek out interesting and unconventional locations to find unique backgrounds for your headshot.
- Choose a background that complements your features and attire. Look for textures, patterns, or colors that harmonize with your overall look.
- Ensure that the unique background doesn’t overpower your face.
15. Sitting on a chair or sofa
Sitting on a chair or sofa in a headshot can create a relaxed and approachable appearance. It brings an air of comfort and connectivity into the image.
Have a look at this professional headshot example:
- Select a chair or sofa that allows you to sit comfortably and maintain good posture. Avoid furniture that is too bulky or visually overpowering.
- Cross your legs or position your arms. Try different sitting positions to find the one that feels natural and relaxed.
- Pay attention to the background. Consider using a plain backdrop or a setting that doesn’t take focus away from your face.
16. Indoor corporate headshot example
An indoor corporate headshot is a classic choice for corporate professionals looking to project a business-oriented persona. This type of photography shows professionalism and is frequently utilized for corporate profiles, company websites, and professional portfolios.
Here is an example of a corporate headshot:
- Choose a clean and simple background, such as a solid-colored wall or a backdrop specifically designed for professional headshots.
- Select attire that aligns with your industry and the image you want to project. Generally, business attire, such as a suit or a tailored blouse, is recommended for corporate headshots.
- Pay attention to grooming and ensure a well-kept appearance.
- Project confidence through your facial expression and body language. Maintain good posture, make eye contact with the camera, and radiate professionalism.
17. LinkedIn headshot example
Your LinkedIn headshot should represent your personal brand in a compelling way and be specifically tailored for the professional networking platform.
Ensure that it demonstrates professionalism, approachability, and expertise.
The following is a LinkedIn headshot example:
- Wear a genuine smile that reflects your personality and makes you appear approachable to potential connections.
- Dress appropriately for your industry. Consider the industry or field you are in and dress accordingly.
- Ensure that the headshot is well-framed, with your face as the main focus. Use a neutral background that doesn’t distract from your image.
- Make sure the photo is clear, well-lit, and of professional quality to enhance your credibility on LinkedIn.
18. Professional studio headshot example
A professional studio headshot is a versatile option that can be used across various platforms, including websites, marketing materials, or professional profiles. It offers a clean and sophisticated look, highlighting your professionalism and expertise.
Here is a professional studio headshot example:
- Choose a reputable photographer who specializes in headshots and has experience capturing professional images.
- Professional studio lighting can help create a flattering and even illumination on your face.
- Maintain good posture and exude confidence in your pose.
- Try different studio photoshoot ideas that suit your style.
19. Personal branding headshot example
A personal branding headshot is so much more than just a regular headshot! It’s all about capturing and showcasing your unique personality, values, and brand.
Regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur, an influencer, or an individual aiming to establish a unique personal brand.
This headshot example is for you to get inspired:
- Consider the key elements of your personal brand, such as your values, style, or industry, and incorporate them into your headshot.
- Be true to yourself and let your personality shine through. Capture a headshot that reflects your genuine self. Avoid trying to mimic someone else’s style or image.
- Think about your target audience and what image or message you want to convey to them. Tailor your personal branding headshot accordingly.
20. Creative professional headshot example
Taking a creative professional headshot is an excellent way to express your unique style, creativity, and personality. For artists or innovators, it can be particularly suitable.
Take a look at this creative professional headshot example:
- Choose a distinctive backdrop or setting that reflects your creativity. It could be an art studio, a colorful wall, or a location that complements your creative profession.
- Incorporate artistic elements. Add artistic props or accessories that represent your field or interests.
- Be open to unconventional compositions and angles that capture your creative spirit.
21. Classic and timeless headshot example
Opting for a classic and timeless headshot is a preferred choice for professionals aiming to project an aura of sophistication and lasting endurance. This style transcends temporary fads, ensuring its relevance remains untouched as time marches on.
Have a look at this timeless man headshot example:
- Choose a clean and neutral background. This type of backdrop works well to maintain the focus on you.
- Select attire that is timeless. Classic pieces like a well-tailored suit or a simple, elegant dress will ensure your headshot stands the test of time.
- Keep the composition clean and straightforward. Avoid overly elaborate poses or props that may date the image.
22. Headshot example with a blurred office background
A professionally taken headshot, masterfully contrasted against a blurred office setting, can radiate an atmosphere of elegance and communicate your attention to detail.
Here is an example of a headshot with a blurred office background:
- Set your camera to a wide aperture (low f-number) to achieve a shallow depth of field. This will blur the background while keeping you in sharp focus.
- Position yourself a few feet in front of the office background to create separation and enhance the blurring effect.
- Adopt a confident and professional pose that conveys your expertise and aligns with your industry.
23. Headshot with a confident and approachable expression
A headshot exuding both confidence and approachability can indeed create a lasting impact. If you’re aiming to create a headshot that communicates both professionalism and warmth, then this example is ideal for you:
- Start by taking a deep breath and consciously relaxing your facial muscles.
- Make eye contact with the camera lens as if you are connecting with the viewer.
- Smile naturally and genuinely, allowing your confidence and warmth to radiate. A sincere smile can make you more relatable and inviting in your headshot.
24. Headshot with a power pose
A comprehensive meta-study conducted by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, which examined 55 studies related to power poses, discovered substantial evidence supporting their ability to enhance mood, attitudes, and self-perception.
Incorporating a power pose into your headshot can effectively communicate these positive aspects. This strategy is especially beneficial for individuals in leadership positions or those aiming to project an image of strength and authority.
Here is a headshot example with a power pose:
- Stand tall and straight: Maintain a strong and upright posture to project confidence. Keep your shoulders back and your chin slightly lifted, creating a sense of authority.
- Position your arms and hands in a way that conveys power and control. Consider placing your hands on your hips or gesturing with purpose.
- Maintain a focused expression: Look directly at the camera with a determined and focused expression. This will reinforce your commanding presence and leave a lasting impact.
25. Headshot with a subtle hint of branding
A headshot subtly infused with branding elements is a brilliant way to embody your personal brand or industry. It adds an exclusive touch, enabling viewers to associate effortlessly with your professional persona.
Below is an example of a professional headshot that conveys it:
- Select clothing or accessories that subtly reflect your personal brand or industry. For example, if you’re in the tech industry, you might wear a stylish pair of glasses or incorporate a small tech-related prop.
- Integrate colors that are associated with your brand or industry into your attire or the background.
- Select a background that suits your personal brand or industry while keeping the focus on your face. This could involve incorporating a subtle pattern, texture, or a hint of your work environment.
26. Headshot with a confident gaze
To capture a headshot that exudes confidence, it’s beneficial to be in a self-assured state of mind. However, if you find yourself lacking in confidence, remember the old adage – ‘fake it till you make it.’
Here is a professional headshot example for you:
- The eyes are the windows to the soul. Strive to maintain a strong and direct gaze towards the camera to project confidence and conviction.
- Avoid any tension or strain in your eyes and face that might come across as forced or unnatural.
- Confidence can be expressed in various ways. Try different expressions, from a subtle smolder to a subtle smirk, to find the right one for you.
27. Headshot with a solid-colored backdrop
If you’re not really into experimenting with various professional portrait styles, go for a headshot with a solid-colored backdrop. It gives off a neat and professional vibe without any distractions.
Take a look at this professional female headshot example:
- Choose a neutral-colored backdrop such as white, gray, or black if you prefer a simple background.
- Choose a backdrop color that suits your industry.
- Make sure the lighting is even and doesn’t create unwanted shadows or highlights.
28. Headshot with a slight tilt of the head
For a lively and interesting photo, capture a headshot with a slight tilt of the head. This approach will add a touch of intrigue and personality to your portrait.
This is a good headshot example with a slight tilt of the head:
- Try different head angles to find the one that highlights your best features. A slight tilt can accentuate your jawline, cheekbones, or the curve of your neck.
- Straighten your spine, relax your shoulders, and keep your chin slightly lifted to avoid a slouching appearance.
- A slight tilt of the head can exude confidence and a sense of approachability. Combine it with a confident smile or gaze to create a stunning headshot.
29. Headshot with props
Incorporating props into your headshot photographs can infuse them with creativity and uniqueness. Use them to express your interests, showcase your profession, or reflect your personality.
Here is an example of a headshot with props:
- Select props that are relevant to your profession, hobbies, or personal brand. For example, a chef might hold a whisk, or a photographer might include a camera as a prop.
- Integrate the props in a way that feels natural and doesn’t overpower the composition.
- Remember that the primary focus of the headshot should still be your face.
30. Headshot with creative lighting
You can use creative lighting to create a variety of looks that will add a unique touch to your headshot. This type of lighting can also help to draw attention to certain features of your face, such as your eyes or cheekbones, making them appear more vibrant.
Take a look at this example:
- Play around with different lighting setups, such as side lighting, Rembrandt lighting, or dramatic backlighting.
- Incorporate lighting modifiers like diffusers or reflectors to control the intensity and direction of light.
- For a more artistic touch, experiment with colored gels or spotlights to create a visually striking headshot.
31. Headshot with a textured backdrop
Want your headshot to pop and grab attention? Try using a textured backdrop. Especially if you’re in the creative field, this example of a unique headshot is for you:
- Select a backdrop with an interesting texture, such as a brick wall, a weathered wooden surface, or a patterned fabric.
- Ensure that the lighting highlights the texture without creating harsh shadows or overexposure.
- Make sure the texture doesn’t overwhelm or distract from your facial features.
- Experiment with the distance between yourself and the backdrop to find the right balance.
32. Environmental headshot
An environmental headshot beautifully portrays you within a backdrop that mirrors your profession, passions, or character. It enriches the narrative by adding context and conveys a story that extends beyond just your facial features.
Here is a great example of an environmental headshot:
- Choose a relevant location. For example, if you’re a writer, you might choose a cozy library or a coffee shop with books in the background.
- Incorporate elements of the environment. For instance, a chef might be captured in a kitchen with cooking utensils or ingredients around them.
- While the environment is important, your expression and engagement with the camera should still be the primary focus.
33. Headshot with dynamic hair movement
For women with long hair, incorporating dynamic hair movement in your headshot can bring a vibrant and lively touch to your overall look.
Take a glance at this example:
- Create movement with your hair by tossing it gently, running your fingers through it, or simply allowing a natural breeze to create movement.
- Coordinate the movement of your hair with your expression. For example, a slight tilt of the head combined with hair flowing to one side can create a sense of elegance and grace.
- Ensure that the lighting and framing highlight the movement of your hair. Use lighting techniques like backlighting or side lighting to add depth and dimension to your hair.
34. Headshot with a reflective surface
A headshot featuring a reflective surface introduces a unique and artistic dimension to the image. It creates a striking visual impression by integrating reflections and manipulating light.
The following is an example of a headshot with a reflective surface:
- Look for surfaces like mirrors, glass windows, or shiny metallic objects that can create interesting reflections. Consider how the reflective surface will interact with the lighting and composition of your headshot.
- Experiment with positioning yourself at an angle to the reflective surface or adjusting the position of the light source to create interesting reflections on your face.
- Use the reflective surface as a compositional element to add visual interest to your headshot.
35. Headshot while working
A headshot taken during work can effectively highlight your professional prowess, expertise, or enthusiasm for action. This approach lends a sense of dynamism and authenticity to the image, making it engaging and relatable.
- Select a work environment that is relevant to your profession or reflects your expertise. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you might be captured working at your design desk with creative tools around you.
- Aim to capture genuine moments of you engaged in your work.
- Ensure that the focus remains on your face and expression, even amidst the working environment.
- Use composition techniques like depth of field or framing to guide the viewer’s attention to your face.
Throughout this article, we have provided numerous professional headshot examples along with practical tips. We encourage you to explore these headshot examples and identify the one that best suits your upcoming photography session.
Your professional headshot can make a lasting first impression on your target audience and communicate professionalism and personality.
So, Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Follow the tips discussed above and let your true self shine through in the photo.