Headshot photography is one area of photography that will be in demand throughout every year. All types of professionals require to display pictures of their headshots on their badges, company profiles, and websites like LinkedIn and many others. In this article, I will share the best tips you can use to master headshot photography. If you are a photographer looking to start a headshot photography business or if you want to improve your headshot images, then this article will be handy.

1. Composition is the Key

Headshot photographer portrait

Like any other photography genre, composition is the key to headshot photography also. Here, you will have a male/female person as the subject.

You can apply photography composition techniques like the rule of thirds, fill the frame, rule of golden spirals, keep it simple, etc. The choice is up to you.

One thing to keep in mind is that the subject should occupy more than 50 percent of the frame.

2. Chit Chat with your Model

The subject should not be under any kind of stress or tension during the shoot.

To get the best facial expression from your subject, you should make him/her comfortable. The best way to do it is through a friendly chit chat.

The natural expression works best for headshots than the artificial ones.

3. Importance of Dress code

Female headshot photography

Headshot photography can be a casual one or a formal one. It all depends on what is the end use of the image.

The dress code for headshot photography is different for these two styles. Corporate headshots will require a formal dress.

You can wear casual tops or t-shirts for casual headshots.

4. Simple Poses Works Great

You don’t have to make your subject do some great pose like in portrait or fashion photography.

The simple pose will work great for headshot images. It is because only your head and some part of your upper body will be there in the frame.

5. Choice of Camera

Headshot photography

It would be best if you use a DSLR/ Mirrorless cameras for headshot photography.

Full-frame cameras are recommended for professionals. High-end professional photographers also use medium format cameras.

Clients will be interested to know the camera gear that you use. So, it is better to use any of the best known camera models.

6. Choice of Lens & Focal Length

You can use any good portrait lens for headshots.

Most headshot photographers either go for the 50mm or 85mm prime lenses. You can even go for a short telephoto range lenses like the 70-200mm.

7. Lighting

Lighting plays a vital role in headshot photos. You can use natural light or artificial light.

You need to ensure that the soft light falls on the subject’s face without casting any ugly shadows.

I recommend using artificial lights like a flash or a continuous light with appropriate diffusers. It helps you capture images in the lowest possible ISO settings without any blur.

8. Retouch Images

male casual headshot photography

You will be using a DSLR/Mirrorless camera for the headshots. So, always capture the images in RAW format.

It allows you to retouch the images in your computer without losing details. You can apply all the necessary edits that are generally done for a portrait image.

9. Camera Settings for Headshot Photography

9.1 Camera Mode

I recommend using manual mode in your camera.

You can also go for the aperture mode if you are not comfortable with the manual mode.

9.2 Aperture

You can either go for the maximum aperture opening of the lens or use the sweet spot of the lens for the best results.

The shallow depth of field at maximum aperture helps to draw the viewer’s attention on the subject.

9.3 Shutter Speed

Try to use shutter speeds of 1/200 or faster to ensure that all the focused parts are crisp in the image.

9.4 ISO

Try to go with the base ISO values like 100 or 200.

It will ensure that there is no noise in the image. It also helps to operate the camera in its maximum dynamic range.

9.5 White Balance

You can set the white balance settings to Auto.

Even if the camera white balance fails, you can fix it later while editing since you are shooting in RAW.

10. Outdoor Vs Indoor

Female headshot photography

You can either do headshot photography indoor or outdoor.

If it is a formal shoot, then I recommend doing it indoor with a set background. Plain background colors like grey, white, and black works best for corporate headshots.

You can go for outdoor shoots for casual headshot photography. It can be done in the working environment of the person also.

11. Create a Portfolio of Images

Create a good online portfolio with some of your best headshots. It is your portfolio for headshot images that are going to draw new customers.

You can also register yourself on sites like the headshot photographer comparison site , Headshot Hunter to get more clients.

12. Pricing

If you are confused with setting the pricing for your headshot photography, you can research the prices quoted by other fellow photographers in your area.

You can set a price value, which is an average of all these values.


Now you know the best tips to improve your headshot photography and business. So, start capturing beautiful headshot images.