Tips for Shooting Headshots and Social Networking Portraits

If you’re a professional, your social media photo should really tell viewers about you and represent who you are. At least, that’s what your clients are aiming for when they come to you for shoots. Here are some tips on how to shoot these types of images both in studio and on location.

Photojournalism: Environmental Portraits

In Photojournalism, we shoot something called Environmental Portraits. They can be posed shots that work very effectively in telling our viewers who the person we’re capturing is. They often involve props of some sort. For example, if you’re shooting a guitarist for a band, you might want to put him in the typical type of clothes that he would wear to a show. Additionally, you’ll probably want the guitar in there as it is a part of who he is.

Similarly, if you’re shooting a carpenter then he’s probably got an entire wall with tools hanging up. Place him against that wall so that we can see all of those tools. Perhaps put something in his hand (like a circular saw) and have him cross his arms. Then just get the colors and lighting right on top of posing him correctly and getting the right facial expression in order to make people want to come to him for business.

Get the Right Lighting/Colors

This is really essential. Sometimes it may require use of umbrellas with lights and even strobes. Depending on what color or type of background you have, you’ll also want to coordinate clothing color choices. Usually neutral colors work best. I typically tell my clients to wear black, white or browns as those work with nearly any solid colored background. The rest all depends on what works for the shot and situation.

As a rule of thumb, warmer light usually gives a softer look. Cooler light can give you a sharper look. Sharp lenses and cool light can make for very, very sharp photos. Depending on the client, they may or may not like that.

Do The Touch Ups

Make up is very important. Besides telling your client to use some face powder to cover up really glossy spots, you should also do the right corrections in post-processing. For example, teeth are a big one. Everyone always wants their teeth whitened. Do that with the eyedropper, paint and opacity tool in Photoshop. Whitening strips the day before also work well.

Acne is another one, this can be much harder to cover up and can sometimes take some work depending on the texture of the area. Clone tools and perhaps band-aid tools will come in handy here. It all depends on what program is right for you.

General Tips on Shooting Portraits

Remember my tips that I wrote a while back? They all apply. Get the eyes sharp, get the right lens, stopping the lens down to get the right look, and having fun.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.