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Top 5 Headshot Photo FAQs

As a Seattle headshot photographer, I usually get asked the same 5 questions over and over by clients. Below are the actual questions, and my answers to them.

Do people really have to get professional headshots?

Using a professional headshot photographer will take your photos to the next level. Professional headshot photos are a no-brainer as an investment; what you’re getting is high quality, appropriate to your profession, and flattering. Having a great headshot is your digital calling card, and can make or break your chances of getting noticed for the right job or opportunity.

To put it another way, having an unprofessional or inappropriate photo can definitely hurt your prospects, and you might not even ever know. I’ve had recruiters tell me that the #1 thing they constantly tell candidates is to switch their LinkedIn photo to something better.

For more details, see my article on why you need a business headshot.

How much do headshot photos cost?

Headshot pricing can vary hugely, depending on the city you’re in and the experience level of the photographer. Pricing usually comes in two parts: a session fee and the price of the photos. In the Seattle market, session fees can range from $0 – $675, and average around $250 in Seattle. Photos end up around $50 – $250 each. Many photographers offer package pricing such as 2 headshot photos with minimal editing for $250 total, which gets you 15 minutes in front of the camera.

How to pick the right headshot photographer?

Start the search by asking your friends or looking online. Either way, you should look for someone with a portfolio that has a style that you would like to see in your own headshot photos. After you’ve narrowed down to a handful of candidates, arrange to meet them in person to see what they’re like and who you feel comfortable around. Ask a lot of questions on their process, and request a copy of their contract to see what the terms are. Lastly, gauge their customer service skills, and how well each headshot photographer really listened to you and whether they addressed your concerns. Here are the full details on each phase of figuring out if a photographer is right for you.

How to prepare for getting headshot photos?

1) Make sure you hire the right photographer who listens to what you want.
2) Pick your outfit, paying attention to color and fit. Choose clothing that is appropriate to your profession.
3) Practice getting the best facial expressions by taking lots of selfies.
4) Figure out if you have a better side, or a better angle.
5) Learn to turtle: move your chin forward about 1 inch to tighten your jawline.

See my article for the extended reasoning on the most important steps to preparing for headshots.

What to wear for headshots?

What you wear for your headshot session will depend largely on your profession, how you’ll use the photos, and where the photos are taken.

In general, neutral colors work best (think gray, white, black). Pick how casual or formal your outfit is by what’s generally appropriate to your profession. Make sure that your clothes fit, and aren’t baggy or loose. Pick clothing that have vertically narrowing points, like a long necklace or a v-neck so that the viewer’s eye is drawn up and down, not side to side. Style your hair and makeup to how you normally wear it, or hire a professional stylist if you want a more polished look for the photos. Lastly, don’t wear something that you would never wear outside of the session. You’ll be uncomfortable, and that will show in the photos.