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5 Keys to Winning Head Shots | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

5 Keys to Winning Head Shots

If you are in business, you need a good head shot, or photograph of yourself that can be used both online and in print. Generally, you will get what you pay for.

If you opt for the shot your best friend took of your standing in your living room, it will look like the shot your best friend took of your standing in your living room. If possible, hire the best photographer you can afford.

Tips to a head shot that works:

  1. Smile. Look friendly.
  2. Intense may be hot for vampires, but those brooding shots will suck the life out of your brand. Look approachable.

  3. Dress professionally.  Select clothes that best represent you and your brand. The Avengers t-shirt you can’t live without might be fun on vacation, but most of us need to choose something different for a head shot.
  4. Go high resolution. If you take your own head shot, use the highest resolution camera you have for the best quality possible. Lower resolution may work on the web, but it fails miserably in print.
  5. Size matters. The teeny tiny shot you post as a Twitter profile picture is not going to work for any print publication. You need good-sized photographs to print well.
  6. Photo rights. Discuss with your photographer beforehand your anticipated uses for the photograph. Many in business do not anticipate that they may need a head shot in jpg format to submit to publications, online and/or in print. Make sure you can legally share the photos and that you have purchased rights to do so.
If someone asks you for a headshot for online or print use, be sure to ask the resolution and image size needed. When you ask about file size, the answer you get will be at least 1 of the following: size of the jpg file (for example 543k or 1 MB); resolution (as in dots/pixels per inch in the photo); or image size (for example 3 inches wide). Clarify which file size is requested and then follow it. (Some printers will require a tiff or psd file instead of a jpg.)
Tech Geek Jpg Info:
When you save a file as a jpg, it is portable but loses some of its pixels. So when you save a file as a jpg for print, choose the highest settings possible to preserve as much of the original image as possible. For online use, you want the smallest size possible.


In real estate, “curb appeal” is essential for homes that sell. Your headshot photo is the photographic equivalent of your personal “curb appeal.” While we may not deliberately seek to sell ourselves via a headshot, a bad headshot can create a horrid first impression that can cost you more sales and business than you will ever know.



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