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The Head Shot Mindset and How to Get It Right

February 10, 2020
Your head shot mindset will make the difference between a successful headshot and one that can actually hurt your reputation. Here’s how I approach it.
Your head shot mindset will make the difference between a successful headshot and one that can actually hurt your reputation. Here’s how I approach it.

A Good Head Shot Mindset

Over the past few years (okay, more than a few), one of the common challenges I have heard from my head shot clients has to do with their mindset going into the session.

Our goal for their head shot session is often a source of confusion.

The feedback I often hear during our sessions are statements like, “Gosh, I look old.” “I have wrinkles!”

And, my least favorite, “I don’t look like that!”

Oh, Reality: You Cold, Cold Thing!

What is your marketing mindset?
What is your marketing mindset?

First, the bad news: I’m sorry. But, yes. Yes, you do look like that. And, all of the guilt about not going to the gym, not dying your hair, eating that last canole, isn’t helping at all. (Yes, I am talking to myself here!)

In fact, that mindset is working against everything that a head shot is supposed to represent.

You could make a resolution to go to the gym, eat right, wear your hair differently etc etc. And, if you do, more power to you!

But, until all that happens, there is something that you can do right now, that will impact your marketing.

So, Change Your Mindset

Now, the good news: Your potential audience for your head shot, whether it is a corporate executive portrait or an actor’s headshot, doesn’t care about all of that.

They only want to know that you look like someone who can help solve whatever problem they are considering hiring you for.

The goal of a good marketing head shot is to show your particular audience that you are their solution.

The number one rule in sales is this: “It is not about you, it is all about them.”

So, start thinking about what they want to see. When I have asked people about what they like about someone’s headshots, I often hear the following.

  • Confidence
  • Approachability
  • Paying attention to my problem/challenge
  • Knowledgable
  • Trustworthy

Finding Your Head Shot Goal

Your photographer should be more than a good technician. They should be actively helping you to achieve the right mindset for your head shot.

We work with our clients with everything from wardrobe choices, make up options (yes, even for men), posture, and expressions.

It all starts with two simple questions: who is this head shot for, specifically? And, what do we want them to do/feel after?

These two simple questions will drive everything else about our session.

Other General Tips

When prepping up to get a headshot, keep a few things in mind:

  1. Choose your wardrobe with some care. Darker, solid colors are almost always more successful than bright patterns. Slightly conservative will keep people from being distracted by your fashion sense and be more aware of the confidence in your eyes. And, please, make sure that it has been freshly pressed and cleaned.
  2. Lean into your look. Yes, you may have wrinkles. However, you have also earned them. And, your audience will recognize that. While we can, and often do, soften them a bit in photoshop during the post production phase, removing them all together tells the audience more about vanity than about how you are going to solve their problem.
  3. Make up is there to help, not hinder. So, it should subtly augment your best features. And, reinforce that you are confident and serious about your goals. (Not sure about what to do? We have people for that!)
  4. Don’t worry about the session! My sets are fun, relaxed and, most importantly, an evolutionary process. We shoot a few frames, adjust the wardrobe, adjust the pose, shoot more frames, review and adjust the expression. Rinse and repeat! We shoot a lot of frames to get the perfect head shot for your goals.
  5. Remember to enjoy yourself. Embrace the opportunity to get a rockstar head shot to show you as the hero that you can be to your clients.

More Head Shot Tips

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