What Your Headshot Says About You

I’ve been doing a lot of website reviews for coaches and consultants lately. Many are squeamish about the idea of putting their face prominently on their website. Yeah, I tried to dodge that early on too. But I came around and here’s why it’s a good idea for all service providers…

https://prosperouscoachblog.com/headshot/You are the face of your business and your face speaks miles about you. Your future clients want to see you before they engage with you. What would it say about you if you weren’t there to greet them when they arrive on your Home page?

But don’t worry. This isn’t about the popular notion of good looks. What matters is that your core essence comes through. Your ideal clients will see it and respond positively. Here’s how to help yourself show up for the camera and get a great set of shots:

7 Insider Tips for Great Headshots

#1 Be sure to get really good sleep, eat well, and drink lots of water the week before your shoot.

#2 Think happy thoughts while you’re looking in the camera.

#3 Smile with your eyes.

#4 Before each pose, energize yourself. Do the hokey pokey and spin yourself around!

#5 Take shots from different angles — from above, below, diagonal angles, standing, sitting.

#6 Avoid formal or complicated backgrounds. Formal is out. And complicated is… complicated!

#7 Choose a few different looks and degrees of business wear, from casual to corporate.

Headshot Secrets For Women

  • Wear simple jewelry or none at all.
  • Make up to beat wash out. Wear foundation (even if you normally don’t) plus a slightly darker lipstick, some blush, a little eye-liner.

If You Hire a Professional Photographer (recommended)

  • Be sure you will own the shots and don’t have to pay royalties on them.
  • Ask if they can do some shots on a white ground — the easiest to use on websites and other media.
  • Ask them to provide an electronic proof sheet where you can pick the ten best for slight touch up.
  • Ask for minimal touch up. The real you is better.
  • Choose a variety of finished shots for different purposes.
    • One for your website header.
    • Another for your “About” page.
    • Close ups for your social network “avatar”.
    • Large format shots if you’re on the speaking circuit.
  • Ask them to also supply some smaller file sizes (65 – 300KB) of your favorite shots for online use.


CLICK HERE to chime in. Share your headshot tips, experiences or questions. We all need a little help from our friends.



  • Dr.LisaVanAllen

    Great tips Rhonda! A couple things I would add is to dress in colors that match or compliment your hair, skin and/or eye color. When I dress in teal my eyes POP! Same with oranges and corals, because my skin tone is very warm. For years I dressed in a navy suit/white blouse to look professional, but I ended up looking tired. Color is a great way to add life to a photo. Also, use texture in your clothing choices: a nubby silk blazer, a leather jacket, a well cut sweater are great alternatives to the classic wool jacket. Texture plays off the lighting and can bring a flat photo to life. Finally, play music that pumps you up during the photo shoot (even if using an amateur photographer, although I highly recommend going with a pro!). Music will raise your energy and help you smile. Dance a little between takes! I learned these tips from a master photographer and they have helped make me much more comfortable in front of the camera.

    • Fantastic tips, Lisa! I especially love the music suggestion. Thanks for chiming in.

  • Ernesto Mercado

    My headshot is four years old…I’d like some feedback on it. Be honest, should I shave my facial hair? I don’t want to.

    • Hey Ernesto — from this tiny avatar pic it’s hard to say. I don’t think facial hair is a problem unless you work in an industry where it could work against you. What do you do? Who is your target audience?

  • Reba J. Hoffman

    Great advice Rhonda. Spoken like the woman who always shows up authentic and genuine in your photos.

  • Akasha Lonsdale

    Good advice and comments re the colour/texture. I always think it’s a good idea to have a colour and style analysis with an image consultant and that way you can always maximise your assets. I also think that getting a pro shot is essential for a business website and I’m amazed when I still see holiday shots instead! Having said that if a photo appears here it will probably be home shot, but it is on my personal FB profile rather than the business.

    • I’m with you, Akasha. The pro shots usually show your stuff better than “homemade” photography.