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Basic Guide to a Great Headshot

Professional headshots are the first introduction - and oftentimes the first impression - to you, your business and your personal brand.

The importance of a quality professional headshot

Around 93% of HR professionals and recruiters turn to LinkedIn to find quality candidates. Two out of three turn to Facebook and more than half of HR professionals utilize Twitter. A headshot plays an important role in your professional life.

Your headshot should be a powerful, compelling and confidence-instilling headshot that makes prospective clients, employers and partners want to reach out and connect with you.

Before your portrait session for your professional headshot, think about the things you want others to see when they glance at your online profile.

It's all about you

Think about some of the characteristics that embody your personal brand. Are you a chef, an educator, a writer? Write down some keywords and phrases. If there are certain props that could help tell your story, bring them along to your session too. If you’re going to be using your headshot on a specific social media platform, you might even want to tailor it to fit that site.


It’s important that your look matches the image you’re trying to convey. What you wear on a daily basis is a great place to start. Solid colors are always a good choice, as are tops with strong collars and necklines. I suggest wearing clothing that compliments your skin and eye tones and it’s best to stay away from bold prints. It's important for your entire outfit to be professional as you may want a shot or two that is taken further away and incorporates more of your body.

To smile or not to smile

Confidence and approachability are key factors in your headshot. For most audiences, a smile conveys friendliness and may be the best look. Not smiling will give your portrait a more serious tone.

Even though this is a more professional shoot, remember to have fun. A relaxed, comfortable subject naturally exudes confidence.


Award-winning portrait photographer Shannon Edney's photos have been featured on multiple magazine covers with photos published in print and digital advertisements around the world. Based out of Missoula, Montana, Shannon specializes in portrait photography showcasing people, dogs, and horses (all breeds, with a focus on the Arabian horse). Shannon is known for her ability to catch the perfect expression and capture her subjects in unique lighting, resulting in portraits rich in artistry that will be treasured for years to come.

Please contact Shannon for schedule, availability and pricing.