Professional headshots are becoming a must when sending along your resume to potential future employers. Believe it or not, a lot of companies care to see what you look like before being hired. Though I personally don’t believe looks should be considered in the hiring process, this is the world we live in and, when you need a job, conforming to things you don’t particularly agree with is bound to happen.

For the photographers shooting these professional headshots, it’s important to put some TLC into it for the client’s sake and your own. We got some tips to assure your process finds its preferred outcome, here’s a few: 1. Consult with client – The shoot should mainly come down to one thing: the client. There must be a profession or creative path they have in mind for their headhsoot, so their input definitely counts. Though it’s important to not overdo a professional portrait, it’s good to add a subtle twist to really make the person standout. Their resume will do a lot of the talking but in a line of pictures, employers will always gravitate towards the one that speaks to them the most. An inviting personality and/or friendly smile can shine through the right angle or camera gaze, so make sure the client is ready to give it their best.

Photo by Bradford Rogne Photography

2. Simplicity is key – A professional shoot is supposed to be well, mostly professional. It should capture something that would be seen in the workplace. Keep a solid or gradient neutral color in the backdrop, or even an out of focus workspace. Just whatever you do – stay away from crazy patterns. Make sure to style the clients hair sleekly and keep out of their face. For facial hair, keep it manicured and soft. For make-up, keep it natural but noticeable to show effort.

3. Standby wardrobe – Even as prepared as you can tell someone to be, they may fall short. Also, consider the fact that their outfit may not fit the image you’re trying to portray or the backdrop you have your heart set on. Try and keep a mini wardrobe filled with blouses, button downs, suit jackets, and some simple jewelry just in case. Time is money and you definitely don’t want to run out in the middle of the shoot to assist a wardrobe change.

4. Define their features – The amount of resumes and headshots employers go through on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Defining your clients unique crevices and features can really go far. Employers prefer headshots that are easily identified when sifting through their hundreds of candidates, making their job less soul-crushingly mundane.

5. Make it fun! – Ok, there may not be any fun behind professional headshot shoots, but if you have the incentive to make it a good time, it will happen. Try some music and maybe a little champagne. The client will feel more comfortable and their expression will show. Besides, they aren’t professional models who are used to being in the spotlight, so loosening up the vibe will do them justice.