Finding The Right Headshot Photographer

You need a headshot.  Of course you do! Admission is the first step to recovery.  But, not any headshot will do.  You need an image that takes you from flat to wow and from zero to hero.  The headshot needs to help set you apart from the pack.  No sense in blending in when you can stand out.

Whether you are using those images on business cards, or on your LinkedIn profile, your headshot is your virtual handshake with the world.  Communicating your competence, approachability and a sense of trust is super important. 

Scottsdale, Arizona based headshot photographer, Duane Furlong says “in today’s fast moving environment you NEED professional headshots. You are looked at on all social media platforms everyday, from potential clients to headhunters.”

Headshot photography is the only form of photography where YOU are the product.
— Ajay Jhaveri

It’s a Daunting Task

You may experience an uneasy feeling about stepping in front of a camera. You may feel some trepidation, fear, or anxiety.  Relax!  It’s normal.  Would it surprise you to learn that most of my clients are not actors or models?  They are professionals, seeking business headshots.  These folks are amazing in a conference room, and are completely at ease giving a presentation.  But, they are not necessarily comfortable when they are face to face with a camera. 

The real reasons they are uneasy with having their photos taken are either:

  • They have never had a great picture of themselves taken

  • They find flaws with themselves



Own Your Appearance

I know this may come as a big surprise, but no one cares if you hate having your picture taken.  Potential clients rely on that visual representation to ascertain if they want to associate with you, or conduct business with you. In fact, if you choose the right headshot photographer, you may actually enjoy the session.  But, don't sell yourself short.

First, you need to own your appearance.  Yep, I said it!  What choice do you have?  Your parents blessed you with certain physical features, for better or worse.  You can either accept that fact, or change it.  But surgically changing your appearance isn’t always feasible. Even if it was, every human being is unique and beautiful, and you are no different. So, stop picking apart your looks, and accept that you are a good lookin’ human being!

Stop using the picture of the family pet, that vacation photo of the family, or worse yet, the infamous silhouette.

I have met too many people who claim that they aren't photogenic, or find a TON of faults with themselves.  Chances are, other people don't see the stuff you see, and they really don't care about anything you believe to be flaws.  

The best way to make more money is in leveraging your headshot, and we have also established that this is an investment (see link to blog, below).

The next step is to figure out WHO can help you achieve your goal.

Choosing the Right Photographer

Choosing the right headshot photographer is a big deal.  It should be! After all, you are investing in yourself, your company, your brand, your message, etc.  You should weigh your options carefully. However, you should also be aware that just because a photographer can make a picture doesn't mean that they know how to make a headshot.  

The same can be said of a headshot specialist in other genres of photography.  You certainly won't find me shooting any weddings. I'd be like a fish out of water.  

It’s true.  If you ever want to see an experienced photographer fall apart under pressure, make them photograph a wedding, and watch them turn into an amateur, quickly! 

Headshot photography is a specialty.  Much like in medicine, you have doctors with particular specialties.  If you were having a heart attack, you wouldn't choose a podiatrist instead of a cardiologist, would you?  Why not?  They both went to medical school.  See what I'm getting at? Not all photographers have similar training, and many don't go through the rigors of learning and practicing the intricacies and nuances of headshot photography.  

Think of it like majoring in headshots, getting a masters degree in headshots, and doing a residency in headshots.  You probably wouldn't choose a headshot photographer if you were getting married.  You would select a reputable wedding photographer.  Similarly, you wouldn't choose that podiatrist to perform open heart surgery if you know that they don't have the same education, experience and mastery of the heart as a cardiologist. 


Start by narrowing your search to local headshot photographers.

I highly suggest looking at the portfolio of the top headshot photographers under consideration. Here are a few questions that you might think about before making your selection:

Is the work consistent, from image to image?

If the images all look like they were taken by a different photographer, how do you know what you are going to get when your images are taken?

Is the photographer shooting from above the subject?

This is a big deal because shooting down on the subject removes power and authority from them, and makes them seem diminutive. This is contradictory to the whole purpose of a headshot, which is to show you as confident and steadfast. Admittedly, its difficult to spot those nuances, but in some cases, this is easy to see. I suggest taking notice.

What does the photographer's bio / about page say?

I know this sounds like a no brainer, but you should be reading that page. Do they tell you something about themselves that you don't already know? Are they providing information that show that they have a personality? The idea here is to glean some information and insight into their personality to see if you can connect over common ground.

What kind of experience are you likely to have?

In truth, not every photographer will divulge their process. Some do, and some don’t. And, that’s ok. You may not get this information directly from the text on the website. You may find videos, or testimonials explaining what others went through during their session. Ultimately, you are putting a few pieces of information together and developing an impression / vibe about the kind of photographer you are dealing with and the sort of experience you are in for.

Do they showcase any testimonials? If so, how many?

Nothing is more telling than a prior client's experience, in their own words. It's nice to have a testimonial or two to read. When a photographer has many testimonials posted, this is indicative of their past performance and should not be taken lightly. Also, don't forget to check out any reviews listed on Google!


Once you have whittled down the field, pick up the phone.  If you have questions that you don't feel are listed anywhere on the photographer's website, don't be shy about picking up a telephone or sending an email.  You are interviewing the photographer to see if they can meet your needs and gel with you.  Personality plays as big a role in this as competence and results.  I highly suggest making a telephone call.  This is generally more telling than an email response.

There you have it.  Nothing could be more helpful in generating more income and creating revenue streams than presenting yourself as a positive, confident, competent and polished professional.  

So, what are you waiting for?  Check out your local headshot photographers, and get your headshot updated today!


My contact info is at the bottom of the page (wink wink)  

Full disclosure:  I am a mentor in Peter Hurley's Headshot Crew.  The Crew is a community of more than 13,000 of the best headshot photographers from around the world, specializing in delivering the highest quality headshot images and an incredible experience.  Check out the Crew to locate a professional headshot photographer near you!