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Good Headshots vs. Bad Headshots (Explained)

Good Headshots vs. Bad Headshots (Explained)

| Duane Furlong |
headshots done the right way


If you are a business or acting professional, you’ve likely heard that you need a headshot to build your brand — which is absolutely true! However, bad headshots can cause a lot more harm than good in your career. So the question must be asked:

What Makes a Good Headshot?

Here at Duane Furlong Studios, we have taken our fair share of headshots, and have come up with a few things we’ve noticed help your headshot stand out, in a good way:

Headshot is Well-lit

While it seems like a simple statement, good lighting is incredibly important when it comes to headshots. You want to put your best foot forward, and people need to be able to see you. Poor or intentionally dramatic lighting can distort facial features and prevent the employer or client from recognizing you in your headshot – you need something that will help them remember you and your personality.

Headshot Has You as the Focal Point

The whole point of a headshot is to help an employer (in the business or the entertainment world) see you. Distractingly busy backgrounds, clothes, or hair-dos will not only draw the attention of the employer, but it will make them have to work harder to focus on you. Opt for solid tops and solid backgrounds, in colors that will make your face stand out in the picture. You want to make their job as easy as possible by putting your face as the complete focal point of the photo, with nothing to pull the eye away.

Headshot Gives a Taste of Your Personality

All that being said, you don’t have to make your headshot completely void of personality – in fact, it should help the employer or client understand you a little bit more as a person. If you like bright colors, by all means opt for a brighter background or shirt for a bright pop of color. If you like to smile, smile. If you want to display a more serious, professional, business-like side of you, opt for more muted colors and perhaps a more serious expression.

However, a good headshot will not advertise you as something you are not. Stay true to your personality and let that shine through your headshots.

Headshot Looks Like You

All of the previous points are important, but none more than this: a good headshot looks like you. It looks like you on an above-average day, but it still looks like you. Excessive Photoshop edits, makeup, or hairstyles that aren’t natural or usual for you, elaborate clothing that you would never wear – they all will do nothing but to confuse your potential employer or client when you sit in front of them and hand them a headshot (or they find it on your website or social media) that looks nothing like you. Every time you go through a hairstyle or bodily change, you need to take new headshots to make sure that you are giving the people with whom you interact a picture that is up to date.

Additionally, many employers use your headshot to remind themselves of your interview (or performance, if you are auditioning) when making decisions on who to hire. They need to be able to match your face to the interview they went through, and if your headshot looks nothing like you, they are going to have a difficult job remembering who you are.

Talk With The Experts

All this being said, it is incredibly important for business professionals and actors to have quality, up-to-date headshots to bring to interviews and auditions. If your headshots are needing a refresh, contact us to book an individual or group session today!


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