As a portrait photographer I look at everyone’s headshot. I examine them. I study the images I love and secretly cringe at the images that are less than amazing.

So, what do I consider a BRILLIANT headshot? What makes me think “you had me at hello”?

  • A brilliant headshot will intrigue the viewer and make them want to meet you.
  • A brilliant headshot positions you as professional, not a newbie or a hobbyist.
  • A brilliant headshot helps create a connection between you and your ideal client.

There’s a lot of work that goes into creating a brilliant headshot, it’s not just showing up and sitting in front of a boring backdrop.

Here’s my recipe for nailing your headshot photo and creating an image that elevates you as a professional in your field.

1. Hire a Professional Photographer.

You may be thinking, do I really need to hire a photographer? Why can’t my friend help me with my headshot or can I use my favorite selfie? If you want to position yourself as a professional or thought leader, it’s time to look like one.

Yeah, for sure, you can use selfies or photos you took in your back yard, but they will definitely not get you to leadership status.

When you’re looking to hire a professional photographer, do some research to see if they have experience with headshots and branding portraits. Take a look at their portfolio to determine if you like their style.  Before you hire a pro, make sure they ask about your business and understand who you are, and are able to create a headshot that is tailored for you.

2. Wear clothing that represents your brand.

photos for carlsbad realtor

Look through your closet for clothing that feels like YOU. How would you show up for your ideal client meeting?
Choose clothes that flatter your body type so you can you feel GREAT. You know, that walk out of the house feeling like a million bucks kind of feeling?

When in doubt bring a few clothing and accessory options to your photoshoot.

If you feel like you have “nothing to wear” or aren’t sure how to pull off the perfect look for your brand, consider working with a personal stylist. A professional wardrobe stylist, like my friend  Ashley Lopez of Array of Style, can pull looks from your existing wardrobe or go shopping with you to select clothing and accessories that are perfect for your brand.

3. Book an appointment with your glam squad.

san diego branding photographer behind the scenes marcy browe

Working with a hair and makeup professional the day of your photo shoot will give you that extra bit of polish that goes a long way towards making your photos look professional.

You will feel confident and, even better, you won’t have to worry about that part of the process.

A beauty professional will make your skin look great and your hair will be on-point. Invest in a hair and makeup artist because they will know how to make you look like the best version of yourself.

If you don’t know a good hair or makeup professional, ask your photographer to refer you to their favorites. Personally, I have my go-to glam squad that I know I can trust with any client I send to them.

Also, don’t forget the manicure!

4. Remember your purpose.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of a photo shoot. It’s very common to hear from your inner critic right around photoshoot time.  But take a pause and remember why you are taking this photo in the first place.

You are here because you have a unique mission and a message that you want to share with your audience. You have a purpose.

Now BE the face of that purpose. And your ideal clients will say YES to you.

5. Enjoy the experience!
san diego branding photographer behind the scenes marcy browe

Once your spotlight moment arrives, try your best to relax and to be YOU. Shine it on and have fun with it.

Ask your photographer to play your favorite music so you can move and loosen up.

Don’t worry about perfection, instead do what it takes to be your true self.

If you are feeling nervous or vulnerable, communicate this to your photographer. If I know someone is feeling extra squeamish or self-conscious on the day of their shoot, I have ways to work with this.

Communication is key … if you’re not having fun it will show up in your photos.

Set your intention before you arrive at your shoot to have fun, go with the flow and to seek out the good vibes, this intention can transform an awkward experience into photo magic.


Are YOU ready to update your headshot? Click here to see my branding packages and reach out to me to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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