Corporate Business Headshot Prep Tips by Houston Photographer Sylvester Garza

1. Go to a trained professional. Invest in your career by hiring a skilled photographer who understands the particular aspects of lighting hair and skin. You need someone who does headshots on a regular basis, not some friend who happens to have a decent camera and “sorta knows a little about photography.” To give you an idea of what it will cost in the Houston-area market, $200 to $400 is what it takes to do it correctly. Pay less and your photos will come out as glorified passport shots. It’s just human nature, but your professionalism is judged by the first image people see. Make sure that image says you care about your career.

2. Go for personality over pretty. Personality wins every time.Make sure the images look like you and not some overdone, airbrushed, facade. I offer photo retouching for temporary imperfections but a little can go a long way. Employers and HR headhunters expect you to look like your headshot. Imagine their trust level falling  when you show up looking totally different or 10 years older. It’s not just about looking pretty on film. It’s about representing the real you.  Your professional headshot should look like you on your best day. Oh and get plenty of rest the night before too!

3.  The eyes reveal more about you than just their color. The camera picks up what’s going on behind them. Your eyes should be perfectly in focus, alive, and energized, not dead and glazed over. There should be strong inner thoughts, implying a back-story and a life behind the eyes. A slight squint, and strong piercing eyes will bring a picture to life and help it stand out in a pile of hundreds. A good headshot photographer knows how to bring this out in you. I also deliberately brighten the eyes and whiten the teeth of the images you select.

4. Pay attention to framing, lighting, and background. In general, a good headshot is chest up with good lighting on your face, and no strong dramatic shadows, unless you are going in for “The Phantom of the Opera.” Look. Three-quarter shots are good to support additional marketing graphics on a web site.

5. Natural light vs. studio. Studio lighting tends to be a little more polished, with a more neutral backdrop. Both can be wonderful. Environmental headshots can suggest an environment and may suggest more an action type headshot

6. Clothing and props.. Keep it simple and classy, and follow the standard format. Professionalism gets you noticed, not desperation. A simple, solid color shirt with a little texture that fits you well and matches your eyes should do the trick. No whites, and no graphics or anything you think might distract from your face

7. Women . ..don’t go crazy with the makeup. Yes, lots can be done with retouching. There is no need to put on tons of makeup. You want to look like yourself on your best day, and not look like you tried too hard.

Finally, Find a photographer that gets you. You have to vibe with the photographer, and that person has to make you feel very comfortable, as you will hopefully be using this headshot for a few years.  Research photographers online, call a couple and ask for a consultation  . . . get a feel for how they photograph your type, your ethnicity, your gender, etc.  And most importantly, don’t cut corners.

Good luck!

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Actor Head Shot Tips By Houston Photo Stylist / Make Up Artist, Victoria Callaway

Taking great photos is easy if follow these simple rules:

1. Bring at least 5 to 6 changes of wardrobe changes to your photo shoot. Your clothes should be freshly cleaned and pressed and bring coordinating jewelry and shoes and belts with each outfit. Remember simple is always best with jewelry. Nothing will outdate your head shoot quicker than trendy jewelry of the moment, so keep it simple and classic. Find a neckline that works best with your facial shape. White and red and two colors that do not photograph well. Men please bring polo type and button up and collar-less shirts as options. Also solids work best, avoid busy patterns or bold prints.

2. Women should get a haircut two weeks before your photo shoot and men should get a haircut a few days before. Please make sure you shave the day of the photo shoot and bring any hair products, and appliances you might need to change your style. Ladies, please maintain the same hair color as your head shot because so many times you are cast strictly off your head shots. If you drastically change your haircut and color, you should update your head shots. I did a commercial for Mercedes and we cast a blond family, well, my mom showed up as a redhead and she was fired on the spot. Just a life lesson she will never forget.

3. Make up for your photo shoot should be very clean and natural. We can always glam up our models and actors if we need to for print and commercials. But we need to see your skin tone and your true features especially with the high definition medium of today. Men should have an anti- shine product, concealer, powder with you if a make up artist is not available. Women should have a good understanding of updated techniques for their faces and products that work well in front of the camera. Make sure all products are well blended and a light touch is used in application. I like to use a few individual eye lashes to lift and open the eyes but still keep it natural

.4. Get plenty of sleep the night before and drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin. A facial is a good idea to soften facial lines. Also pay attention to your eyebrows and I recommend to have a professional shape your eye brows. But, make sure you get a recommendation for the brow artist you do not want to show up looking like Greta Garbo when your name is George.

5. Have fun with your photo shoot. Remember, it’s all about you and only you! Prepare yourself before you arrive then once you arrive you have nothing to worry about except looking wonderful and taking great photos. Remember this is your time to shine and be yourself and that’s what will land the job for you!