Taking headshot photos may look easy. For most people, it’s just a matter of simply having the subject or model look at the camera and you, the shutterbug, clicking the said device, and that’s it! In a snap, you can already have a headshot to end all headshots. However, that might not really be the case.

It’s always best to produce a headshot photograph that not only satisfies you but your subject as well. If you keep your client happy, then you’re accomplishing one of your goals as a photographer.

So, if you apply these tips from a Chicago headshot photographer, you can take amazing photos that both you and your client will love:

1. Know The Purpose Of The Photo

Before starting the photoshoot session, what you need to do is to know the purpose of the headshot photograph, and you can do that by communicating with your client first and foremost. By doing so, you’ll avoid taking shots that might contradict your client’s wants. You’ll also be able to use appropriate ways and techniques to produce the right headshot photo.

Ask your client whether they’ll use the photo for something more formal or candid, which would serve as your overall basis for doing the headshot. A corporate headshot is way different from a candid one when it comes to using background and props. If you’re not careful, you might use a background that’s inappropriate for their objective.

Also, the more information you get from your client as to how they’ll use the photo, the better the outcome of the photo will be.

2. Choose The Right Background

Now that you know how they’ll be using the headshot photo, you can then use the right background. Here are some of the most popular backgrounds you may choose from:

  • White Background – For formal or corporate headshot photography, the most used background is a plain white background. If you’re just starting out or just taking DIY headshot photos, you wouldn’t be needing an expensive, seamless white background. You may even use a white poster card so long as the white background covers your subject’s shoulders and head.
  • Solid Brick Wall – Another cost-saving background for an amazing headshot photo is a solid brick wall. Not only is this a classic, but it can also go well with portraits. You need to find a good brick wall if you’re planning on taking headshot photos outdoors.
  • Nature – When taking a candid headshot photo for your client, off-the-beaten-path destinations or nature could also be a fantastic background as well. Interestingly, by using, say, a natural tourist spot as the background, you can make your client enjoy nature while having a photoshoot.
  • Client’s Place Of Work – If your client will use the headshot photo to highlight their business or work, then their place of work is the best choice for a background. Not only will it make your client at ease, but you’re also helping them achieve their aim of promoting their business.

3. Use Appropriate Lighting

Besides using the right background, lighting is also vital. With the proper lighting, you can produce headshot photos without dramatic shadows, especially for corporate headshot photos.

Using the right amount of light matters on whatever type of photography, although the kind of lighting you’ll need may differ depending on the kind of headshot photo you’ll be taking.

You may use one large soft light source as a simple light source for indoor headshot photography. Or, you can have two or three light sources–one from the opposite of the main light and another from behind. That way, you can highlight the subject’s jaw and hair.

But, if you want to create a clean white background, you may need to use three or four light sources–two for each side and one from the background. By doing such, you can produce a happy and bright headshot photo that’s perfect for online profiles.

For more candid and informal headshot photos, using natural light can create a “film” look. You can do this headshot photography outdoors when there’s enough sunlight. That way, you can create natural-looking headshot photos perfect for blogs or LinkedIn profiles or backgrounds.

4. Create A Comfortable Atmosphere

After setting up the right photoshoot set, you can now prepare your subject. One way to do this is to create a light atmosphere between you and your subject. This way, nervous clients will feel relaxed, making them feel comfortable posing in front of you.

You can talk to them casually by asking what their hobbies are.You may also bring up light topics they might be interested in. Or, you can make your clients laugh or smile by punching in some jokes. As a result, your clients will unload the pressure of taking a headshot photo.

5. Encourage Your Subject

Creating a pleasant mood before starting the photoshoot is not enough. It would be best if you continue making your clients feel at ease, even during the photoshoot session. You can do so by encouraging them.

Instead of telling them what poses or actions not to do, tell them that they’re doing great. You may tell them that their smiles are great, their poses are perfect, and other positive comments. When you do this with enthusiasm, your clients will be able to give their best.


Becoming a great headshot photographer doesn’t happen overnight, however you can take amazing headshot photos when you follow the tips from this Chicago headshot photographer. That way, you will not be committing a lot of mistakes when taking a headshot photo even the first time around.