A lot of my clients have been getting new headshots (get it ladies!), and many of them have asked if I have any recommendations for what to ask the photographer for. And it just so happens I do.
For your personal headshots, do what ever makes you feel confident and happy but for use on your website we need to think bigger. No really, I mean we need bigger photos! A headshot is usually a square photo but if you want those large, banner-type photos on your site, a square headshot is not going to cut it.
Photos for hero images or banners
When you talk to your photog, ask for shots that are landscape and have a full background behind you. If you want to use them in the hero section at the top or as a background on anything we need more stuff behind you versus a close up. Vertical/portrait photos often don’t work well for websites because computer monitors are landscape. Portrait photos work well for lots of other applications (headshots, social media, etc.) but we need to make sure you walk out of your shoot with ALL the photos you need to shine online.
In my perfect world you’d walk away from your photo shoot with the following:
- Landscape photos where you are at the left, right, and center of the shot. Sometimes we don’t want you right in the center, so options are nice.
- A few different backgrounds. Some that have casual stuff behind you like a kitchen, office, living room, trees, etc. Some that are plain colors.
- Shots where your full body is in the frame in addition to shots where just your torso is shown.
This picture of Mary Catalogna is a great example of a landscape picture that would work great as a hero image. It is zoomed out enough to show more of the background behind her. I’d love to have this shot also with Mary either to the left or right.
This picture of Wendy Garvin Mayo is beautiful but there isn’t enough background behind it to be use it as a full width hero image. The background is very complex, so I wouldn’t be able to redraw it or recreate parts to add to it. If Wendy’s photographer had stepped back, made Wendy a little smaller in the frame, and included more of the background this picture would be perfect.
Your photog is going frame your face or body in the way that is best for the shot, but it’s not always what’s best for our needs on your website. If they take any close headshots ask them to also take a few shots where your shoulders are both fully in the frame. We can always crop it smaller but what happens is I end up having to redraw shoulders because it looks weird if your shoulders are randomly cut off. It’s easier and looks much better if your head and shoulders are included in the original shot.
In my perfect world we’d have:
- Different poses that include your whole head/hair and both your shoulders and arms.
- Traditional headshots but also more casual and relaxed poses.
- Standing or full body shots in addition to sitting poses. (We don’t often use the full body, but it gives me more to work with and then we can crop where it makes the most sense for the website.)
This picture of Cazandra Campos-McDonald is great because we have her full body AND it’s on a neutral/solid background. If I needed to turn this into a banner image, I can easily add on more of that solid beige color to make the photo work.
This picture of Lisa is great for a headshot but isn’t ideal for a website. Though she looks amazing, you can see her hair is out of the frame as well as one of her shoulders and both of her arms.