What the heck is a headshot? Sounds like something from a murder mystery or crime tv show doesn’t it? Headshot is a term (really quite self-explanatory) that refers to a standard head and shoulder photograph, such as one you might expect from a school photographer for a student yearbook.

Nowadays on the web, we see headshots with much tighter cropping. That is to say, mostly face showing and no neck. If you know any models you might hear them talk about headshots. Models will have portfolios with headshots showing a variety of expressions and hairstyles, actors need headshots too. Many business people will want a headshot for their marketing materials. Realtors rely on headshots as they lend a personal touch to the advertisement. After looking at a headshot, you, the potential customer, have a better feel for the person you may hire to produce a product or service.

In order to get the most out of your photo session, think about what you are looking to convey with your “headshot.” When you are booking an appointment with your photographer, make sure you talk about the kind of shots you want. A dark backdrop? White? Something more traditional? Or perhaps an on-location shoot in your office. Words like “traditional, conservative, stylish, modern, contemporary, laid back, environmental (referring to a location-or local environment), dramatic, and high-energy” will help guide your photographer in meeting your particular needs.

One last thought, since headshots are often used for publication make sure you obtain a usage license from your photographer to do so. Typically part of the cost of a headshot (sometimes known as an “executive portrait session”) is the copyright release. Most standard headshot releases will state that you, the subject, have unlimited and exclusive use to the images that you have purchased.  With the release in hand, and images on CD you are free to use them in anyway you wish!

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