What makes a great headshot?

A compelling headshot (click on the image to see it larger)
Headshots are very useful in humanizing a business and building trust. Who do you trust more, a corporation or a person? They often form the first impression a person gets of your company's key people. Because you only get one shot at a first impression, you'd better make it as good as you can.

They don't have to be formal - it depends on the audience that you're trying to appeal to.

For business use, a headshot should give the impression of an intelligent, warm individual that looks trustworthy and approachable. They should look important while remaining likable. They should express vitality. Good eye contact with the viewer is extremely important - you want viewers to be able to connect with them and picture themselves doing business with them. 

I shot and retouched this image recently. It's a very typical shot for use on a corporate website. Like most of my images, it's been digitally enhanced in many subtle ways. 

His eyes and teeth have been brightened, skin color enhanced, pores reduced, blemishes removed, bulge in coat removed, eyes enhanced, shadows lightened under the eyes, enhanced the background and more. He's a handsome guy, but the image was made much stronger by post-production. The retouching and enhancing took me about 40 minutes. 

Everybody needs some retouching. If supermodels and movie stars need it, your staff does too. You don't need your key people to look like movie stars but you need to present them at their best.

Retouching has to be subtle though. Done properly it's invisible. It should be difficult for even the subject to detect. Cameras are cruel and record every pore. People don't even see most of the flaws that photos bring to our attention. 

Great headshots give you an edge. They leave your prospects with a first impression that creates strong positive feelings and associations.