Choose the correct lens
The first step to taking great headshots is to choose the right lens. A portrait lens with a focal length of around 50mm or 85mm is preferred. These lenses create a natural-looking impression and produce a shallow depth of field. This in turn blurs the background, placing the focus on your subject's face.
Use the right lighting
Diffused lighting helps to reduce harsh shadows and creates a flattering, soft exposure that brings out your subject's features. Ambient light, a softbox or a beauty dish are all options. Take some time to assess your surroundings before you begin your photoshoot.
Get the composition right
Framing your subject is a significant aspect of headshot photography. Position them so that their head and shoulders are in the frame and avoid cropping off the top of their head or chin. You can always crop in post-production.
Engage with your subject
Make them feel comfortable and relaxed and provide clear guidance on how to pose and what direction to look in.
Pay attention to facial expressions
Suggest your subject try out different expressions and be prepared to capture moments when they are at ease and show their true personality.
Select a simple background
Avoid distracting and loud backgrounds. A simple plain background allows the focus to remain on your subject.
Advise choice of clothing and makeup
Conservative hair and make up is recommended. Although at the same time I think this is an individual’s realm of choice, as they may want to portray their own unique character. Encourage your subject to wear clothing that is flattering and comfortable.
Shoot in RAW format
Shooting in RAW format provides larger control over the image in post-production. It allows you to tweak the exposure, clarity, vibrance and other elements when editing. This will make a considerable difference to the final image especially if you under or over-expose your image in the first instance.
Experiment, have fun and enjoy the experience
The ‘wow’ natural looking headshots arrive through a combination of preparation, imagination and a relaxed atmosphere. Don't be afraid to try out ideas, encourage some silly faces along the way and have fun with your headshot photography.