Boost Your Speaking Career With These 6 Headshot Tips

As a professional speaker, your image plays a vital role in your brand. A great headshot can help you stand out in a crowded market, convey credibility and professionalism, and increase your chances of booking more speaking engagements.

As a photographer with experience capturing headshots of prominent South Africa's figures, such as Adrian Gore, Thuli Madonsela and Vusi Thembekwayo. I would like to share 6 valuable tips to help you achieve the best headshots that will increase your chances of booking more speaking engagements.

1. Choosing a Photographer

The first step in ensuring that your personal brand is accurately represented is choosing the right photographer. Look for a photographer who is passionate about elevating your brand and being a partner in your success as a speaker. This can be determined by looking at their portfolio of work. If it contains speakers and other public figures, then you can be confident that they will be able to do the same for you.

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2. What your photographer needs to know

During the briefing session, a skilled photographer will inquire about your preferences for your shoot, including which features of your face and body you are most and least confident about. They should also ask about any specific retouching or editing requests you may have, such as removing moles, smoothing wrinkles, slimming certain areas or editing teeth. If these questions are not brought up, be sure to communicate your preferences before the shoot.

3. Outfit Choice

It's important to choose clothing that makes you look and feel your best. Stick to solid, neutral colors such as black, white, gray, navy or beige as they tend to photograph well and create a timeless look. Avoid patterns or bright colors as they can be distracting and draw attention away from your face. Additionally, make sure that your clothes are well-fitting and not too tight or too baggy. It's also a good idea to bring 3-4 options to the shoot so that the photographer can help you choose the best outfit for your needs.

Pro Tip: If this is an area you’re not confident in, then ask your photographer to hire their recommended stylist for your shoot.

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4. Posing

While it is not necessary to worry about posing preparation, as that is the photographer's job, it can be helpful to gather inspiration for your photoshoot. Utilize online resources such as Pinterest to search for “Men’s/Women’s headshots” that appeal to you. Share 5-10 images with your photographer prior to your shoot.

Pro Tip: Manage those nerves by bringing your own music playlist or or a sentimental item which you can hold during your shoot.

5. Hair & Makeup

When shooting in studio, keep in mind that lighting can greatly affect the final outcome of how your makeup looks on camera. To ensure the best results, it's highly recommended to have a hair and makeup artist on set. Start with a natural look and gradually add more makeup throughout the shoot, as desired.

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6. The Purpose Portrait

A purpose portrait is a type of portrait that conveys your sense of purpose or mission in life. The concept of a purpose portrait is often associated with leaders who are working to make a positive impact in the world. With the advancement of technology such as digital art and AI, it has become possible to create a portrait that truly represents you and your business, opening up opportunities you may not have realised.

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Pro Tip: Google your name and click on the images tab to see where your photo appears. Replace these with your newly taken headshots!

With these headshot tips you are well on your way to getting booked for more speaking gigs and attracting more of life's grand opportunities - Good Luck !

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