By definition:"A head shot or headshot is a photograph of someone's face. Many head shots are promotional pictures of actors, models, authors, or other famous individuals." I have specialized in (children's) head shots for the last 4 years. So, what makes a great head shot, you ask? Well, you might as well ask what makes a great photo. But, here are some pointers:
1. Connection. Eye contact is KEY. You want to be able to look at the image and feel the person is looking you in the eye. If your subject isn’t intrigued then neither will the person viewing photograph.
2. Simple backdrop. We are here to see the person in the photo, not where you took the photo. If the backdrop is visible then it should support the subject and not be distracting.
3. Clothing. Simple solid colors are always best. Also, try to avoid solid white – it can be distracting. The eye tends to go toward the brightest part of the image and you don’t want that to be the shirt your subject is wearing. Also, minimal jewelry and makeup. BUT- if your client insists on wearing white and patterns pull yourself together and MAKE IT WORK. After all, you are a professional.
4. Vertical: In my experience, comp cards are generally vertical. If you take a horizontal shot, make sure you pull back enough to where it can be cropped vertical. There is nothing worse than having your client love the (horizontal) shot you took only to hear they can’t use it because it can’t be cropped vertical.
5. Posing: Head shot means just that. Pose from the shoulders up and fill the frame. Don’t “cut off” the top of the head. Proper facial expressions can also affect posing. Change up expressions!
But, most importantly, you need a good photographer! You have to have fun and feel comfortable during a head shot session or it will reflect in the photo that is primarily, well, your face. Head shots are about capturing your personality, so make sure you bring it to your session.