I’m guessing, and I’m happy to be corrected, but the most popular headshot in the world has to be the passport photo?
Here are the guidelines for a UK Passport Photo:
- be facing forwards and looking straight at the camera
- have a plain expression and your mouth closed
- have your eyes open and visible
- not have hair in front of your eyes (easy one for me!)
- not have a head covering (unless it’s for religious or medical reasons)
- not have anything covering your face
- not have any shadows on your face or behind you
Most of these are solid guidelines for a good headshot. However, can you spot the one that makes all passport photos hideous? Yep, it’s the second one.
I’m sure that this is the reason that many people’s perception of a ‘professional headshot’ is as dire as it is.
While the above guidelines make for a photo that does its job which is to show border control staff what we look like. It does a terrible job of showing what we are like.
To have a plain expression and your mouth closed in your profile photo does everything to remove your personality, it also makes you look tense (try looking relaxed with your mouth sealed!).
It’s no wonder that most of my clients initially stand in front of the camera with mouth closed and looking blank.
I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly possible to capture your spirit and personality in a profile photograph. You just need to let it out.