Tips for Head Shots | Business Portraits & Executive Head Shots in the San Jose and Surrounding Areas

I photograph many Head Shots in the San Jose and the surrounding areas. There are many terms to the type people are looking for: Head Shots, Business Portraits, Actor Portfolio, Executive Head Shots but the questions are common and usually the same.

1. Do I need one?
2. What do I wear?
3. What color backgrounds do you have?
4. Can you come to my office?
5. I want a friendly look and I’m shy in front of the camera. Can you help me?
6. Do I need make up and hair done (ladies)?
7. Should I get a hair cut / trim my beard (men)?

Do I need a Professional Head Shot?
Most people who have an online presence do. Realtors, speakers, executives, book authors, actors and many other professionals all need some type of professional business image to for their online portfolio. Your image is one of the first things people identify and relate to you. Your face and how you appear in your business portrait should be the attention and portal to you and your brand.

Business Casual Head Shot

Business Casual Head Shot

What do I wear for my business head shot?
If you are looking for a casual business head shot look or a professional portrait look, no matter what way I highly suggest you go with solid colors. Patterns tend to get too busy. If you are looking for the Executive type image I would recommend the suit or jacket and tie. The casual business head shot, sample above, is a friendly look with a jacket and small tie. The very casual look can be dressy or very casual or both as seen in the sample image below.

Casual Head Shot

Magazine editor who is wearing a client dress that she wants to showcase in her casual head shot.


Unless you are modeling clothing I would also suggest you avoid anything that will cover your face like a hat and sunglasses. Yes, people have asked.

What color backgrounds do you have?
We have many backgrounds but the most used color is the gray background. Gray goes with everything. If you wear a dark color we darken the background. If you wear a lighter color we lighten the the gray background. Matching the color you wear is also pleasing image to the eye and bring attention to your face.

Can you come to me or my office?
Of course! We travel all over the Bay Area and beyond. Depending on how far your office is we do have a small travel and set up fee. Ideally we will need at least a 10 foot by 10 foot area to set up the lighting. We have worked in very tight spaces, hallways and closets too, and we just make an adjustment to our lighting. We can also find an area outside your office and make a suggestion or two. The image below was taken inside a residence with the realtor and his team. We took both individual head shots and of his group.

Business Casual Marketing Image on Location

Business Casual Marketing Image on Location


Group Photo Outdoor

Group Photo Outdoor


Casual Business Head Shot

Casual Business Head Shot

I want a friendly look and I’m shy in front of the camera. Can you help me?
We understand what it’s like to be in front of the camera. Just a simple breathing technique and simple poses at first will help you relax. We show clients how great they look from the back of the camera and that also relaxes our clients.

Do I need make up and hair done (ladies)?
We know hair and make up are an added expense but it is highly recommended if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Less is more when it comes to business and casual head shots. Women don’t need a lot of make up like a model would or as in a fashion photo shoot. Natural make up works best as you would normally wear it. You can always add a bit more to darken the eyes and lips to give it a slightly different look. Hair can be worn straight or curly and I suggest you wear it so that you are comfortable and confident.
DO NOT get your color or cut done right before your head shot. Wait a week or two and let the color settle.

Should I get a hair cut / trim my beard (men)?
Wait a week and come see us after your hair cut. Your stylist might cut it too short and you don’t want that “just cut my hair” look for your image. Beards – trim it evenly so that it has that nicely groomed look.

Head Shot with Beard

Head Shot with Beard


Head Shot with Beard

Head Shot with Beard

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