7 Professional Headshot Tips for Women: Look Great and Get Noticed

headshot of female entrepreneur

You’re ready to exchange your outdated headshot for a better photo but how can you make sure you end up with one that you’ll love – and that will get you noticed?  As an experienced headshot and brand photographer in Sacramento I’ve helped numerous business women up-level their online presence with scroll-stopping images – and here I’m sharing how I do it with you!  Follow my professional headshot tips and you’ll not only look good in your photos, but will make a fab first impression – one that will help you stand out over your competition, grab the attention of your ideal clients and grow your business!



#1: Consider who you want to impress with your headshots.

Ultimately, the purpose of your images is to convey something about you to your audience.  What type of people are in your audience and how do you want to be perceived?  Super professional?  More laid back?  Create your look with these things in mind.


collage of three women's headshots by Robin Collette Photography; images demonstrating professional headshot tips


#2: Wear an outfit that makes you feel amazing.

If you feel like a rockstar in what you’re wearing, you’re going to show up like rockstar! And that confidence will radiate through your images. That being said, also choose clothing that fits well and suits your personality and profession.

Generally, tops with simple necklines and simple accessories are best. However, if you and your brand are more bold, then don’t be afraid to make more bold choices in your attire.  Just don’t take it too far as you want to keep the focus on you and not what you’re wearing.

Additionally, be sure your clothing is wrinkle and stain free!  Will you be drinking coffee in the car on the way to your session? You may want to bring what you plan to wear in a garment bag and change into it when you arrive.

If you’re having trouble deciding what to wear, bring an additional outfit or two and ask the advice of your photographer.

I always like to consult with my clients before the session to help them choose outfits that will work best.


#3: Wear colors that compliment your skin tone as well as your brand colors.

Choose clothing and accessories in colors that look good on you AND go well with your brand.   When everything is coordinated on your website and social pages, it’s going to add that extra umph and make you stand out.

Solid, more neutral colors typically photograph well, however, don’t be afraid to choose a muted print or a more bold color if it looks good on you and matches your brand colors.


#4: Create a camera-ready hair and makeup look.

Ideally, hire a professional stylist to do your hair and makeup if you are able.  This will not only give you one less thing to think about, but you’ll be sure you’re camera ready.

If you’re opting to do it yourself, here are a few tips to follow:


  • If you’re in need of a haircut or color, make your appointment at least one week before your photo session.  You want to have time to return to the salon if you need any adjustments.
  • Use products such as hairspray to help minimize stray hairs.



  • Stay away from products that add shimmer.  They can reflect light in unflattering way in your images.
  • Use a primer and concealer to help smooth out fine lines and cover blemishes or dark circles.
  • Apply your makeup in “good” light.  Using natural light, like in front of a window works great.  Make sure your face is lit evenly and one side is not shaded (i.e., face the window).

For additional makeup tips, watch this video.


#5: Don’t say “Cheese”!

You want your smile to look natural, so don’t be afraid to practice in the mirror.  However, keep in mind that a forced smile actually uses a different part of the brain and different muscles in your face. A natural smile will engage the muscles around the cheeks and eyes in addition to the mouth.

So, instead of “trying” to smile, giggle or think of someone who makes you happy.  If you’re working with a photographer, a skilled one will know how to bring a natural smile out of you.


business portrait of female taken by Robin Collette Photography; natural smile for professional headshot



#6: Know where you’ll be using your headshots.

Where the photo is going to live matters! Do you need a landscape image with lots of negative space so you can use it as your website or facebook banner? Do you need a close up shot to use as a profile photo on Instagram or Linkedin?

It’s important to communicate this to your photographer so they will provide the appropriate crops for you. If you’re not entirely sure, then make sure you ask them for a variety in both landscape (horizontal) and portrait (vertical) directions.


#7: Update your headshots often!

I’ve heard stories of people using the same headshot for decades.  While that alone won’t make or break your business, here are a few reasons why having a recent, stand-out headshot is important.


It creates authenticity.

Not only do you want people to be able to recognize you, you want to come across as genuine. If how you look in person drastically differs from how you look in your photos, it creates a disconnect and may come across as inauthentic.


It allows more flexibility in the outfit you choose.

I’ve often seen it recommended to wear something “timeless” for your headshots, staying away from current trends.  The idea is to prevent your photos from looking dated.

Personally, I’d rather you choose an outfit that you love and that shows some personality.  If that means a more trendy look, so be it.  We’re going to update your photos regularly, so it won’t matter!


It boosts your confidence.

While you may still like your current headshot, there’s still just something about using a fresh image – and the process of creating it – that can make you feel more confident.

This is one of the reasons I love what I do!  My headshot and brand sessions are about more than pretty pictures.  It is my goal to take you through an experience that will help you show up confidently as the face of your brand.


It provides new content for social media.

If you opt for more than a single headshot, or upgrade to a brand session then you can end up with enough images to post on social media content for some time.  For example, my Signature Brand Session comes with 60 images.  (You can find more details about this session HERE).

You can read more about brand sessions and the benefits of professional photography for your business HERE.


collage of professional headshots and brand images of female entrepreneur showing professional headshot tips


Are you ready to put these professional headshot tips into action?

If you’re a female entrepreneur in the Sacramento area in need of new photos for your business, check out my headshot and brand photography services HERE.




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