Everyone has a headshot – or at least they should. (That said, we’ve all seen oddly-cropped blurry pictures on LinkedIn, unfortunately.)

To the naked eye, a headshot is a headshot is a headshot, right?

Absolutely not. Your headshot is the most important professional photo you’ll ever take. It provides a first impression for potential employers, represents your professionalism, and gives your company credibility through professional images of the leadership team.

Skimping here could have a material negative impact on your career trajectory. If you use a blurry, awkwardly-cropped photo on LinkedIn, you may not get called for an interview. Go cheap on your company’s executive headshots and risk sending the wrong message about your company.

To get headshots right, you must hire an experienced, professional photographer that focuses on corporate headshots. But finding the right photographer for headshots is not like hiring any other type of photographer.

You’re looking for a true professional – your image is literally on the line.

Don’t settle for the wrong photographer for this important job. When you interview photographers, ask these questions – and listen carefully to the answers – to ensure your headshots turn out great.

1. Are you a full-time professional photographer?

A side hustle is great, but it’s not what you need for your professional persona. If photography – specifically business headshots – is not the photographer’s main gig, take a pass. You’re looking for a team that creates professional corporate headshots, full-time.

2. Do you focus on business photography?

Ideally the photographer does zero of these: wedding photography, newborn sessions, family holiday card photos, Insta of lunch, school photos. Zero. Nada. These skills do not transfer to headshot photography.

Ask to see a portfolio of their headshot photography for corporate clients. You want to see 12 different company shoots that use a white background with studio lights, and 12 environmental shoots (outdoors or in the office). You don’t want to be anybody’s “practice” to get more experience. You want to benefit from the experience they already have.

3. How many headshots do you take in a month?

This is a follow-up to the previous question. The right professional headshot photographer does hundreds – yes, hundreds! – of headshots each month.

4. How will I review proofs?

It’s critical to see the photos real-time on a screen during the shoot. It’s not enough to squint at a tiny image on the camera. It’s not okay to wait days until you see and select the shots. A professional corporate photographer brings a computer to review shots of each subject in real time. They have done this before; they know that there is always that one executive who hates his nose or prefers his “good side.” Been there, done that. Avoid surprises by hiring a pro.

5. Do you retouch the photos?

Even perfect-looking people need photo retouching. A good headshot photographer will retouch images to remove stray hairs, eye circles, a blemish, a wrinkle or two. They’ll use subtle techniques to make your best features “pop” so your headshot makes a great impression.

6. Do you have a brick-and-mortar location?

If you hire a new executive or someone has to miss “picture day,” you need somewhere they can go to get their off-schedule photo taken. A studio is the best bet for getting consistent backgrounds, lighting and poses for a series of executive photos. You don’t have time to wait around while a photographer tries to set up in a remote location.

7. How long will it take to get the final headshots?

A professional headshot photographer gets it done; it should not take weeks for your photos to be “ready.” They have retouching processes in place and are ready to finalize your shots and deliver them within a few days, max. The days of waiting a month for a photo are (long) over. Everything is digital.

8. Will I have unlimited rights to use the images?

You should specifically have unlimited, unrestricted rights to use the photos, forever. You should never have to go back to the photographer to get the “original” image or to ask for permission to use it beyond social media or your website. By the same token, unless you’re a professional model, you don’t want to see your headshot on the photographer’s brochure.

Choosing the right photographer can change your life.

Not to be (too) dramatic, but whether you’re creating your own profile to find your dream job, or organizing a shoot for your company’s website, the image you portray sets the tone for what’s next. Want to be a CEO? Get a photo like a CEO has (rather than that shot from ten years ago). Want to grow your company? Set the tone with professional photos of the leadership team. Set the bar high. See yourself differently.

A professional corporate headshot photographer helps you put your best face forward. Don’t settle for less.

About Korey Howell Photography Group

Korey Howell Photography Group is a well-established corporate photography studio in Austin, Texas, known for providing a professional and personable headshot photography experience resulting in dynamic, flattering portraits. The Korey Howell Photography Group team’s state-of-the-art photography, editing, and retouching skills have delivered corporate and individual portraits to thousands of happy clients. They offer on-location shoots and sessions at their studio in northwest Austin. www.koreyhowellphotography.com