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Social Media Headshots 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Perfecting Your Profile Picture

Social media has become an integral part of our personal and professional lives, and it’s more important than ever to establish a strong online presence that reflects your personal brand and professionalism. One of the key components of a strong social media presence is having a great headshot. Social media headshots are crucial in establishing credibility and trust online, and can make a positive first impression on potential clients, employers, or connections.

In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of social media headshots in personal branding and online presence, as well as the benefits of professional headshots over selfies or unprofessional headshots for social media profiles. With millions of people using social media platforms every day, it’s important to have a headshot that stands out and accurately represents who you are. So whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, or job seeker, a great social media headshot can help you make a lasting impression and achieve your goals online.

Why You Should Have Your Social Media Headshots Captured Professionally

Having a professional headshot for your social media profiles can make a big difference in how you’re perceived online. Here are some key benefits of having your social media headshots captured professionally:

  • Establishing credibility and trust online
  • Creating an engaging personal brand
  • Standing out among competitors with higher quality photos
  • Making a positive first impression on potential clients, employers, or connections

Establishing yourself as a credible and trustworthy individual or business is essential in today’s highly competitive online world. But how do you achieve this? The answer lies in presenting yourself in a polished and professional light, and professional headshots can help you do just that.

A high-quality headshot demonstrates an attention to detail and a commitment to quality, which can help build trust with potential clients or employers. By investing in a professional headshot, you’re taking a step towards establishing yourself as a serious and credible presence online.

Your personal brand is what sets you apart from others online, and a professional headshot can help you create a compelling and engaging personal brand. By capturing your personality and unique style, a great headshot can help you connect with your audience and stand out in a crowded online marketplace.

In a world where anyone can take a selfie or snap a quick photo with their phone, having a professionally captured headshot can set you apart from your competitors. It shows that you’re serious about your online presence and committed to presenting yourself in the best possible light.

And let’s not forget about the power of a first impression. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. A great headshot can help you make a positive and memorable first impression on potential clients, employers, or connections. By presenting yourself in a professional and polished way, you’re more likely to capture the attention of the people you’re trying to reach and make a lasting impression.

social media headshots

How to Prepare for Your Social Media Headshot To Get The Best Portraits Possible

When it comes to getting the best social media headshot, preparation is key. As a professional photographer, I’ve worked with countless clients to capture high-quality headshots that enhance their online presence and personal branding efforts. The following are some tips I recommend to help you prepare for your headshot session so you can get the best portraits possible from your session.

Selecting the best outfit to wear

Choosing the right outfit for your headshot session is crucial. For men, I recommend a well-tailored suit or dress shirt and tie combination. Avoid bold patterns or loud colors that could distract from your face. For women, a tailored blouse or dress is a great choice. Solid colors that complement your skin tone work best, and I suggest avoiding anything too revealing or distracting.

To help my clients make the best outfit choices, I’ve created blog posts specifically designed to help men and women select the best attire for their headshot session. You can check out my post on men’s headshot attire and my post on what to wear for female headshots to get more detailed advice.

social media headshots

Makeup and grooming tips for both men and women


Looking your best for your headshot session is crucial to getting high-quality portraits that will enhance your online presence and personal branding efforts. That’s why grooming is such an essential part of preparing for your headshot session.

To help you look your best, I recommend that you get a fresh haircut (and color) 3-5 days prior to the session. Men should shave the day of their photoshoot to ensure that they look clean and well-groomed. If you’d like to wear makeup, I strongly recommend you keep it simple and natural-looking as anything too bold or trendy might make your headshot look dated in the future.

The important thing is getting everything as perfect in camera as possible. That’s why, as part of your headshot session with me, I offer the services of a highly skilled makeup artist. This service is available for both men and women and can help ensure that your headshot looks as good as possible straight out of camera.

While some photographers rely on digital editing to fix complexion or grooming flaws, I believe that correcting these things using traditional techniques always leads to superior quality portraits. That’s why I always recommend you include these services as part of your social media headshot session. 

Tailoring Your Social Media Headshots To The Platform You Use

When it comes to social media headshots, there are several types of portraits that work well for different platforms. By considering the unique features of each platform, you can choose a headshot that will help you stand out and make a positive impression on your audience.

For example, if you use Twitter frequently, consider getting a studio-style headshot on a white background to match the white background of the Twitter app and website. This can help your profile photo blend seamlessly with the platform, making it look more professional and polished. Similarly, if you’re active on LinkedIn, consider a headshot that’s more formal and business-oriented, with a solid background and professional attire.

headshot for twitter profile
Note how I use my headshot on a white background for my Twitter profile

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a headshot for your website with a black background, having your headshot captured on a black background could be the best choice. This will help your photo blend seamlessly with the dark background of your website and create a cohesive look and feel.

When choosing a headshot for social media, it’s also important to consider the unique features of each platform. For example, Instagram is a visually focused platform, so you might choose a headshot that’s more creative and visually striking. On the other hand, Facebook is a more casual platform, so you might opt for a more relaxed and approachable headshot.

Examples Of Great Social Media Headshots

Social media headshots are a critical component of personal branding efforts for professionals and businesses alike. Let’s take a look at some great examples and what makes them effective.

One great example is Alex, an actor who had her headshot captured environmentally for a casual and relaxed feel. Her expression is captivating and helps grab the attention of talent scouts. This headshot works well for her personal brand, which is focused on her natural charm and talent. By showcasing her relaxed and approachable personality, Alex is able to connect with her audience and stand out in a competitive industry.

Social media headshot for Alex

Another great example is Max, a bay area mural artist. Since most of his business is B to B, we chose to photograph him with a jacket and collared shirt on a white background. This makes his headshot professional-looking for working with corporate clients and also makes his headshot look like it belongs on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. This headshot works well for his personal brand, which is focused on his expertise and professionalism. By presenting himself as polished and professional, Max is able to build trust with potential clients and partners.

social media headshots
Social media headshot for Max

Finally, we have Benekar, a doctor and thought leader in the medical industry. We photographed her on a black background and with fashion-forward attire for a profile photo that showcases her unique personal brand. This headshot works well for her personal brand, which is focused on her innovative ideas and approach to healthcare. By presenting herself as stylish and forward-thinking, Benekar is able to stand out from her peers and capture the attention of potential clients and partners.


Social media headshot for Benekar

All of these headshots share a few key characteristics that make them effective for personal branding efforts. They are all high-quality and well-lit, with a focus on the subject’s unique personality and style. By capturing their authentic selves in a professional and polished way, these individuals are able to connect with their audiences and make a lasting impression online.

Tips For Effectively Leveraging Social Media Headshots

Social media headshots are a powerful tool for enhancing your personal brand and making a positive impression on your audience. But how can you use them effectively to maximize their impact? Let’s take a look at some best practices for using social media headshots.

First, consider how you can incorporate your headshots into your online presence and personal branding efforts. Make sure to use them consistently across all your social media platforms and website, and consider using them in other marketing materials such as business cards or flyers. By using your headshots consistently and across multiple channels, you leverage visual consistency to better connect with people as they get to know you online.

social media headshots

Second, it’s important to use best practices when using headshots on specific social media platforms. For example, on LinkedIn, your headshot should be professional and polished, with a solid background and business attire. On Instagram, you may want to use a more casual and creative headshot that showcases your personality and style. Make sure to research the best practices for each platform and tailor your headshot strategy accordingly.

Another important consideration is to ensure that your headshots are high-quality and well-lit. Make sure they are not pixelated or blurry and that the lighting is flattering and showcases your best features. By investing in high-quality headshots, you can ensure that they make a positive impact on your personal brand and help you stand out in a crowded online marketplace.

Finally, don’t be afraid to update your headshots periodically to keep them fresh and relevant. Your personal brand and style may evolve over time, and your headshots should reflect that. By staying up-to-date with your headshots, you can ensure that they continue to enhance your online presence and personal branding efforts. I find that it’s best to update  headshots at  least every 5 years to make sure that your headshot stays fresh and consistent with your branding. 

Social Media Headshot Photographer Jason Guy

As a social media headshot photographer, I know how important it is to establish a strong online presence. That’s why I’m passionate about providing high-quality headshots that help professionals and businesses stand out on social media.

With my expertise and experience, I can help you capture the perfect headshot that showcases your unique personality and style. From selecting the best outfit to wear, to grooming tips and background selection, I’ll guide you through every step of the process to ensure that you look your best.

Social media headshot photographer
Jason Guy

So if you’re ready to enhance your personal brand and make a positive first impression on potential clients or employers, I encourage you to schedule a professional social media headshot session with me. Don’t settle for subpar selfies or unprofessional headshots. Instead, invest in yourself and your online presence today with a headshot that truly captures your essence. Contact me now to schedule your session and take the first step towards a more polished and professional online presence!

Jason Guy

I am a portrait photographer based out of Sonoma, California. I create portraits for people of all ages with the goal of making images that are timeless. Portraits you will look back on decades from now, and still love them just as much then as you do today. While flattering lighting and pose are important, capturing how others see you is what I ultimately strive for.

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