Headshots 101, part 2: How Often Should You Update Your Headshot and How Many Do You Need?

Your headshot needs to tell a reliable version of your true story. When your truth changes, your headshot must follow suit. So whenever you change your style, your haircut, or your visible tattoos, get a fresh headshot so that the story the viewer engages in matches the person they meet in person.

How many you need depends on upon how many platforms you present yourself. For example you need different images for all of the following: LinkedIn, dating sites, resumes, articles, blogs, actors' headshots, and conferences. (Note: conference speakers need more photos for their media kits—one on a black backdrop, one on a white backdrop, and one black and white image).


A good headshot eschews trends. Fashion is for today, but style is forever. Go for style. Fashion is about gimmicks (sparkle frames, glittertastic backdrops, strangely softened focus). Style is about stepping out of your own way and letting the real person shine. With that in mind, a good headshot is a head-and-shoulders shot of you facing the camera, with smooth even lighting and no dramatic shadows or raccoon eyes. If the image is in colour, the colour should be reasonably true to life. Look directly into the camera. The focus should be on the center of your eyes.

The background should be a clean solid color, or blurred, which means it’s shot with a high-quality camera with a shallow depth of field, which makes you stand out. Even for the outside shots, the image should still be about you - we don’t need to see your entire surrounding in detail. Your audience has enough attention to engage in one visual story. Only one. So make it be your story, not the story of the spot you’re standing in.

Lenka Sluneckova