Professional headshots: are they worth the money?

Are professional headshots worth the money?

If you’re here, then you’re probably wondering if you should invest in a professional headshot. And you’re probably also wondering if you should trust the words of a professional headshot photographer.

Those are two very valid things to wonder.

But regardless of my bias as a headshot photographer, I wanted to take you through some of the things that DO make a professional headshot worth the money…

Posing, expression coaching, and everything that helps you look fabulous.

The single most important thing a photographer will do during your headshot or branding session is help you look GREAT!

Now, this is done in a few ways, but I want to talk about the interaction from your photographer.

You can set up a great camera, great lighting, a timer and a remote. You can be wearing the best outfit and have your hair and makeup done professionally.

But it’s the guidance, direction, conversation and timing of a photographer that will capture you authentically.

Having that conversation and direction will give you varied results from laughing to serious. To nailing that ‘in-between’ smile, and finding the right tilt of your head, the perfect angle of your body, and the most suitable crop length.

Melbourne barrister headshot of woman smiling to camera wearing a button up blue jacket and glasses.
A melbourne professional smiles to camera wearing a green tshirt for a linkedin headshot. It was taken on a green background in a melbourne portrait studio.
Professional doctor portrait of man wearing white doctors coat and smiling to camera.
Melbourne actress angela laughs to camera in a studio actor headshot. She wears a navy collared shirt and is photographed on a navy background.
Corporate headshot of melbourne man taken on a grey background.
Melbourne business woman smiles to camera in colourful and relaxed studio headshot

Tailored pre-shoot advice.

Getting ready for your headshot can be stressful.

Another part of your headshot investment will be the pre-photoshoot advice that your photographer can give you.

Your photographer should be able to provide you with general and tailored wardrobe advice, suggestions on colours to wear, hair and makeup tips, and pre-shoot preparation.

My sessions all come with a pre-shoot guide, with some extended shoots including my posing guide, and a pre-shoot zoom call to help us plan the shoot together.

A visual reference to Julia's posing guide.

Professional equipment & studio spaces.

Different photographers have their preferred setups. Some travel on location with a portable studio, some shoot outdoors only, others have a dedicated studio space, and some offer all the above!

Regardless of where your photographer takes your photograph, their choice in equipment (professional camera body, lenses, lighting and lighting modifiers) comes at a price.

High quality gear needs regular servicing, updating and insurance.

High end retouching that looks authentic.

In my opinion, the best headshot photographs don’t look ‘retouched’. You certainly don’t want to spend money on a branding portrait that looks nothing like you (that defeats the point!).

Instead, look for a photographer who can capture you authentically, and won’t do anything crazy during post-production (unless you request it!).

A professionally retouched photo won’t look ‘retouched’. You want to look like you on your best day. There’s no one filter that will do that for you – a professional retouched will address every photograph by hand, and give attention to small details in a precise way.

Professional linkedin headshot of melbourne barrister who smiles confidently, wearing glasses.

An experience, and one you should enjoy.

Remember that you’re not paying for simply the end headshot.

Your headshot is worth the money because you’re having an entire experience.

The photoshoot should be an uplifting experience, and one that you enjoy. Professional studios will have extra comforts (like refreshments, climate control, various backgrounds, hair and makeup options etc).

Find a photographer that you get along with on a personal level, and it’ll be like hanging out with a new friend (one that makes you look awesome, and gives you a boost of confidence!).

Melbourne actor laughs to camera on pink background in relaxed actor headshot.
Melbourne actress looks over her shoulder with a serious and relaxed expression in black and white headshot.
Modern corporate headshot of Melbourne man taken on an orange background
Personal branding author portrait of woman in winter coat, smiling and looking away from the camera in an outdoor setting.

Your headshot is an investment in yourself.

I’ve found that a headshot is more than just a linkedIn profile addition. Headshots capture you at your best. They portray you in a certain way, and showcase your personality.

A photographer is trained to bring you out of your shell, to make you look great in front of the camera, and give you an experience that you can remember.

Selfies, photographers on timers, and friends can all get the job done. But is the end result the same?

I’ve written how to find a good headshot photographer here – check it out!

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Julia Nance

Julia Nance is a headshot and portrait photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her vibrant creativity is inspired by her experiences. From photographing whales underwater to travelling in Europe. With a vast background in a range of photographic areas, it is Julia’s natural ability to connect with her subjects that ultimately drew her to the art of portraiture.Corporate Headshots | Personal Branding | Actor Headshots | LinkedIn Headshots |
Melbourne actress smiling for a relaxed actor headshot. She wears a blue blazer and is in front of an earthy brown background in a studio.
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Portrait of Julia Nance on a pink background, wearing a pink shirt and holding a camera with a quirky expression (fish face).

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