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Executive Headshots: 4 Reasons Why Lighting Matters

Effective executive headshots are a lot more nuanced than many might initially think. A lot of considerations go into crafting the perfect shot, and there is a reason why having a professional photo is far better than using a phone camera or poor quality shot in lieu of an executive headshot.

One of the big differentiators is lighting. This is absolutely essential for a great photo, but so often overlooked. Lighting can make a huge difference to a photo, and it definitely matters in the long run if you want a real return on investment. Here are a few reasons why lighting is so crucial for a headshot:

1. Approachability

Lighting is essential for creating a headshot that is approachable, and warm. Whether you are aiming to have a more serious look (i.e. less smiling, not as emotional) or you want to have a warm, more animated shot — lighting will create that effect.

No matter what your goal is, low quality or poor lighting can make the headshot look unapproachable, especially for viewers who do not know you well. You want people to feel comfortable learning more about you, and approach you to talk, so it is essential that your executive headshot conveys this.

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2. Professional

Whether you are using your executive headshot for networking, social media, or just to build your brand, your headshot has to look professional. You want to inspire trust and comfort right away, while still keeping a professional demeanor. Lighting is usually the make-or-break element when it comes to conveying this. Poorly lit executive headshots, or photos in general, create the opposite of the desired effect. These photos off as careless, and it makes it difficult to establish a visual connection with your audience.

Whether someone is seeing your executive headshot for the first time or the tenth time, you want them to have a good impression every time. A well-lit and well-executed executive headshot helps accomplish this, and provides so much more return on investment than a blurry, out-of-focus headshot.

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3. Inviting

Unfortunately, poorly lit photos can do more harm than good in building an inviting and warm brand. No matter what kind of impression you are trying to make, you ultimately want an executive headshot that invites others to talk to you. There is a fine line between personable and professional, and lighting can really help make more of an impact.

If you are not sure exactly what you intend to achieve with your executive headshots, work with your photographer. They can make recommendations on the best lighting that will help you look inviting without losing a professional touch, and work with you on crafting the best headshot possible.

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4. Confidence

All of the previous elements come together to create this last point. Lighting is essential because it helps you feel confident, which, in turn, helps your executive headshot seem confident, professional, and approachable. A poorly lit, blurry, or out-of-focus headshot does the opposite, and it might not make the impact you want it to.

Confidence is often a difficult emotion to capture, but well-lit executive headshots are a great way to communicate this. Not only will you feel more confident throughout the photo shoot knowing that your photos are professionally lit, but that feeling of comfort and confidence will shine through in the executive headshots themselves.

While it might seem tempting to use that blurry old social media photo as your executive headshot, resist the urge. You do your brand a disservice by using these photos, rather than a professional headshot. Executive headshots can help you create a brand that is rooted in approachability, confidence, and professionalism, making it a valuable brand asset that will give you a long-term return on investment.

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Donis Perkins