How Much Editing Is Too Much For A Headshot?​

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How Much Editing Is Too Much For A Headshot?​

Edit Or Not To Edit A Headshot

Editing a headshot is one of those questions that has been going around since headshot photography started (whenever that was). Editing is also the main difference between headshot photography and portrait photography.

Let’s face it a selfie, that’s all you need for a headshot? How long is that going to take? All you have to do is point the camera at yourself and press click. Sounds good in theory, but you know that first shot won’t quite be right, or even the second. Before you know it you are on attempt number 50 before you get that halfway decent shot (that is of course unless you are an Instagram professional).

With your selfie ready it’s now time to go through the filters and editing options.

Selfie Harm

More and more we are becoming obsessed with the way that we look in headshots and portraits that we post to social media and are turning to online editing software or mobile phone apps.

I was shocked when I saw an article by the renown photographer Rankin which was entitled ‘Selfie Harm‘.

During the project Rankin took 15 portraits of teenagers and asked them to edit the portraits themselves to make them ready to be posted to social media. The worrying result was that, although the portraits had been taken by one of the countries top photographers, none of the teenagers left their portraits untouched. 

The most common adjustments were enhanced eyes, thinner noses and smoother skin which left some of the teenagers almost unrecognisable against the original portrait.

Being Authentic

You want a headshot that will make you look your best. That is why you have decided to use a professional headshot photographer after all. You already know that a photo taken using the bathroom mirror (yes we have all seen those on social media) isn’t going to do you any favours.

Here is the thing though. Your headshot need to be authentic. It needs to show who you really are along with the impression that you want to give out.

Being authentic means including warts, wrinkles and everything else that makes you who you are. It’s these things that make you the person that people can relate to and make you more approachable.

How Far Do You Go With Editing A Headshot?

There is a difference between a facial feature and something that isn’t.

As a basic rule of thumb I go down the route of if it won’t be there in two weeks it’s okay to edit. 

What does that mean? It means don’t worry about spots or stay strands of hair. These I will look at and edit out if they will enhance your headshot. Scars or other facial features will stay.

In some cases though it may even be a good idea to keep some of these features as well, especially for acting purposes. There is no point me editing out your spots if the role you are going for is a spotty teenager.

A Good Headshot Will Express Your Personality

For a good headshot your personality is more important than any editing. The main aim for a headshot is to create an image of you that people want to engage with.

A good headshot is all about your personality. It needs to express who you are. Your headshot needs to answer the questions of those who will look at it.

  •  Who is this person?
  •  Will I like this person?
  •  How easy is this person to work with?
  •  Can I trust this person?

How can you do that in a headshot? Well the good thing is that is the part that you don’t need to worry about. That’s my job.

It’s my job to make you feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera . It’s down to me to work out what lighting will work best for you.

We will work together to create a series of images the provide a range of different shots that show the aspects of you that you want to deliver.

Then it’s down to me to create the final image using just the right amount of editing.

Did You Enjoy This Article?

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If you would like to find out more about my headshot photography why not pop over to my headshot photography pages and have a look?

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