It takes experience and knowledge to create a stunning portrait. There are technical challenges as there are many different light sources to choose from, there is clothing to be taken into considerations and there is the most important skill every good headshot photographer needs to acquire: The ability and necessity to connect with the protagonist to uncover his or her genuine—and often hidden—personality.

Can Anyone be a Professional Headshot Photographer?

There is a lot of headshot photographers out there, and to be fair, in times when cameras have become cheap and affordable, retouching software has become easy to use and self-promotion has become technically easy, the temptation to start up a business as a photographer seems too easy and tempting. After all, the photography profession still has some of that glamour attached to it which it used to have decades ago, and Instagram and other social networking tools have helped it tremendously to gain back of that sparkling fascination.

Good Photographers are Personality Specialists

However, reality—as often in life—is quite different, and although I love my job and I’d never want to do anything different, I know too well that being a professional—and good—photographer is more than just taking pretty pictures which can be pimped up in an easy to use filter application.

The Professional Photographer’s Toolbox: Experience, Technical Know-how, Open-Mindedness and Genuine Empathy

A truly great photographer possesses a variety of positive attributes that help him deal with a variety of different characters he works with: experience, trustworthiness, kindness, open-mindedness and empathy, to name a few only. Most of these attributes have developed during many years of work, and they form the fundament of a successful interaction between the photographer and the protagonist which in turn is the basis for great image results.

Quantity vs. Quality

Unfortunately, however, there are too many professional headshot photographers out there who base their business on quantity rather than quality. Quick and painless shoots rather than time-consuming, meticulous and ‘perfectionised’ image-creating processes. The results speak for themselves. The internet is full of bad examples of how a good headshot shouldn’t be. Just browse around and make up your own opinion!