Whether you’re deep in the world of BigLaw, leaving a firm behind to start your own firm, or proud of your scrappy solo practice, you need an excellent headshot. Your headshot supports your branding efforts, tells clients what they can expect when they retain you.
Yet many lawyers find themselves overwhelmed by the process. They worry they’ll look bad, that the headshot will be too expensive, or that marketing themselves will feel silly. The truth is that in today’s image-driven world, you can’t neglect your headshot. You need one now. Here’s how to make sure your headshot stands out in all the right ways.
1. Go for Classic Styles
Sooner or later, everything goes out of style. There’s no such thing as a truly timeless wardrobe. Some pieces will stand the test of time better than others. Those are the ones you need to choose for your headshot. A tailored, fitted suit or dress and blazer in a neutral hue will produce a headshot you can use for years to come. That saves you money, and prevents a dated-looking appearance.
2. Add a bit of Personality
Classic stylings look best in attorney headshots, but that doesn't mean your image has to fade into hundreds of images just like it. Add something that captures your personality. Do you always wear a colorful scarf? Is red your signature color? Then wear it in your photoshoot. Your photographer can help you strike the right balance between personality and professionalism, so ask for help if you’re uncertain.
3. Be Who You Are
It’s easy to find lots of guides on how to look good in photos. They instruct women to always wear blush and lipstick, and tell men that jewelry is always forbidden. Though these are generally good instructions, they miss an important point: your portrait should look like you. If you hate makeup and never wear it, then don’t change just for a picture. If you’ve always worn an earring and your law firm culture supports it, then keep it in. If you wear glasses, wear them for your session. Clients should be able to easily recognize you from your headshot. The goal is to look like the best version of yourself--not to conceal who you are.
4. Choose the Right Setting
Most lawyers choose to have their portraits taken in their offices, but the right setting depends on the way you practice law and the image you wish to capture. Talk to your photographer about which location offers the best lighting, and is most consistent with your branding. Steer clear of anything that looks unnatural. If you practice out of your home office and meet with clients at home, for example, renting an office space solely for pictures is a needless expense that doesn’t accurately depict the way you work.
5. Hire a Professional
It’s a mistake to underestimate the value of expertly crafted attorney headshots. You might think the image looks passable, but to everyone else, a novice headshot screams novice legal work. Clients will think you don’t care enough to invest in quality photography. Competitors will think your firm can’t quite cut it. Work with a photographer who specializes in legal headshots and you’ll get a professional headshot that perfectly captures your work.
6. Get Comfortable
Most people feel a little anxious about having their picture taken. They worry about how they’ll look, and feel uncomfortable posing. This is normal. So taking a few steps to get comfortable beforehand can help. Try reading a funny story, taking 10 deep breaths, then thinking about your biggest recent victory. Sometimes it’s helpful to do a little work immediately before the shoot since it reminds you of why you committed to the career you’ve chosen.
7. Try Different Poses
You’ll give yourself more options if you try several different poses. Try smiling, laughing, and looking serious. Try standing and sitting, and capturing various angles. If your photographer suggests something, be willing to try it--even if it feels awkward. Sometimes the poses that feel the most contrived when you’re shooting them end up looking the most natural.
8. Know Your Brand
When you have headshots made, it’s easy to copy what you’ve seen before. But you don’t have to cross your arms, stand in front of a bookcase, and look very, very serious. The right portrait is one that complements your branding. So think about how you work. What is unique about your practice? What do your clients like most? Discuss this with your photographer. They can help you craft a portrait that conveys subtle messages about what a client can expect from you. This ensures your attorney headshot will stand out from the crowd of boring photos of people in suits.