When it comes to finding true career happiness, there are plenty of obstacles to overcome: dealing with a work bully, finding a mentor and closing the gender gap. And while those major challenges might seem more pressing during your day-to-day, sometimes it’s the small things — like having a professional headshot — that can get you to #girlboss status faster than you can update your LinkedIn profile. But a great headshot is way more than wearing the perfect outfit or finding ideal lighting for a selfie. Which is exactly why we caught up with photographer Amy Randall of Amy Randall Photography. Amy shares her top five insider tips on how to make your headshot *wow* future bosses, colleagues and clients.

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1. First impressions matter. Smartphones make it easy for everyone to feel like a photographer. But when it comes to your professional portrait, you’ll want it done right. “Put down the cell phone and hire a professional. It’s all about the lighting, and a professional photographer will work their magic to put you in the best light possible,” Amy says.

2. Pick the perfect background. Don’t think that a traditional background will be boring. Good lighting and a solid background will actually make your photo pop. “The lighting and neutral background of a professional portrait will stand out in the selfie-laden world of social media, especially on a site like LinkedIn, where you can scroll through a sea of faces,” says Amy.

Or, use your headshot to show a little bit more of your personality. Amy adds, “For a more contemporary look and personal touch, consider an environmental portrait. These can be done at your home, office or outside. Being in your environment gives the world more insight into who you are and tells a bit of your story. In these situations, a professional can supplement the natural light and limit the focus on the background to help put your best face forward.”


3. Consider your clothing choices. We know. It always comes down to the outfit. But good news here: Amy says we don’t have to sweat through something that’s totally not us just to get a great picture. She advises, “Dress up a little, but be comfortable. Wear what you might wear to a business networking event or a party where you hope to meet new people. Stick to solid colors or neutrals and avoid busy prints, patterns and sleeveless tops.” Show off your personal style by wearing one piece of jewelry.

4. A little makeup goes a long way. The key here is *a little*. No need to put your club face on, but Amy does suggest adding a little bit of makeup to your routine. She says, “Even if you don’t wear makeup normally, put on a little lipstick — it brings more color to your whole face.” We would also recommend mascara and a little bit of blush or bronzer, so that you don’t risk looking washed out.


5. Do your research. “Check out some local photographer’s portfolios online and find one whose work looks the most like the image you want to present,” suggests Amy. Don’t be afraid to do your homework and compare your options too. The right photographer will be more than willing to help you through the process of finding the right fit.

Show us your professional shots by tagging @BritandCo!

(Photos via Amy Randall Photography)