Photographer Cherry Beesley believes corporate headshots are key in business, so what does your headshot say about you?

Having an image that portrays us in a professional manner reflects elements of our professional persona. We want to be taken seriously, but do we smile or not smile in the photograph? That is always a question I get asked.

The days of the old-style formal I think is disappearing. Less eyes front, shoulders square on, eyes wide trying not to blink at the flash capturing the fear we feel inside when someone points a camera directly at us and from such close quarters. I call it the “caught in headlight” look. That was just how it was and there are many who still prefer that look, I’m not knocking it and will always photograph a client how they wish to be seen.

Photographer Cherry Beesley

Familiarity breeds trust:

Like many of you I believe that business is built on people buying into each other. Respect and trust. Building relationships is key and those first impressions count (despite us being taught never to judge a book by its cover). Without the advantage of being face to face with a new client and with the internet managing most of our initial contacts our image has to say it all. We want to feel that we are approachable and dare I say it, likeable? No harm in that, after all we are all human and in the main, I feel we all really would just like to be liked (perhaps with a few exceptions (ex (US President))?! I don’t need to see a stern expression in a formal headshot to appreciate this person takes their job seriously.

Capturing naturally an element of a person’s personality is, I feel, important. Something of their spirit or the essence of them, what makes them tick? Could be the slight tilt of the head, the way a smile is never far from their mouth or eyes, a slight lift of the corner on one side of the mouth, or even just the natural position someone holds their hands when standing. None of it is wrong, it is them and that is the part I feel is great to see, capture and portray.

Be creative with your backdrop:

The background doesn’t always have to be white. It could be something that reflects an element of the business, as we would call it “lifestyle”.

Having captured so many people in my time as a personal branding photographer it has led me to ask very key questions before we even start; “How do we want to be portrayed” and “what does our image say about us”?

The importance of natural light:

Utilising natural light and in a relaxed manner each client gets captured in a formal way and also, if possible, a personable way, the choice of which image they then chose is up to them. It’s about being comfortable with how you perceive yourself and how you want to be portrayed.

So far I’m happy to report that clients have chosen the image that reflects something personal of them and as for the smiling or not smiling? Well, that is just Simply up to you.

Offering the full range of photographic services, find out more about Cherry’s work at


To smile or not to smile?

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