Whether it’s a headshot or a social media avatar, often the first glimpse your future employer will get of you comes from a picture. Sometimes the vibe that picture gives him can determine whether you ever get in the door for an interview. So when you’re choosing your LinkedIn avatar picture of the photo included with your resume, you must choose the right one.

Headshots are just a visual representation of your self. You can give yourself the best chance of capturing an accurate one by setting yourself up for a quality headshot shoot.

Let’s start with the basic elements that of any decent headshot.

Elements of a Good Headshot

Good lighting

First off, make sure that you have sufficient lighting. In order for the camera to pick up your features and expression accurately, you need enough lighting on your face. Hairline lighting can also highlight detailing when your photographer adds lighting just behind or above your head. Whenever possible, natural lighting is better than artificial lighting so ask your photographer about taking the shoot outside.

Use a solid, neutral color

When choosing your background, it’s best to use a solid, neutral color. That’s not always possible, especially if you’re taking the photo in a natural setting. However, editing can always put the background slightly out of focus, leaving the focus on the most important thing in the shot: you.

Also, remember that the way you put yourself together that day will make a big impact on whether you have a good headshot or not.

Avoid wearing short sleeves

Avoid short sleeves because they can cut off your arms and make them look unflattering. Avoid busy patterns or designs that draw attention away from you and onto your outfit.

Complement your skin tone

Wear colors that complement your natural skin tone. Avoid black and whites unless you’re dealing with a professional photographer who understands lighting very well and has the right equipment to light you for these colors. Otherwise, stick with either cool or warm tones depending on your own skin tone.

Tone down on accessories

Finally, tone down your jewelry or accessories during the shoot. You don’t want those distracting. Makeup, on the other hand, should be turned up. The natural look isn’t going to show up on the shot. Amplify your usual makeup with more eyeliner, foundation, and a brighter lip.For guys, makeup doesn’t come naturally but you may need a little something to not look pale and washed out through the lens. Male or female, consider hiring a makeup professional for your headshot.

The Secret of A Perfect Headshot

All of the suggestions above will give you the elements of a good headshot. However, great headshots come from capturing your essence through the lens. Whether attached to a resume or on your website, your headshot is supposed to express who you are to someone who isn’t in the room with you. Often amateur headshots provide a overly posed or stylized version of yourself instead of capturing just who you are.

To avoid that, try to be comfortable in every way. Your photographer should have an approachable personality. Make sure you feel at home in what you’re wearing. Don’t attempt to be something you’re not or a side of yourself that you wouldn’t show to the person you’re showing this picture to. For example, if these headshots are for your business, you’re not going to take photos showing your family side.

Most of all, you should be happy. Think of things that excite you. Imagine eating something delicious or looking someone you love. All of this will come across when you see your headshots.