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Choosing the Right Photographer for Your Headshot: What to look for

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Headshot photography in Dubai

A photographer speaks a thousand words at a time. For professional growth, every click of the shutter matters. In this case, only a photographer can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.

If you desire to shine in a sea of faces, choosing headshot photography can be a pivotal decision. Now, let's explore the key factors to consider when selecting a headshot photographer who can skillfully capture your unique essence in each frame!

What is the purpose of a headshot?

A headshot matters for every professional individual. When you consider starting your own startup or furthering your professional development in any field, you must capture some enthralling shots that fully represent your professionalism.

A headshot acts as a window that reveals the subject's professional persona and lengthens the impact of their first impression. It initially shapes the employer's or client's perception of the subject at a glance.

Whether you are an actor, model, business professional, or social media influencer, a headshot is essential in every field. You can think of it as your visual business card to present the world with your best self.

In this social era, your online presence can be a major asset. The more your audience can see you, the more they will respect and be curious about you. This is where your personal branding enters the picture at this point.

Your headshot is featured on your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram profiles, making you stand out in a crowd and promoting deep connections. It also serves as your ticket to casting calls and auditions in the entertainment industry, allowing casting directors to see your true essence.

Ultimately, a headshot is not a picture but a gateway to opportunity, recognition, and personal branding.

Corporate photography for a lady in Dubai

Is it worth getting a professional headshot?

Nothing would be better than a headshot if you want to demonstrate your competence, self-assurance, and approachability throughout the professional world. It can be a wise choice, though.

However, let us logically justify it before concluding its worth. Start with the quote-

"Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression - with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing." 一 Natalie Massenet, a British-American fashion entrepreneur.

No one should pass up this opportunity because it will lead to new heights. Whether it is on LinkedIn, a company website, or a social media profile, a professional headshot sets the tone for a good first impression.

If you take a polished headshot, a powerful professional tool, then you compete in the fierce job market. It allows you to stand out from the crowd, define your brand, and make a lasting impression on potential employers, clients, or partners.

People are more likely to connect and engage with someone they can visually identify. You may never have imagined that it would open doors and present opportunities. So, yes, it's definitely worth it.

Best headshot photographers in the UAE

What To Look For When Choosing A Professional Headshot Photographer?

There are numerous lists for selecting the best headshot photographer, and we will go through them all. But before that, the most important factor to consider is how the photographer actively listens to you and takes exactly the shots that you want.

We will not stop there, though—there are other things you absolutely must look for as well.

Identify your needs and goals

Photographer requirements vary depending on your goals and the type of photography you require. It lets you discuss it to make them understand your vision, preferences, and intended use of photos.

Whether you're an aspiring actor, model, or even business professional, you know the images should showcase the versatility you've.

Professional Headshot photographers in Dubai

Research photographers and narrow them down

In the world of photography, a diverse array of photographers specialize in distinct areas such as food, fashion, and product photography. But if you capture your headshot for LinkedIn or other social media, you don't need the headshot specialist, but the one who has an idea to click professionally, even if it'll be a little bit.

On the contrary, if you want to make yourself more than just Instagram-ready, shortlist those who are promotion-ready. For example, you can conduct research using Google Search and several online directories, including Yelp, Trustpilot, Yellow Pages, and others, where several customers have listed their authentic reviews. This lets you narrow down your choices for the ideal headshot photographer; even if you choose the photographer who is ranked higher, it is clear that they did something great. But there’s more to consider when you conduct research, such as-

  • The compatibility in pricing based on the packages

  • If their price fits your budget

  • The hidden charges

  • Studio environment

  • Refund Policies

However, don't try to find the one who is a jack-of-all-trades photographer; that won't be the correct choice for you.

A group corporate photograph which has been taken at our studio in Dubai, best headshot photography in Dubai

Photographers' expertise and specialization

Photographers can be generalistic or specialized. For example, if you're an actor or model, you need a specialist who knows which type of portrait or headshot attracts casting directors.

If you want to assess a photographer’s level of expertise, you should consider their capacity for creativity, their familiarity with photographic techniques, changing photographic technology, and how acute their sense of form, shape, and color is.

Of course, don’t forget to look for good communication skills that will make your photographs more compelling.

A heasdhot of a pilot in Dubai

Take a close look at their portfolio

The worth of every photographer is measured by their extensive working portfolio, which forms the foundation of their photography. Choosing a headshot photographer is a deeply personal decision. When you are familiar with their style and see the clarity in their work, you may feel a surge of high energy during the shoot.

This energy motivates you to give your all to ensure that everything aligns precisely with your expectations. For example, observe how they use lighting, how they capture the subject's expression, how they position the camera, and where they take their pictures.

Check out customer reviews

Customer testimonials are a simple way to evaluate a photographer's skill, morals, and reputation. When planning a shoot, paying attention to comments and other online directory reviews that discuss the photographer's interpersonal skills, conduct during and after the shoot, and commitment to client satisfaction is important.

Of course, do not just look for bad reviews; carefully consider the positive ones as well. Then, measure the positive and negative review ratios.

Profesional headshot photography of a boxer in the UAE

Initial consultation

The initial discussion is best to avoid further ambiguous issues. So, you must be outspoken about what to expect from them and whether they are worth delivering within your budget or not. Because of this consultation, the photography session is tailored to the client's specific goals and expectations.

We must discuss the photo shoot session last, its pricing details, wardrobe or grooming facilities, and even the location at the initial stage; otherwise, it may create clashes during or after the session.Because of this consultation, the photography session is tailored to the client's specific goals and expectations.

Where do they shoot: Studio or outdoor?

Where do you shoot? It may be the part that worries you the most because it dictates how much the photographer should charge or how much you need to spend. Studio sessions tend to be more cost-effective than outdoor shoots.

However, the decision isn't solely about pricing; it also ties into your intended use. Outdoor settings are ideal if you aim for a casual yet professional vibe suitable for social media or marketing. Conversely, if you're a business professional or a tycoon, studio shots are best to convey your professional versatility in a single image.

Stunning corporate photography in the UAE

Studio environment

Having a studio doesn't automatically make a photographer a pro, and not having one doesn't diminish their skills. The real test lies in the ability to capture exceptional images. Yet, a well-equipped studio can hint at quality service.

When exploring studio options, consider the appropriateness of the location, the photography gear to be used, the setup for lighting and cameras, the backdrop options (seamless paper, canvas, etc.), and essential amenities like a changing room and grooming facilities. It's not just about the studio; it's about what happens within it that truly matters.

Offer wardrobe assistance

Clothing choices hold incredible power in shaping one's headshot look. Skilled headshot photographers possess an innate understanding of how attire complements backgrounds, lighting, and photographic styles.

Photographers often provide valuable advice on colour palettes and clothing styles, whether you're going for a formal, casual, indoor, or outdoor shoot—some even stock wardrobe options in their studios. If you're seeking wardrobe guidance, don't hesitate to engage in a pre-shoot discussion with your photographer.

A lady posing for a headshot at The Photography Co

Do they assist in achieving ideal poses?

A photographer's mission is to capture their subjects in the best possible light. A secret weapon for achieving this? The art of posing. With their expertise in capturing those captivating close-ups, headshot photographers are well-versed in angles and postures that flatter their subjects.

They don't just snap photos; they elevate confidence, ease, and authenticity, all of which work magic on the final images. So, when you're hunting for a headshot photographer, consider reviews praising their skill in guiding poses; it's the key to picture-perfect results.

How long will your headshot session be?

The purpose behind your headshot photography significantly impacts the duration of your session. If you're after a simple corporate headshot, it can be a quick 10 to 20-minute task.

Yet, if you're seeking a versatile professional look with outfit changes, makeup transformations, or varying hairstyles, be prepared for a session spanning one to two hours or even a full day. So, make sure your schedule aligns with the photography style you desire.

Dubai Headshot Photography

Turnaround time

The one often overlooked yet core factor in choosing a photographer is turnaround time. We've all heard tales of photographers missing deadlines or extending delivery dates, leaving clients in a bind.

To avoid such issues, it's wise to select a photographer who clearly outlines their turnaround time on their website. Even more reassuring, glance at past clients' reviews to ensure they have avoided frustrating delays.

Do they have retouching experience?

Ask your chosen photographer if they are proficient in photo retouching in addition to taking excellent pictures. Your photos could be perfected even further with the help of this artistic talent.

For instance, if the background is cluttered or draws the audience's attention away from you and toward the background, the background removal part of photo retouching is necessary to keep the audience's attention on you and your expression. Here, they remove the background from the image or blur it.

Photo retouching can help to smooth out imperfections, brighten smiles, and make your headshot shine. A skilled retoucher can be the difference between a good photo and an outstanding one.

Profesional Studio photography in the UAE. Top headshot photographers in Dubai

Balancing cost and quality

Everyone is searching for a headshot photographer who balances price and quality simultaneously.

For some, a more budget-friendly option works fine. However, investing more can be justified if this headshot is a vital asset for your career.

A lady wearing blue posing for a headshot photograph in Dubai


How much do photographers charge for headshots?

Headshot photographers charge an average of AED 200 to a maximum of AED 500. The length of the session, whether or not they provide retouched photos, and the location all influence the pricing rate.

How do I know if a headshot is good?

When you look at your headshot photos, make sure they are focused on capturing your sincere and confident expression. Proper lighting and editing are also important factors in determining whether your photos look good or not.

Should I smile in my headshot?

Of course, you should pick the right smile based on your professionalism, personality, and target audience.

What is the best color to wear for a professional headshot?

You should wear Gray, Black, Navy blue, or any neutral color for a professional headshot.

Top headshot photographers in Dubai


Picking a headshot photographer is like a roller coaster ride; it should align with your vision and style. You should also look at the photographer's portfolio to get a sense of their work.

Once you have narrowed down your choices, be sure to schedule a consultation with each photographer to discuss your vision for your headshot.

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