There are a few things to keep in mind when taking a photo yourself. Here are six tips for making sure your business card with a headshot will look their best.

Business Card Headshots: Do’s and Don’ts

Having your photo on your business cards is a request our graphic designers often get. It’s popular with realtors, medical professionals, people in banking, and others whose fields require facial recognition. But many times, there is some confusion as to what makes the best headshot to use.

Should You Have a Headshot on Your Business Cards?

My first recommendation is always to hire a professional photographer. Business headshots are quick and usually relatively inexpensive. Ask other colleagues who’ve they’ve used or even google photographers in your area. If you find someone online, be sure to check out their portfolio or ask them to send you samples of their work before hiring them.

Having a professional headshot conveys professionalism and provides people an idea of your personality before they actually meet you.

People who smiled in their headshot were seen as far more likable and influential than those that didn’t.

Hire a professional photographer. Business cards with headshots are quick and usually fairly inexpensive and are great for including on your business cards.

Working with a professional is also a way to ensure that you receive a high-resolution file and (probably the best part) many photographers will offer to retouch. Professionals have trained in the best lighting, the best poses, and the best way to make you look good!

If going to a professional is not an option, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking a photo yourself.

With help from our in-house photographer, we have a few tips for making sure your photo presents you in. From lighting to attire, we’ve covered it all.

Headshot Photography Tips

Photographing a headshot can be challenging. People are generally are critical of themselves when it comes to being photographed. There are some easy ideas that you can prepare to make it easier. From the lighting to choosing the background, we’ve listed some tips on how to take a professional headshot.

Get Help

Selfies are for Facebook, not your business card. Ask a friend to help you take the photo. If a friend is unable to take the photo, look into hiring a professional photographer.

Know Your Audience

Before you get started with photography, take a moment and think about your outfit. What would you wear to the first meeting with a client? Depending on your industry, formal attire can mean very different things. Pay close attention to others that work within your industry.

You don’t have to have an identical style, just get an understanding of your industry. Keep in mind there are four common types of business attire: business professional, business formal, small business, and business casual.


Be sure to wear solid colors and nothing that has writing on them. Black, dark colors or jewel tones tend to photograph the best and look good with almost all skin tones. Rather than wearing black, go with charcoal, grey, or navy blue as they are considered to be more professional. For men, incorporate a colorful tie as this can help not only with a personal brand but brings out your personality.

Make sure that you pick an outfit that fits you properly and is comfortable.


Stay with a neutral color scheme and nothing that is too busy that may distract from your face. The background must also make sense of what you do/sell. And we don’t recommend using props. Traditional backgrounds include black, white, natural, and brick. Just remember that the background shouldn’t distract from the individual.


The composition is described as the placement of elements and objects in your art. It’s an important aspect as it helps directs peoples eyes in the photo. Rule of thumb is to keep it clean and less is always more. Try to leave enough space around you so that you don’t blend into the background and that it doesn’t appear like objects are coming out of your head.

Tip: try not to be in the middle of the image. Learn about the Rule of Thirds and how to implement it into your photography.


Natural lighting is best. Morning or evening sun will give more soft, flattering lighting. Try to avoid harsh lights and shadows. If getting outside isn’t possible, then being near a large window may work as well.

Natural lighting is best. Morning or evening sun will give more soft, flattering lighting.

File Size

Do not downsize the image. Set the camera for the largest file size possible. Photos used on your website or email signature are too small to print on your custom business card. If your photo looks blurry on your computer, it will look blurry on your business card.

In a world full of social media thumbs up and thumbs down, remember that people are quick to judge you by your photo. So smile bright and present yourself in the most professional way possible.

Not only can you use the headshot for your business card, but you can also use them for marketing materials, your website, and as a profile image for social media.


Also published on Medium.