About CEO Headshots

Everything you need to know about what to wear, how to pose, and what backgrounds to use for the perfect CEO headshot.

What Are CEO Headshots?

CEO headshots are a type of business portrait photo typically used for company websites, business cards, press releases, and LinkedIn profiles. For your average executive, the most popular place for their business headshot is on their LinkedIn profile.

Business headshots focus on showcasing the subject’s professionalism, friendliness, and competence.

A great headshot is the perfect first step for building an awesome personal brand that helps you get hired faster, improve your sales numbers, or attract investors to your company.

ceo headshot example
ceo headshot example female

Are CEO Headshots Important?

Have you ever met someone that you instantly either liked, or disliked?

Perhaps you knew why you felt that way about them, or perhaps you didn’t, but most people are prone to generating “first impressions” of other people in just 1/8th of a single second. These first impressions can have dramatic impact on who they hire, buy from, and otherwise listen to.

As a CEO, your headshot will be used on press releases, LinkedIn, the company website, and a million other places.

As the leader of your company, investing in a great headshot can have trickle-down affects by helping your sales and marketing teams be more effective at their jobs.

What Do I Wear for CEO Headshots?

It depends on your personality, industry and where the photos will be placed!

For more conservative industries like law and finance, we recommend the standard suit-and-tie, or female equivalent.

The best rule-of-thumb is to take a look around LinkedIn to see how other senior executives in your industry are dressed. You’ll generally want to match the attire most appropriate for your audience. 

Investors will typically prefer formal attire, as this clothing conveys credibility and reliability. You may also want a slightly less formal set of shots to use on social-media and/or for customer-facing situations.   

ceo headshot example male
young female ceo headshot example

How Do I Pose for CEO Headshots?

No need to go crazy on your poses for business headshots. In our sessions, we tend to focus on minimalist poses. We’ve seen other photographers force clients into some truly bizarre poses. But, we avoid this practice like the plague.

We are, after all, showcasing your professionalism — not our photography.

At the beginning of your session, you should warm up with simple and straightforward poses. Simply stand there and smile.

Later, we will work toward some arms-crossed headshots and perhaps a couple candids. CEOs should have a range of shots to use depending on the situation.

What Backdrops are Best for CEO Headshots?

For more conservative industries like law and finance, we recommend neutral backdrops based in white, gray or black. With those colors, we can get some really crisp shots that convey reliability and consistency.

If you work in creative industries, non-profits, or tech, and you’d like your photos to have a bit more “pop,” feel free to pick a colored studio backdrop or try an outdoor/in-office session. These photos often have a bit more personality. 

As a senior executive, you’ll ideally have a couple outdoor/in-office photos to supplement your studio headshots.

If you have the same exact headshot on LinkedIn, the company website, and press releases, it can look a bit amateurish.

HeadShots Inc Offers 9 Colored Studio Backdrops + Pure White

female ceo headshot example

How Should I Prepare for CEO Headshots?

There are three keys to preparing for your headshot ahead of time.

First, if possible, try to get some sleep, exercise, and sunshine in the weeks before your session. Our editing team airbrushes your selected photos before delivering them to you, but your preparation will help ensure that the photos look as natural as possible.

Second, make sure to briefly wear your desired clothing a couple days before your session. You want to make sure that your outfits still fits properly and doesn’t need dry cleaning.

Third, take a look at some prior photos of yourself and see if there are any that you particularly like. When you arrive at the studio, show those photos to your photographer, and that will help us find an angle that you find flattering.

 

What If I’m Not Photogenic or Hate Getting My Photo Taken?

We’ve got you covered! Most portrait photographers are unfortunately guilty of creating a cringe-y environment for their clients. They force you into awkward poses and don’t truly understand what clients are looking for from their session. Either that, or they rush you through the session.

There are also many photographers who refuse to specialize in one form of photography, so they’re frankly not very skilled at any specific type of session.

At HeadShots Inc, we strive to create a fun & stress-free environment for every client. At our studio, we play upbeat music and constantly get feedback from the client so that we can work towards an amazing headshot that you’ll be proud to show online. We only offer headshots (not even full-body portraits) and so we’ve mastered one service that we do exceptionally well. 

 

ceo headshot example in offce
black and white ceo headshot example

How Much Do Good Headshots Cost?

CEO headshots cost between $65 and $750 depending on geography, package, and provider. The upper end is likely a complete rip-off unless you’re looking for an extremely specific style. The bottom end is going to produce some truly terrible photos.

When considering pricing, remember to look at a) licensing (who owns the photos) and b) retouching fees.

In terms of licensing, photographers typically only give you ownership for photos that you “buy” from them. This fee is separate from your “session fee,” which just covers the time spent inside their studio. If you want to use your photos on a billboard, or in print, or somewhere else, you may have to pay additional fees.

For retouching, many photographers charge between $50 and $100 per photo. Calculate those fees into your total session cost.

For reference, HeadShots Inc sessions cost between $150 and $400, you get 100% rights to all original photos, and  you get one airbrushed photo included (additional are just $25 each.)

Looking for CEO Headshot Pricing?

Find the perfect headshot package for your goals and budget below.

Individual Sessions

See pricing for individals and small groups of up to three people. Packages range from $150 to $400 based on session length and location.

Team Sessions

See pricing for groups of any size. Traditional headshot days and group corporate discounts available across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ready to Book Your Session?

Book studio sessions using our online scheduling calendar or request an outdoor/group session below.

Or start a website chat to ask a question.