Importance Of Professional Headshots
Professional headshots are a must for so many people. It's good to have a variety of headshots that can serve multiple purposes. For LinkedIn and most other forms of social media it's good to have a tight close up shot. The shot should be warm and engaging. The background should be subtle and in my opinion of a medium density. Depending on the crop a shot on a pure white background can work. The human eye is attracted first to someone's face and then quickly to the brightest part of the image. When the background is pure white it competes with the face. The reason it works on magazine covers is because of the copy on the page.
You should have some professional retouching done to your headshot either by the photographer who shot it or a professional retoucher who does nothing else but retouching. The retouching should not go too far but far enough to be how you imagine yourself. It should reflect your self image. So the darkness or lack of pigment so many of us get under the eyes should be adjusted. The small divots we all have in our skulls should be smoothed out. These are distractions to who you are. These are things that only show up in a photograph. A photograph can be most unfair and retouching brings the feel of a live view back to the viewer. In a normal day it is rare for someone to stare at your face for any length of time. I believe that any portrait should put the subject in the best light possible. Sure there are occassions where for effect a "gritty" feel can be achieved to good effect. But far and away most of the time your business headshot should be the best you possible.
Business Profile Shot
A profile shot has more of the subject's body in the shot. So in settings where you have more room you can add a lot of feel to the image with body language and posture. These shots can be used for annual reports, company web pages, and press releases.
The location shot is simply a headshot that is taken on location or looks as if it has been. There are some studio sets that are convincing enough to pass. It makes you look more credible because you somehow managed to get a great professional portrait done in a setting other than a studio. Not many people do that and it sets you apart. These thoughts don't necessarily register consciously with the viewer but the impact registers. One can't help but compare the image to other types of images where this style is seen. It looks published. It looks like it belongs in a magazine or brochure with a bio.
Environmental Portrait for Business
The environmental portrait should tell people what you do at a glance. The location portrait simply needs an interesting background that isn't distracting. It shouldn't be too specific. But the environmental business portrait should tell people who you are at a glance. It can even be in a setting where you are dealing with a client, employee, or customer. That is sort of a business "action" shot as it were.
How Much Should You Pay?
This is definitely a situation where you get what you pay for. Professional headshots vary in cost and some photographers run specials by booking up certain days of the week where they do nothing else but headshots and thereby can afford scaling down a lower rate. Sessions will vary according to how many "looks" you are going for. A look is a change of top or an added jacket, tie, or even a different perspective. Such as waist up no jacket. I would say a good rule of thumb would be a studio session of $300 to produce 3 final fully retouched images.
So here's one place where woman have a definite advantage over men. A man can hire a make-up artist but most will not. Most women are use to wearing make-up and can do their own or have no problem spending another $200 on a make-up artist. Why is this an advantage? Because most headshot photographers will give you all the shots from your session except those that make you look bad. For instance eyes closed/half closed, bad smiles, bad angle, or something that is less than flattering. The better the shot is in camera (that is little to no retouching required) the more of the shots you can use. But this works out because most men are happy with three good shots and most photographers will include the retouching for a few shots in their price.