Studio or Outside Headshots?
Depending on the session you opted for, you might want outside headshots or studio headshots. This is a matter of personal preference, and neither is wrong. The Light Committee generally recommends studio shots primarily over natural light shots. This is not to say do not do natural light – just consider it as a secondary option, especially if you are doing multiple looks. However, much of this depends on your goal in the headshot. If you want to scream professionalism, a studio shot is probably best. If you want to scream warm and inviting, then perhaps natural light might be better.
But usually studio shots are the better choice. There are a few reasons why. In a studio, a photographer that knows what they are doing is in full control of the environment. They can position lights where they want, adjust levels, and modify them as needed to help make sure light falls on you in the most flattering way or in whatever way is necessary to meet the goals you are after. For example, a movie director might want a bit of drama in their headshot while a real estate agent generally wants to look highly approachable. With a studio and studio lights, the photographer is in full control as to how dramatic or how cheery the shot can look.
Special Requirements for Headshots
The Light Committee does a lot of headshots that require meeting technical specifications. For example, this includes headshots for ERAS medical residency applications that have specification requirements like, sizing at 2.5 x 3.5 inches, a JPEG file less than 150 KB and maximum resolution of 150 DPI. Some corporations require a specific background color or that employees wear a specific item. Such requirements can go well beyond what is needed for LinkedIn headshots or other executive headshots.
As a result, it is recommended you bring any specifications with you and inform the photographer in advance. You might even add this information during booking. When you book, there is an opportunity to add a note or comments. This is just in case the composition of the headshot needs to be reconsidered as a result of needing to meet any requirements.
Also, if you are working with a web designer and are planning to use your business headshots on a website, find out if the designer has any specifications to meet. Often there are certain crops they will want, such as for a hero shot.
To this end, you might need to consider a lifestyle photo shoot session in addition or instead of a headshot session. Lifestyle photos are another type of photo and you can see examples and learn about lifestyle photo shoots here.
Outdoors, the photographer has much less control. The sun is where it will be and that changes by the hour. It might be too bright or too dark at appointment time. It might be windy, rainy, and more. It might be cold and make your skin more red or hot and make you sweat. Some outdoor background scenes can look really good but some not so good. There can be distractions like traffic, other people, and so on.
But again, natural light is a strong candidate for professional headshots – there is a look to natural light photos that is appealing too. But for the above reasons and more, studio-lit headshots are usually recommended. If you are doing many looks, do consider at least one with natural light. Or, of course, if you know the look you want is best with natural light, then it should be your primary scene.