How to Get Started as a Headshot Photographer


re you looking to get started in photography, specifically with headshots? The good news is you have come to the right place! 

Social media profile photos, job applications, speaking engagements, and printed products all require a quality headshot. Headshots are essential for everyone selling themselves or their brand. Headshot photography is a wonderful way to connect with local businesses, brands, and professionals who have a strong interest in representing themselves in the best way possible.

We sat down with Peter Istvan, CloudSpot user and Parry Sound Headshot Photographer, to talk about how he got his start as a headshot photographer and what advice he has for those that may be new to the field. Peter is a headshot photography studio owner who believes in the transformative power photography can have in changing the self confidence and perception a person has of themselves. 

To become a successful headshot photographer, start with this step-by-step process: 

  1. Practice your headshot skills
  2. Talk about yourself and your niche online
  3. Build a portfolio of smiling and happy people
  4. Ask for reviews and referrals
  5. Leave each client a gift to remember you

We hope you enjoy learning from one of our amazing CloudSpot Photographers today and finding out what gift he leaves for his clients. Take it away, Peter! 

How did you get started as a headshot photographer?

I have been taking photographs for as long as I can remember. However, in 2017, I attended a Shutterfest, and one of the keynote speakers was Peter Hurley. While I was completely mesmerized by the images of people and their headshots, what really resonated with me was the transformative effect that an image could have on a person's self-confidence. 

You can make a person feel more confident, more empowered, more special, more positive through an powerful is that?

Do you have any advice for people looking to get started as a headshot photographer?

Yes, just start. As the expression goes, “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction”. 

It is not about equipment, as I started with one speed light and a golf umbrella. There is a wealth of information and educational resources available on the internet and through books, courses, etc. I started by immersing myself in  Peter Hurley’s Headshot Crew, which has been an amazing source of education, business 101 knowledge, inspiration, and tapping into a worldwide network of headshot photographers, with unbelievable expertise. 

Of course, if anyone is interested, feel free to reach out to me and I will be happy to help you.

What does your typical workflow look like for a headshot client?

The general flow after a client enters the studio is to sit and chat for a few minutes to learn a little bit about them and to get them relaxed. This is a pretty important step, because 99.8% of clients don’t like having their photo taken. I love taking photos, so fortunately, we cancel each other out. I explain the steps in detail, so clients know exactly what is going to happen. 

Once the clients are in position, I set up my lights, take some test shots, and then we start taking photos as I am providing coaching about positioning and expressions. After a few shots, I show them a few of the photos on my laptop, so we can make adjustments to the things they like, or don’t like. Then, we continue taking photos in different positions, evoking a variety of expressions, and usually have a lot of laughs along the way.

Once we think we have enough photos, I do a quick sort of the photos, and then together, we select the images they want to have professionally retouched. In about 5-7 days, I send them their images using the CloudSpot platform, which clients find very professional and easy to use. Clients love the interface and the Mobile App gallery is a cool feature. 

How has using CloudSpot changed your headshot photography business?

Simply, CloudSpot has elevated the professionalism of my headshot photography business. The delivery of images is a seamless and easy process for clients to access their photos via the very professional looking and secure CloudSpot online gallery platform. My clients absolutely love it!

Ready for a professional and secure platform for your headshot photography? Sign up for CloudSpot!

How do you stay memorable and spark repeat headshot business?

On top of the usual asking for reviews and referrals, little gifts go a long way. One fun fact about me is that I am a beekeeper. Each of my brand clients are given a jar of “Headshot Honey” as part of their experience with me. It’s a small, but mighty way to get people to remember your headshot photography experience over anyone else. 

Tap below to connect with Peter Istvan:

Website | Instagram