Therapist Headshot: How To Take The Best Photo

A headshot example of a therapist.

You’re a therapist, not a model, so you might be wondering exactly why you need a headshot. After all, a headshot can hardly convey the qualities most important to a good therapist. 

However, a therapist headshot is necessary for catching the eye of potential clients. Aim for something simple and timeless, with an open demeanor that adds relatability. In this guide, we’ll cover how to take a good therapist headshot, and why you need one in the first place.

Why Do You Need A Therapist Headshot?

A good headshot is an important part of an online profile, and as most clients look for therapists online, this is vital to getting work. 

  • The headshot is often the first point of contact between you and your client. Even if they’re coming to you from a recommendation, they’ll probably search your name online before the first meeting. Like it or not, this headshot will inform your clients’ impression of you.
  • When a client is looking at profiles, a good headshot can instantly catch the eye. This can help draw people to your practice.
  • A headshot can make you seem more approachable, helping nervous clients to take that first step.
  • Nothing but words on a screen can seem off putting. A headshot adds personality to a profile, encouraging potential clients to keep on reading.
  • “A photo is worth a thousand words” is more than just a cliché. A well lit, welcoming photo can quickly convey your personality in a way that words can’t.
  • Some clients will look for a therapist within a certain demographic. A headshot shows this information without you having to awkwardly list traits on your profile.

Perhaps most importantly, not having a headshot can erode trust, and turn potential clients away from your profile. If you don’t have a photo showing who you are, clients might feel you aren’t a real person, and look elsewhere.

What Makes A Good Therapist Headshot?

A good therapist headshot conveys your professional demeanor, without losing personality. It should quickly communicate an idea of who you are, compelling clients to read more about you. 

You really don’t have to think outside the box when choosing a therapist headshot. In fact, it’s better to stick with classic styles. Professionalism is probably the most important part of a good therapist headshot, and a traditional headshot is the quickest way to achieve this.

That doesn’t mean your headshot needs to be devoid of personality. A headshot should also give an idea of your practice, whether that’s formal, relaxed, off beat—however you choose to practice.

Don’t try too hard to force personality into your picture. Instead, think of small choices that will indicate to the viewer the experience they can expect.

Tips For Getting A Good Therapist Headshot

Choose A Plain Background

You want to be the focal point of the photo, not whatever is happening in the background. Plain white is a simple and traditional choice, and works well in a professional setting. If you’re getting photos taken professionally, they should have a basic backdrop you can use.

If you’re taking the photos yourself, look around for a plain background. An office space is a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be a completely bare wall, but steer clear of any space that will draw focus. If you have the time, take photos in a few different settings.

Avoid the urge to add any props. It won’t convey personality. Instead, it might end up looking like a grade school photo.

Dress As You Would For Work

Wear an outfit that you would typically wear for work when taking your headshot. Keep the colors muted, and avoid anything too flashy. This might catch the eye of a scrolling client, but it will draw attention away from your face, and it can look gimmicky.

Make sure to choose an outfit that you feel comfortable wearing. You want to feel relaxed, so that you can pose naturally.

If you don’t normally wear a three piece suit, don’t adopt one for your headshot photo. You’ll feel uncomfortable, and it can give the wrong impression about your style of practice.

Think About Lighting

Good lighting will ensure a crisp photo that shows up clearly even on small smartphone screens. Avoid overhead lighting, which can cast shadows on the face.

If you’re taking your own photo, natural lighting is best, as it won’t cast the same glare as artificial lighting. Find an area indoors that gets plenty of natural sunlight. Before you decide on a space, take some test photos, to see how the light comes across.

Pick A Simple Pose

The most traditional professional headshot pose is a quarter turn away, making eye contact with the camera. This looks natural and inviting, and will draw a client in. Keep the shoulders back and push the chin forward to quickly improve your posture.

A smile will help you appear approachable. Before the shoot, shake out your body, roll your shoulders, and watch something that makes you laugh. You’ll feel more relaxed when the camera is on you.

Try different poses and shots from new angles. Sit down for some photos, and stand up for others. 

Ask For Help Choosing A Photo

It can be hard to be objective about photos of ourselves. Ask colleagues and friends for help choosing the right photo. The one that stands out to you might not be as appealing to an outsider, so a different perspective is helpful. 

Hire A Professional Photographer

If you can afford it, it’s worth hiring a professional photographer to take your headshot. They can deal with the lighting and background, and even direct your poses.

A good headshot can be used for years, so paying for professionalism now is worth it in the long run.

Final Thoughts

A therapist headshot might not seem like the most important aspect of building a practice, but in an increasingly online world, the headshot can be key to connecting with clients. It will help convey professionalism and personality, catching the eye of clients who might otherwise scroll on by.

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