Blackhawk Headshot Photography-Emerald Gate Studios




Are you looking for an experienced Blackhawk headshot photographer?

Almost everyone is going to need to have a headshot taken at some point in their lifetime, and there is far more to headshot photography than just the typical glossy, black and white photos that most people associate with actors and auditions. From choosing the right photographer to planning your poses and deciding what type of headshot you need taking, here’s our guide to everything you need to know about headshot photography.


A headshot is a portrait style photograph of someone’s face, usually taken from the chest up with the person as the main focus of the photo. It can be taken from a variety of different angles, and can be edited in color or changed to black and white depending on its purpose.

Not to be confused with portrait photography, the majority of headshot images are used in a professional context, and taken to capture a certain impression of a person that often relates to their career or aspirations. There are a variety of different styles of headshots however, ranging from photos that are taken for a corporate or business websites to creative images that a dancer may submit when applying for a role in a company.


Headshots are used in a variety of different ways, but in the majority of cases they are used as a way to capture your individualism and your personal brand, and are often the first step in selling yourself to a potential client or employer. As well as serving the basic purpose of showing someone else what you look like, a headshot also makes a lasting impression and can be the difference between being remembered or not.

Having a headshot that is up to date also sends the message that you are authentic and honest, so it is important to get more than one set of headshots taken throughout your career.


There are multiple types of headshot photography that serve different purposes, depending on who you are and what industry you work in. Different kinds of headshots may require different lighting looks, so it is important to know what kind of headshot you want and what you want it to convey before you book a shoot.

Business Headshots

A business headshot is perhaps the most standard type of headshot, showing an individual from the chest up in front of a plain background. These images tend to be used for resumes, online profiles, like Linkedin, or job applications and may be requested by a potential employer.

The biggest purpose of this kind of headshot is simply to show what you look like, and capture an air of professionalism. 

Your photographer will be able to help you find the best way to convey your personality and intentions through your headshot, by suggesting different poses and expressions or even shooting the image in a particular location. It is good to end up with a few different business headshots, in case you have to use them in different situations that require a different first impression.

Actor Headshots

Acting Headshots are photos of an actor or actress that will be given to a casting director or agent before they audition for a part. It allows the casting director to immediately assess whether the individual looks right for the role, and also acts as a reminder of each person that auditioned for both stage and screen,

As an actor, your professional headshot is the most important way to sell yourself and your talents to potential directors. It can be the difference between securing a part or losing it. If your headshot is memorable then you will be too, which is why getting headshots taken by a trained, professional photographer is so important. Building your actor headshot portfolio is important, achieving the right look and feel that will get you a successful casting call.

If you are an actor then you will be used to conveying emotions and moods through your facial expressions, and this will be very important in your headshot. Think about the kind of parts you want to be considered for, the type of industry you are looking to get into and what you consider your personal strengths as an actor to be. Then think about how you can show these through a photograph.



Musician/Creative Headshots

In most cases, a musician headshot will differ from every other kind of headshot because your face will not be the only focus of the image; your instrument is likely to be on the frame as well. Musician headshots are often used on the websites of professional orchestras or in the programs of concerts, showing the members of the company or highlighting a lead musician.

Many musician headshots are formal, and how you incorporate your instrument into the shot will very much depend on what it is that you play. If you are a contemporary musician then you will have more freedom with what you choose to wear in your headshot and where it is

taken, but classical musicians tend to be dressed formally in headshots and pose in a way that looks professional.


Talk to your photographer beforehand

The best way to ensure that you get headshots that you are happy with is to talk to your photographer beforehand, spend time thinking about about what you want from the session, and ask them for any advice so you are not caught out on the day. Find out whether the photo shoot will be outdoor with natural light or in a studio with studio lighting. A professional headshot photographer will be happy to discuss all these aspects with you beforehand, and this is likely to make the experience much easier for both of you!

Plan what you are going to wear in advance

As you will know by now, what you wear to a headshot session will depend on the type of headshot that you are having taken and what kind of personality you want the headshot to show. An excellent way to find inspiration is to look at the headshots of other people in your field of work and wear a similar outfit to them. If in doubt, go with something simple.

Your photographer will be able to advise you on what to wear if you are still stuck before your shoot, which is why it is useful to talk to them beforehand. Depending on what package you choose you will also want to bring a few different outfits to the photoshoot, to get a variety of different images that will be suitable for different contexts. If you wear glasses try some shots with and some without.

Try different poses

It will feel strange being sat in front of a camera first, and you may feel stiff, awkward and not know how you should be posing. It is likely that the first few shots that your photographer takes will just be test images, so try not to get too hung up on what you look like and just go with what feels natural. It is really important to achieve a natural look, that reflects the real you.

Your headshot photographer will probably direct you into many different poses throughout the session so they can capture a range of different images and composition style. As well as a classic front-on photograph, try sitting on an angle and turning your head, looking into the distance instead of at the camera, or even turning your body away and then looking over one shoulder.

You will likely be given a selection of photos after your shoot, called a proofing sheet. You will then be asked to select your favorite shot(s) and will be provided with the final retouched images.

Remember to relax

The most important thing to remember in a headshot session is that you are trying to end up with an image that looks like YOU, and so the best thing you can do is be yourself in front of the camera, and let the photographer do the rest. It can be very nerve-wracking having your portrait taken, but you don’t want to end up with images that look uncomfortable or inauthentic, as these won’t showcase you in the best way possible.



Emerald Gate Studios is your bay area headshot photographer conveniently located in Downtown Castro Valley.

The studio is in the Santa Maria Shopping Center 3 minutes off I-580 and I-880 and the I-238 junction

Whether you are in DublinSan Ramon, Danville, Livermore, Walnut CreekFremont, Blackhawk, San LeandroHaywardOaklandConcordPleasant HillCastro ValleyLafayettePleasanton San Leandro Hayward is just a few minutes away.

When you think about “headshots near me,” or "professional headshots near me" think Emerald Gate Studios, East Bay’s headshot photography studio.

For large groups, commercial headshots, company headshots, and on location headshots, I offer my services at the convenience of your office, or at your event.