John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

The true value of professional, creative headshots


Creative headshots = more than meets the eye

A lot of people equate good, creative headshots with the quality of the image and the equipment used during the session.

This is why many thought leaders and other high-level entrepreneurs believe that if their friend or relative owns a “nice camera” and can get their photo in focus, that simply solves their problem of creating a professional headshot that fully encapsulates their business and brand.

If it were that easy folks, that phone currently sitting in your pocket would be enough to get what you need - and you wouldn’t need to hire a professional to take it for you.

But, it takes way more than that!

Take for example a headshot session I had recently with Danielle.

Moments before we started the session, I wanted to take a test shot of her to make sure my equipment was firing on all cylinders, so, I simply had her stare into the camera - no direction on my part - just had her stand on her mark and look at the camera naturally.

This is what that image looked like:

Now, let me preface that there was thousands of dollars worth of equipment attached to this image, including a “nice camera,” but yet, her expression doesn’t serve to advance her business, brand or personality.

Long story short, the “good camera” and great lighting is merely a starting point, and NOT a means to an end.

In fact, the only purpose this photo serves is to illustrate my sentiment - and Danielle was kind enough to agree to let me use this photo in that manner.

Otherwise, this image would’ve been trashed within 2 seconds of us reviewing it!

Now, once we got rolling, Danielle was a superstar in front of the camera, taking direction and applying it flawlessly as we fired through a couple hundred images. 

We definitely captured a ton of creative headshots from which to choose.

This photo is the one she ended up choosing:

Needless to say, she was very pleased with the level of improvement from the beginning of the session.

What made the difference?

Basically, the result can be drilled down to 4 main areas of focus:

  • Posture - positioning her in a way that draws attention solely to her face and expression.

  • Head angle - once the posture is aligned, turn the head in a way that powerfully addresses the camera while accentuating her natural beauty.

  • Jaw accentuation - jamming her forehead forward to further sculpt her face and expression for the camera - and to eliminate the possiblity of a distracting double chin


  • Candid and revealing expression - The most important part of a headshot. This one involves the rapport she and I developed throughout, which inspired her to feel comfortable enough to let her guard down and be natural in the moment despite the contrived activity of taking a professional photo.

All of these in tandem are what separates a good headshot from one that gets you noticed and followed by potential clients.

Based on this article, how do you feel about your current, professional headshot?

Looking to update?

Schedule a call with me here and let’s see if we’re a good fit to work together.