What makes a good headshot for a lawyer?

Taking and selecting a professional headshot can feel uncomfortable like school picture day, but with much higher stakes. In today’s digital world, many consumers conduct the majority of their business online, including researching attorneys. And consumers, like anyone, often unknowingly make split second decisions about how trustworthy and likable they find someone based on a photo.

The headshot on your website will be the first impression you make on a number of potential clients — does your current photo make the strong first impression you want it to?

You do not have to be a model to have an excellent headshot; the correct quality, style, and feeling are much more important than any physical features. Make sure you have considered the following advice to ensure you have the best attorney headshot possible.

Quality Professional Photography Matters

Perhaps the most important aspect of any headshot is the quality of the photo. A grainy or poorly lit image will immediately seem amateurish and will not inspire confidence in potential clients. It is more than worthwhile to take the time and money to invest in quality photos with a professional photographer.

A professional photographer will have the appropriate equipment for high-quality photos such as a professional camera, lighting and perhaps digital retouching services as necessary. They will also be able to recommend the clothing, poses, and backgrounds that would be best suited to you and your practice. Their expertise will help you achieve your ideal headshot.

Consider Your Audience

Your headshot should display your personality and be relevant and relatable to the clients you hope to reach. If you work in family law, a more casual, less buttoned-up approach will help potential clients see you as friendly and accessible. Try a relaxed posture or forgoing a tie. You may even want to include a photo of you with your own family.

Conversely, a more traditional business-like appearance will inspire trust in your professionalism from corporate clients. Imagine an attorney whose headshot features him without a tie and with a carefree smile aiming to appeal to conservative clients or an attorney who looks severe and forbidding in her headshot trying to attract senior citizens and families.

Use your headshot as an opportunity to connect with the audience you want to reach and the way you want to present yourself publicly.


A common mistake attorneys make when taking a professional headshot is opting for a serious expression instead of a smile. While a stern look may express your authority, it does not make you seem like an appealing choice as an attorney to your potential clients.

It should not be surprising that a client would gravitate, perhaps instinctively, toward an attorney who seems trustworthy and easy to work with. In particular, clients who may not have worked with an attorney before will want to feel confident that you won’t talk down to them. Aim for an approachable feeling and at least a small smile.

Attorney Photography

Have Options

The same photo might not fit every purpose. Though you may want a simple headshot for a biography, “action” shots like one of you assisting a client or working on a case in your office can help enhance other sections of your site.

As long as you plan to work with a professional photographer to take traditional headshots, it would be best to work with the same photographer for any other photos you might need. This will ensure that all your photos will be consistent in style and quality.

If the thought of “modeling” for what might feel like a full catalog of photographs is intimidating, feel free to focus only on achieving the best possible headshot, perhaps with simple variations like different backgrounds or shots with a suit jacket on and off.

These tips seem simple, but they are often overlooked.

It is the basics that can make the biggest impact. Many people dislike having their photo taken, but there is no reason that professional headshots should be a daunting task. Working with a professional photographer will help ensure that your photos are of the appropriate quality.

Keep in mind what your potential clients are looking for in an attorney, and make sure to highlight that aspect of yourself in your pose, attire, and expression.

Clients have more opportunities to learn about attorneys before ever contacting them than ever before, and a simple photo can make a big difference in how comfortable a client feels with you before you meet. A good headshot for a lawyer is one that makes a positive first impression on potential clients.