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Doctor Headshots in San Francisco

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Whether you’re a new general practitioner, an experienced specialist, or anything in between, a professional headshot is essential for all types of doctors. Find out why health care providers need professional headshots and learn tips for making your photos as effective as possible.

What Are Doctor Headshots?

Doctor headshots are closely cropped portrait photos used for various professional and entrepreneurial purposes in the medical field. Placements include LinkedIn profiles, websites, business cards, brochures, advertising, and other professional media placements.

Doctor headshots are different from other types of headshots, as they should ideally be focused on showcasing professionalism, friendliness and competence of the practitioner. Acting/modeling headshots, in contrast, are more focused on showing the subject’s personality and emotional range.

Typically, doctor headshots are also cropped a bit wider than entertainment headshots.

doctor headshots vs actor headshot
Traditional professional headshot style (left) vs creative entertainment headshot style (right). The traditional headshot is cropped from further away and includes lighting in the background. The creative entertainment headshot is cropped closer and removes the backlight. If you work in medicine, you don’t NEED to get a traditional headshot style – depending on your practice, you might want request Creative Edge lighting. We offer clients the choice for all studio sessions. Photos captured by HeadShots Inc Head Photographer Dan St Louis in San Francisco.

What Backdrops Are Best for Doctor Headshots?

It depends on your personality, specialty and placement!

For most situations, we recommend neutral backdrops based in white, gray or black. With those colors, we can get some really crisp shots that convey reliability and consistency.

If you’d like your photos to have a bit more “pop,” feel free to pick a colored studio backdrop or try an outdoor/in-office session. These photos often have a bit more personality. At our studio, we offer five shades of neutral colors, along with five colored backgrounds (yellow, light blue, dark blue, orange and red.)

If you’re a senior executive, entrepreneur or thought leader, you should probably have several photos of yourself that you can use across platforms. Ideally, you would have a couple outdoor photos to supplement your studio headshots.

Headshots background options
Standard HeadShots Inc studio backdrops available for all studio sessions. Depending on your goals and industry, you may want to get an outdoor or in-office session though.

What’s The Best Way To Pose for Doctor Headshots?

No need to go crazy on your poses for business headshots. In our sessions, we tend to focus on minimalist poses. We’ve seen other photographers capture business headshots with some truly bizarre poses. However, we avoid this practice like the plague.

We are, after all, showcasing your professionalism — not our photography.

At the beginning of your session, you should warm up with simple and straightforward poses. Simply stand there and smile. Later, we will work toward some arms-crossed headshots and perhaps a couple candids.

Either scrubs, suits, or button-down shirts with lab coats are appropriate for doctors. Some clients have had bad experiences with medical practitioners in the past, so appearing both friendly and competent is key, Photos taken by a HeadShots Inc photographer in San Francisco.

What Should You Wear for Doctor Headshots?

We typically recommend formal clothing for doctor headshots. Either a suit, scrubs, or button-down with lab coat will work well.

Select clothing that fits well (check that your collar fits snug against your neck), with no spots that look too loose or tight. To look your best, visit a tailor or seamstress and get your suit fitted. Then, remember to iron it before your photoshoot. Your hair and jewelry should look as classic and understated as your clothing. Avoid large bracelets, necklaces, or earrings that could draw attention away from your face, and don’t change your hair too much. It should look similar to the way you wear it every day.

Getting a haircut or having your hair styled by a professional before your photoshoot is a great idea, but you should choose a stylist that you trust. A bad haircut could force you to reschedule your headshots. For men who tend to get five o’clock shadow, a fresh shave may be necessary right before afternoon appointments. Medical practitioners with beards should make sure they look neatly trimmed.

What Are Some Tips for Great Doctor Headshots?

Here are our three keys to success.

First, make sure to get the right photographer. Don’t pick a generalist who does 50 types of photography. The right headshot photographer will help you sort out all of the above questions during the shoot.

Second, try to get some rest, sunlight and exercise the week before your shoot. You’ll bring a lot more energy and freshness to your shoot. It’s not always possible, but it helps.

Third, try to relax! Even if you’re nervous, remember that you only really need one to three awesome headshots. At HeadShots Inc, we tend to laugh a lot, dance to funky upbeat electronic music, and generally have fun during our shoots. Try to pick a photographer who does the same!

How Much Do Doctor Headshots Cost?

Doctor headshots cost between $65 and $750 depending on geography, package and provider. The upper end is likely a complete rip-off unless you’re looking for an extremely specific style. The bottom end is going to produce some truly terrible photos.

When considering pricing, remember to look at a) licensing (who owns the photos) and b) retouching fees.

In terms of licensing, photographers typically only give you ownership for photos that you “buy” from them. This fee is separate from your “session fee,” which just covers the time spent inside their studio. If you want to use your photos on a billboard, or in print, or somewhere else, you may have to pay additional fees.

For retouching, many photographers charge between $50 and $100 per photo. Calculate those fees into your total session cost.

For reference, HeadShots Inc sessions cost between $150 and $400, you get 100% rights to all original photos, and  you get one airbrushed photo included (additional are just $25 each.)

Where Can I Get Doctor Headshots in San Francisco?

San Francisco is blessed with a ton of photographers, but we hope you consider coming to HeadShots Inc! We offer studio, outdoor and in-office sessions for both individuals and groups. Check out our Individual Sessions and Team Sessions pages for prices and booking.


dan st louis headshot photographer

San Francisco’s #1 Rated Headshot Photographers

About the Author

Dan St Louis is the Owner and Head Photographer at HeadShots Inc. As a headshot and portrait specialist, his work has been featured on the larget photography blogs in the world including: 500px, PetaPixel, Fstoppers, DIYPhotography, ShotKit, and

To get professional doctor headshots that get you noticed, check out our Individual Session page for booking options.

Express Studio Sessions start at just $150.