Updated: Mar 4
If you are in business, chances are you've needed to have a photograph of yourself taken at least once. Most of us don't enjoy being in front of the camera, and there's nothing worse than your boss suddenly announcing "everyone report to the boardroom, we're having headshots".
Instead of cringing and hiding under your desk, I'm going to share with you why having a great headshot is important - and how to nail your next one.
Firstly, are you presenting a professional appearance?
Imagine for a second an HR manager recruiting new staff members. A pile of CVs lands on their desk and half of them have spelling mistakes. Those CVs go straight to the back of the pile, or straight into the bin. Would you submit a CV with spelling errors? Unlikely!
Now let’s think about the same HR manager researching their candidates online. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for business networking and recruitment - but if you’ve got that selfie you took on the beach or a picture of your puppy as your profile image, are you giving out the impression that you are a professional?
Different images can work for different platforms, but one thing is common across them all: A badly pixellated cellphone image is akin to the CV with the spelling mistakes. On the other hand, a well-composed, well-let, well-styled photograph speaks professional, confidence and approachability.
“But my friend has the latest smartphone and it’s got a great camera! I’ll just get her to take a photo for me”.
Your friend might have mastered her angles for the perfect selfie, but does she know how to work with natural light, or how to pose you to flatter your body type?
It's worth investing in a professional photo shoot with a photographer who can guide you through the steps to getting a perfect shot.
Secondly, you are representing your company or your brand.
Having a professional portrait on your “biography” or “about us” page gives your business a personal touch. People want to deal with people, and put a face to a name, instead of just reading lines of text about the company and its staff.
Having your staff photographed by the same person or at least in the same style also gives your website consistency. And consistency is another key to professionalism. These images can also be used across all your social media platforms, and well as in your marketing and branding collateral:
Website 'bio' / 'about' page
Facebook Business page
Would you be happy with an employee using a selfie on any one of the above platforms? No? Then you shouldn’t be using one either!
It's not just business people who need headshots - actors, models, entrepreneurs, bloggers and influencers all use profile images in their day to day.
More creative fields can get away with more creative images, but at the end of the day you need to ask yourself:
"What do I want this image to say about me?"
Still not convinced?
A current profile image keeps you up to date
I often look up potential clients on LinkedIn and other social media platforms before meeting with them. I like to know who I’m looking out for when I walk into the coffee shop or boardroom.
Your profile image should be current - I recommend a new portrait every year, more often if you change your appearance e.g. dye your hair a different colour or shave off your beard.
Ready to update your portrait?
Ultimately, your professional portrait image is an investment which you will be able to use on multiple platforms.
The key to any successful headshot session is feeling comfortable with your photographer, which is why I like to find out what makes you tick before you step in front of the camera.
That's my #1 tip to rocking your next headshot: chat to your photographer about your needs and make sure they're the right fit for you.
I've never run a cookie-cutter studio and love to craft something that suits YOU. While the basics of a headshot portraits shoot are the same, your session might be styled differently depending on your profession.
If you are a lawyer, you’re going to be styled in a different way to a personal trainer. We’ll help you put together outfit ideas, and should you wish to, you can add on the services of a personal stylist and a hair and makeup artist.
If you're interested in learning more about Headshots and Branding Photography, find out more here. You'll also be able to sign up to our mailing list.
Believe me, I hate spam too, so I promise to pop in no more than once or twice a month with useful tips and tricks, styling guides, and advice from other industry professionals.
Yes, let's do this! Time to rock my profile!
Drop us a mail firstname.lastname@example.org and let's chat about how we can help you put your best face forward in 2019.
*This article has been adapted from one I first authored for Rock and Rose Studios.