Why is a professional headshot so important?
The obvious first answer would be that your headshot is often the first impression clients and possible employers get of you. It is the representation of your personal brand. Yes, you can use a grainy cell phone shot or a photo a friend took of you and your dog, or even that photo you love of yourself when you were 10 lbs lighter and 10 years younger, but it won’t do you any favours. When you act professionally, you are treated as a professional. Your image should be current and an accurate representation of you. They should be refreshed every 2 years at the MOST.
Clients and potential employers see so many profiles and headshots, and when two people are similar in experience and skill, it is often the small things that stand out. They can tell a professional image when they see one, and having one shows you care enough to put your best foot forward. The attention to detail in going the extra mile can really be the deciding factor. In this world of social media, people aren’t just looking at what you do, but who you are as a person.
Here are some hints to make the most of your headshot.
Choose a photographer who will take the time to prepare your session in advance. Professional lighting and skill will be evident in their images. Make sure their style matches the professional image you want to portray. They should make you feel comfortable and at ease and know how to pose you appropriately for your type of industry and to flatter you specifically.
Not all portraits look best on a Black or White Backdrop, so make sure you have choices that match YOUR personal or business branding.
Your photographer should be able to advise you on what to wear and how to prepare.
Be prepared to pay anywhere between $200 and $1000 depending on your market (rural or city) and the number of shots you need. The photographers experience and the number of options they offer to meet your needs will all affect the cost. A simple headshot will run closer to $200, but a personal branding package for an entire website and social media platforms can run at the higher end.
Social Media Branding
Make sure you are using the same image (or complimentary images) across all your social media platforms, consistent recognition is key and it displays your attention to detail and professionalism.
You spend a lot of money and time creating a brand for your business, so make sure you do the same with your image, it should always match your brand.
Getting the Best images
- Carefully choose your wardrobe to match your brand and career. A banker or lawyer will probably not be photographed in jeans and a blazer, but that would look great for an architect or computer programmer. A physical trainer will show off their physique, where most others would not.
- Consider the environment you are having your image taken in. A veterinarian for example would be better suited to photographs in their own environment. Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to go on location.
- If you have multiple employees or team members, make sure all the photos on your website match. Nothing looks worse than a bunch of employees in 15 different environments and a mixture of bad selfies and professional images. Many photographers will come to your office and offer group discounts to get all the employees done at the same time. It looks AWESOME on your website.
- Make sure your images are professionally retouched and NOT over processed. Looking like plastic is NOT professional and does not exude confidence and strength.
- Unless your business is specific to children or pets, do NOT include them in your image.
- Get a mixture of images for different needs, a tight facial crop, a head and shoulders, a ¾ shot and a horizontal with some empty space to one side. This allows room for text or cropping for those pesky social media cover sizes. Some people may even need a full body. Make sure to get some smiling and some serious.
- Think outside the box. Interesting crops, fun expressions, backlight, anything that shows some personality and makes your image that little bit differentGet your hair and makeup done! I can’t stress this one enough! It makes a world of difference, and is an expense worth paying extra for. Yes, men can get makeup done too, as it gives you a fresh, even complexion. Higher end studios will offer this service for an additional fee. They know how to apply makeup for photographic lighting.
- Pay attention to your grooming! Eyebrows, nose hair, nail polish, all little things that make a BIG difference. Iron your clothes and add the appropriate jewellery.
I hope these hints will help you put your best professional foot forward and take away some of the stress of being photographed. Your clients will definitely notice that you went the extra mile have no doubt that you will do that for them as well!