Who needs a headshot?
A professional headshot is an important branding tool for all careers. The question of who needs a headshot (or, if YOU need a headshot), is simply answered by the question:
“Do you want to make a great first impression?”
If your answer is “yes”, then the next step is to start looking at your online appearance. If that be across your social media profiles, website, online CV. Or even in printed marketing materials such as flyers, business cards and signage.
Professional headshots are a communication tool.
They communicate who you are, and what your brand is.
It doesn’t really matter what field you’re in, the benefits of a professional headshot or portrait are overwhelming. Let’s have a look at a few:
– They show you’re professional, dedicated and conscientious.
– A headshot communicates who you are (and this is when expression plays a big part!).
– Allow people to relate with you, and form a connection on a personal level.
– They remind others of the person (or people) behind a business – they can relate to you.
– Headshots give a little insight into what it is like to work with you.
Where to use your headshot:
A headshot can be used across so many areas. For starters, your social media profiles like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Having a professional headshot on these platforms keeps your personal brand consistent, and portrays professionalism when you’re online. Even on a Facebook account, if you start interacting with others (such as giving valuable advice in a business group), having a professional headshot as your profile picture helps to build that trust and relationship even further.
Many email programs showcase a photo (or, in the absence of a photo, and initial). This is your chance to show your professionalism and personality, through your email headshot. You can also go a step further, and incorporate your headshot in your email signature as well.
Not only is this useful for interaction with clients, but for bigger businesses with hundreds of staff, it helps staff connect with each other.
Every website should showcase who is behind it. People are passionate about people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer or if you sell products online. Showcasing who you are and telling your story and brand will allow potential clients to form a connection with you, and start building trust in you and your brand.
A great way to remind people of who you are, is to incorporate your headshot across your printed and digital marketing materials. A strong headshot will remind people that you’re serious about your career, and also remind them that you’re a real person, just like them. There is so much impersonal marketing out there, and your headshot is one way to re-introduce who you are, and your story.
It’s particularly common with real estate agents and politicians, but having your image across your signage (if that be billboards, in shop windows, or A-frames), is just another way to put your brand (and face) out to the world.
Have you ever commented on a blog or in the comments section of another website? You can use your headshots across Google, Gravatar, or when you sign up to a new website. This will help keep your brand consistent. Another reason to change your Facebook profile picture to something professional, so you can just hit the ‘post with Facebook’ button that many sites have adopted.
Whether you’ve shared your expertise and written a guest blog on a website, or if you’re being featured in a printed publication/magazine/newspaper. You need a professional headshot to showcase validity and expertise. Using a sub-par photo of yourself downgrades the professionalism you worked so hard for with the publication in the first place. So make sure you have one, and make sure it’s a professional shot.
It’s popular to put your professional headshot on your resume/cv. Being such a professional document, definitely make sure it’s an appropriate photo. For those applying to jobs overseas, they find their headshot is a way of making that first connection. This is a personal choice of course, but I have had many people come to me specifically for headshots for their CVs.
On your walls:
If you really want to be proud of your business, your team, and yourself, you can even get your headshot professionally printed and put up on the wall for display in your workplace. This is particularly effective for teams, who are proud of their achievements together and want to celebrate themselves. The benefit is showing off the image(s) to all their clients – loud, proud and trustworthy.
Using a great quality headshot:
If you’re seeing the benefits of having a headshot, you need to now make sure that you’re using a quality headshot. This means something dedicated to your career: you’re wearing appropriate clothes, are well-groomed, and showcase your brand in a positive way. No-more cropped family photos, selfies from a night out, or badly exposed photos taken by your Uncle Jim.
A professional headshot should be taken specifically for the purpose of being your official headshot. One that reflects you accurately (is not outdated), and makes the right first impression. Remember: your headshot is about everyone else’s perception of you (not your own). Think about the expression: do you want to look warm and welcoming? Serious and powerful? First impressions are powerful, so it’s a good idea to evaluate your brand and decide what you need to achieve out of your headshot.
It should be well-lit, and sharp. The background should not be distracting but should complement the photo overall. You should be the focus – not your necklace, not your patterned top. Engaging eyes (so, remove those sunglasses), and inviting posture.