It takes only a few minutes of browsing LinkedIn pages to see how a headshot can do a huge injustice to the person who is otherwise trying hard to present themselves as “Professional”. The problem I often observe is not just the poor image quality but also the disconnect between their profession and the image they use to portray themselves.
I guess if you’re a professional clown it would be okay to put a red ball on the tip of your nose but if you’re a bank executive it could be slightly incongruent with your role.
You may think I’m exaggerating? Take a look at the headshot on the left for example. The person’s title is clearly stated as “Executive Office Professional”, but does the image match the title?
There is a tested belief that the first impression is the longest lasting, so why not invest in creating a positive first impression? In this era of electronic communication and social media dominance, isn’t it a fact that we check out our next appointment’s profile before a scheduled meeting or phone call? Because a picture is worth a thousand words it is very likely that people will judge us in that 3 seconds glimpse at our photo rather than by reading our lengthy profile, painstakingly written.
I could give you dozens of reasons why you shouldn’t use a snapshot for your headshots, or worse, a selfie, for your profile picture, but because we’re all pressed for time I will keep it short in these 7 points:
- A professional photographer is trained to associate the look with the profession. A finance executive, a sales representative, a tradie, an author or an office clerk will all require a “different” look, more importantly one that doesn’t misrepresent their role;
- Photography is all about lighting. Without the right equipment all you will get is a snap shot;
- Let’s face it, almost all photos require some amount of retouching to achieve the professional look. It takes a long time for photographers to acquire the skills to retouch photos correctly;
- To do it correctly, digital photography is processed in expensive software which few people would have access to;
- Posing for photography is a learnt skill, ask any professional model and they will tell you. A professional photographer can guide you to ensure that you do not look “posed”;
- With intensified digital marketing and remote working, a distinctive and professional headshot can help your current and prospective clients feel more connected with you. Even when you don’t meet face to face;
- A professional headshot is essential to build YOUR BRAND. You cannot build a brand using snapshots. Have a look around at the brands you admire and spend some time analysing their images and you will find that the graphics match the product. Think Apple, Mercedes and Chanel etc.
Your Action Plan
- Have a look at your photos on all your Social Media platforms.
- Ask someone you trust (and who knows you well) whether your picture speaks loud and clear about what you stand for in your work, your community and among the people you want to influence.
- If the answer is a maybe or not sure, book yourself a session with a professional photographer, I guarantee you will not regret it.
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