Do you use a selfie as a profile pic on a professional website or social network? It’s time to change that. Just think about what message your are sending potential clients, future employers and other professionals. In our online world your selfie is often the first introduction others have to you. Are you sending the right message?
Carol hired me to create a new headshot for her recently. I asked her permission to share a before and after of her headshot and she agreed.
What can we learn from this before and after look? Let me start by setting some context. If we are talking about Facebook then I think the ‘before’ shot is more than perfect. She has a great smile and it looks like a fun location. It’s perfect for friends on Facebook to see she was up to. So why doesn’t it work for a business website or professional social network like LinkedIn?
When people are looking at your image in a business context they are considering questions like “Can I trust this person?”, “Are they professional?”, “Will I be comfortable meeting them and talking with them?”, “Should I give them my money?”. They don’t care where you vacationed last, if you love puppies or what you like to eat.
So, what are some things that makes a headshot effective for business use? First, it should be well lit. Notice how Carol’s eyes are bright and engaging in her ‘after’ shot. We connect with others, in person and in pictures, with the eyes. In the ‘before’ shot if your eyes are drawn anywhere it’s to the bright spot on the tip of her nose. Which one do you think is going to stand out more to potential clients? Second, it should make you look inviting and approachable. In the ‘before’ shot Carol has a great smile, so that’s good. But in the ‘after’ shot her face is evenly lit and you can see the full expression. Again, more engaging. Third, it should look like the current you. Not the three-year-ago you. When you meet Carol in person, you see the ‘after’ shot. The bottom line is that if you want other people to trust you as a professional you have to present yourself in a professional way. That means it’s time to lose the selfie.
Don’t think that a great headshot is out of your reach! It’s my job as a professional photographer to light you well and draw out a great expression. That’s on me, not you. In fact, most people I photograph for headshots tell me they never take a good picture. I tell them they just haven’t been in front of the right photographer yet. You can learn more about our headshot packages here.
I want to give a big thanks to Carol for letting me share these images. I appreciate it! To everyone else, thanks for spending a few minutes with me!