Three Reasons You Need a Professional Headshot

This is a guest post from Brian Horvath.
Brian is the Crossroads Career Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater Metro Area Leader. Brian is an expert speaker, consultant, and coach who helps people know, live and love the purpose for their career and finances. You can learn more about Brian and his offerings at brianhorvath.com.

With the new year upon us, it may be time for some updates to your personal brand.

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is a way to connect you with the world. Your personal brand shares about who you are, what you stand for, and can tell your story. It’s about where you come from, what you are currently doing, and where and how you aim to serve. No matter if you are working as a company employee or are a business owner, a headshot is an excellent place to start establishing and communicating your personal brand.

Why You Need A Professional Headshot?           

A professional headshot is the best way to represent your personal brand for 3 main reasons.

  1. Builds Trust 

Lasting and productive relationships are built on trust. Most likely, the people that you need to connect with and influence will not always be directly in front of you. You most likely will need to cast a wider net beyond local networking functions and events into the virtual spaces of the Internet. 

A professional headshot can help you reach the right audience. The headshot is part of a consistent message, no matter if you are networking online, in-person, or a combination of both. To do this, you and the professional can plan out your necessary looks and locations via a “shot sheet.”

  • Adds Credibility

A headshot says a lot of your investment into your personal brand. It means you care. Professional headshots make a great first impression when done well. No matter if you are in a job search or are launching a new business, having a headshot with a professional look builds and grows credibility in a competitive marketplace.

  • Increases Engagement

Think about it for yourself. Are you more likely to accept friends, follow, and connection opportunities when a profile picture accompanies the requests? Most do.

Research conducted by LinkedIn Talent Blog shows that just having a picture makes your profile 14x more likely to be viewed by others.

Take that up a notch and read the following research finding for people’s LinkedIn profiles when they include a smile.

One study of 800 profile pictures found that people view you as more likable, competent, and influential if you smile in your pic. And smiles that show teeth were rated twice as attractive as closed-mouth smiles. 

Your Financial Investment

You can use your smartphone camera; however, a professional will help with lighting, edits, and file sizing depending on how you will use the photos. For a private and professional photoshoot, you can expect to pay $200-$400 depending on the breadth and depth of what you need. If this does not fit into your budget and need something immediately, check out local career ministries or resource centers. They may have services available at a low or no cost.

Nine Nifty Steps to Setup Your Professional Photo Shoot

As you take steps in setting up your professional photoshoot, consider these nine suggestions from Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book, “Platform: How to Get Noticed in a Noisy World.”

  1. Hire a Professional Photographer

I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s an investment

  • Negotiate for All Rights to your photos

So you can use the shots freely

  • Don’t shoot in a studio

You want natural, comfortable and welcoming

  • Wear something appropriate

Think of your audience you want to reach and the job/opportunity you are pursuing

  • Take lots of photos

Variety is the spice of life, and you are many not be using them all for what you originally intended

  • Look into the lens

See the person you would be interacting within the camera lens. Yes, get some more candid photos, too, but make sure you get one straight-on.

  • Smile – with your whole face and mean it! 

No matter what your confidence level, a small with your entire face connects with people

  • Crisp the photo tightly

Also, try the bokeh (blur) method for the background allowing for the emphasis to be on you

  • Pick one main photo

This main photo is the “horse” you are riding for a consistent message throughout your personal branding efforts.

As an example, here is my LinkedIn profile header featuring a headshot I chose from my 2019 photoshoot with a professional photographer, Giles Hooper of Giles Hooper Photography.

Remember this:

  • Not having a photo is a bad strategy

You may say things like, “I don’t like having my picture taken!” or “I got these done ten years ago, I think those can still work.” Ok, I get it. However, if you want to connect at a higher level, the stats show that having a professional and appropriate photo will increase profile clicks and networking opportunities. So, include this new headshot in your new year strategy!

  • Good Better Best

Yes, there is good; however, I encourage you to skip the better and strive for the best. Find a professional photographer. If finances are an issue, consider gathering some friends together who can jointly pay a pro for a semi-private shoot. You won’t be able to get all the shots you want; however, you will still walk away with a professional product!

Places to Insert Your New Professional Headshots

  • iOS or Android Profile picture
  • Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Gmail / G Suite Profile
  • Email Signature
  • Slack
  • Gravatar (for online forums/websites)
  • Company profile
  • Church database profile
  • File/Note sharing sites (Evernote, Dropbox)

For more technical detail, here is an excellent article from the LinkedIn Talent Blog to help you ace getting and using professional headshots.

 Psst…this will also apply to other social media sites!

Go get ’em out there!

Brian Horvath

I would love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments about professional headshots to brian@crossroadscareer.org.


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