The professional headshot: once of lesser importance in the corporate world, a great headshot is now essential at a time when virtual business connections are made on a daily basis. Your headshot is often a stand-in for a first impression, if a contact is “meeting” you for the first time on your company website, LinkedIn profile page, or other business social networking site. You want the image to look as professional as you are. Does your headshot do you justice?
A professionally photographed headshot
Having your headshot taken by a professional photographer is the most foolproof way to ensure that the photo will turn out well and will present your best image.
- Before you choose a photographer, research the portfolios and price ranges of multiple photographers and studios in your area, so that you can find one that aligns with your needs.
- Once you choose a photographer, make sure that he or she knows what industry you work in: a corporate headshot, for example, would differ significantly from an acting headshot. Also, discuss your expectations with the photographer and what level of formality you would like to convey.
- Dress for the occasion! Of course, for a corporate headshot, business attire is the norm. Not only should you consider your attire, but also your hair and makeup. If you are investing in your headshot and you expect it to represent you for several years, consider booking an appointment with a makeup professional beforehand: he or she will know just how to highlight your best features for the photograph.
A Do-It-Yourself Headshot
If you are unable to hire a photographer to take your headshot, consider a few elements to make a DIY headshot look professional.
- Ask a friend or a colleague who is familiar with photography to take your headshot. Someone who enjoys photography as a hobby will likely know more about lighting, positioning, and quality of images.
- Choose a neutral background. Even patterned or coloured wallpaper that looks subtle in person can provide a jarring and distracting contrast on film.
- Take multiple rounds of photographs, so that you have plenty of images to choose from to select your best shot.
- Using image or photography software, refine the headshot by cropping the photo and improving the resolution and contrast.
- Do not crop your image out of an existing photograph that was not originally intended to be a headshot. This will look sloppy and those who view your image will notice the difference.
Where will your headshot appear?
Don’t underestimate the power – or presence – of your headshot! The first place you should ensure your headshot represents you well is on your LinkedIn profile. Many users will review your profile: key contacts looking to network, current or future partners or clients, and, if you are searching for jobs, a potential employer.
Similarly, if you use digital or mobile app business cards instead of paper cards, your headshot will be of central importance to the quality of the card.
If you are currently employed, likely your company will request your headshot to display on the staff profile section of the corporate website. Key stakeholders of the company will doubtlessly visit this page. In this context, it is important to not only represent yourself well, but also to uphold the image of your compa