First impressions matter. These days, your first impression is often on the web. When a potential client, employer, vendor or referral source looks at your website, your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook page or a printed marketing piece with your headshot on it, that person will immediately make a judgement about you and your business. This judgement will affect your bottom line. I’ve had clients say that updating headshots has helped get new business, and when headshots are done for the whole company, it also boosts morale.
This exact scenario just happened to a client of mine. She had received a referral and followed up with a phone call. She was met on the other end with hesitation and reluctancy. Then she was asked for her website. As soon as the referral pulled it up, her whole tone changed and now they are meeting in person to discuss working together. The first thing you see on her website is one of the portraits I took of her that looks professional and engaging next to text about her business and what she offers.
The fact is that in 2 seconds people are making a judgement on if they want to do business with you or not. Same goes for dating apps, but more on that later.
So what do you want your first impression to be?
Most people want to build trust, approachability and professionalism with their headshots. And, every image used needs to tell a cohesive story across each platform where your brand is being represented.
The biggest push backs I get are this:
I need to loose 10-20 pounds. Don’t weight for that. I got your 10-20 pounds in lighting and posing. And there’s always photoshop.
Can you make me look younger? You want to be recognizable. To me every wrinkle represents a life full of laughter, a lifetime of experience and wisdom, a life lived and worth living fully (i.e. not hiding from a camera). And in business portraits wrinkles mean established. But yes, wrinkles can be removed in photoshop.
I’m not photogenic. There is no such thing as being photogenic. It is my job to guide and direct you so that we capture killer images that are engaging and look like you.
What do I wear? I wrote a blog about that too. I also offer wardrobe consultations. The short answer is timeless clothes that are fitted.No patterns.
The big no-no’s are this:
Using an image where you cropped people out from a wedding or an event. This is not professional and people will think you don’t take your profession seriously because that is what an image like that says to people. Plus you do not need to look like you’ve had a few cocktails in the image you are using for business.
Using an iPhone picture. Granted you can get a great shot from an iPhone, I know I can, but it will never hold up to a professional standard.
Using an outdated picture. People need to recognize you and you need your image to be current. Think about when you go to a website to check a place out and the site is outdated or their marketing materials are dated. The chances of you doing business there are slim. You need to update your headshots every 2-3 years.
Bottom line, headshots are an investment in your brand, your projected value and the reflection of the quality your clients should expect you to deliver. You want your photographer to take engaging portraits that come across professional and approachable. You want pictures that make other people want to have a conversation with you and get to know you. That’s my approach.