To some people, having professional headshots made for work might seem like something exclusive to the entertainment industry. Or other people often make the mistake to just use your smartphone for a headshot. But there are plenty of great reasons and scenarios to get headshots made. Everyone could use good executive headshots to use in their professional lives. Here are some scenarios in which you might find yourself in need of a professional headshot. First, a bit about the difference in working with someone who knows what they are doing with a camera versus just a friend with a camera or your smartphone.
Headshots are made – you do not just take a photo. It is a collaborative process. On the subject’s side, it involves wardrobe and grooming, and other preparation. It also involves branding considerations and sometimes this part involves collaborating with your chosen photographer. On the photographer side, it involves commercial-grade cameras, lenses, and lighting. This includes a photographer that understands how to use this equipment in concert. It also involves post-production work on the headshot, and more.
As for using a smartphone versus a full-frame sensor mirrorless or DSLR camera with prime or premium zoom lenses, well there really is no comparison. A professional camera is just infinitely superior to a smartphone camera. Another factor to consider here is that a common misperception is that people nowadays dominantly use their smartphones over desktops or other larger screens. So, who cares about the quality of a shot if we are all just looking at them on tiny devices? Not true.
According to Statcounter, usage is split pretty evenly near 50/50 between desktop and mobile. Furthermore, when people are on a desktop, statistics reveal they tend to look longer and at more web pages. They are indeed paying more attention and since your headshot on those larger screens are bigger and show more, the quality or lack of it will come out. Furthermore, screen resolutions nowadays are really good at showing details where most people can see a quality difference, regardless of screen size.
So, now what are some scenarios where a good headshot should be considered, just to name a few?
The Obvious Uses for a Headshot
First, let us get the obvious uses out of the way. You can use it on your LinkedIn or other online career profile. You can use it for the company website, whether for your own business or the company you work for. You can use it on business cards. Real estate agents can use them on signage. Attorneys use them for advertising. So do insurance agents. Doctors can print one to place in their waiting area or to use for online profiles. And so on – there are many other common uses. Now for some not-so-obvious uses.
Enhancing Your Resume
A very uncommon way to enhance your own resume when applying to new jobs is to include an executive headshot of yourself. You might be wondering why would someone need to see what you look like? Well, it’s more about helping them put a face to your resume. After all, what is a resume on its own? It’s just a series of words that hint at a person’s past. However, there is no real notion of who the resume represents. An executive headshot helps whoever is looking at your job application to get an idea of the person behind the words and information held in the resume.
On LinkedIn, using a headshot becomes more obvious. But you might consider using a headshot within a resume you send out. If you are getting plenty of interview requests, you might stick with what is working. But if interview requests are not as you might expect, you might want to change things up. You might start with modifying your resume’s content or layout. If that still is not doing it, consider adding a professionally made headshot too. It could prove a key differentiator for you.
Online Job Applications
It is more and more evident each day that we are witnessing the digitalization of the job market. To apply to jobs nowadays, rarely do people look at the newspaper or community posts as in just a decade or two ago. Instead, there are plenty of websites and platforms dedicated to showing job postings and accepting resumes.
Most of them, such as LinkedIn, require you to create an account, which gives you the option of uploading your resume and a picture of yourself. And there is plenty of evidence on how important a headshot is on LinkedIn. This is the perfect opportunity for you to use headshots to give your profile a face and put yourself out there for recruiters and companies to consider. A good headshot will visually convey how professional and prepared you are.
It is not uncommon for people to have a photo of themselves on LinkedIn or other career sites. What is still too uncommon is that people get a professional headshot made for it. Use this as an advantage to stand out.
Defining Your Image in the Workplace
Executive headshots are not just for when you are looking for jobs. In fact, they can also be useful once you already have a job. A headshot can be your face within the company and the workplace. They can have many uses within a company.
For example, what about for IDs? Think about just how many people hate their office ID pictures. Most do, right? An executive headshot helps you avoid this by providing you with a well-made and retouched picture of yourself that you can use for all corporate and workplace purposes. A picture for the staff section of the website? A framed recognition? A presentation? Are you authoring an article in a trade magazine? How about if you are selected to speak at an event? You can find many opportunities to use your headshots to define your image while at work.
This brings up one other type of uncommon headshot type – the lifestyle headshot. This shot is often an attempt to capture you at work. It can be a shot of a chef in a kitchen, a real estate agent in a front yard, a lawyer in a high-rise office setting, a mechanic in their shop, and so on. It is common to use it for promotional opportunities, including social media, instead of just on the team page of a website. It helps the viewer more easily imagine that person doing the work they profess to do. It helps potential customers more easily accept a person as a professional at that type of work. Thus, it can subtly make a difference as to whether someone might do business with you.
Lifestyle shots are the next level up for branding beyond a professional executive headshot. Both are useful. However, at the very least an executive portrait or headshot is a good place to start. As noted herein there are many uses for them, common and uncommon. But if you want to be taken seriously when using an image of yourself for any professional purposes, make sure it is a professional headshot you have made.