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What is a Professional Headshot?

You are more likely now more than ever to need a professional headshot. But what is this anyway? First, it’s usually spelled “headshot” but sometimes also as “head shot.” Simply put, a headshot is a professional photo of your face. But there’s more to it than that. Nowadays it’s usually a digital file but there are still instances where prints are needed. A headshot is also often called a profile image – such as those you post on a social media profile.  The next question that often comes up is why does it need to be professional? Well, for a lot of reasons.

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A Professionally Made Headshot Stands Apart Compared with a Smartphone Shot or Other Non-Professional Photo

A Professional Headshot

A portrait or selfie is a photo you take for personal use. You might use your smartphone for these and share them with friends and family or recall them later for good memories. A headshot needs to be professional because it’s for professional use. Usually, your headshot might have an indirect impact on financial outcomes. For some professionals – actors and models – it has a direct impact on financial outcomes. So, a headshot is different than a portrait.

Because there is the possibility of a headshot impacting a financial outcome, it’s important to have your headshots professionally made. Here’s the other difference. You “take” photos of friends and family, or a selfie. A good headshot photographer “makes” your headshot. It’s a process and there’s much more involved: professional lighting considerations, camera and lens options to consider, backgrounds, post-production work, and so on.

Studies show that a photo is a lasting first impression, that it can make the difference in someone wanting to do business with you, to hire you or not. So, it’s important to not use a poor-quality photo for a headshot.

Headshots and Your Career

Imagine you post a selfie on LinkedIn. It’s likely if a recruiter is viewing your profile that this selfie will have a negative impact. As noted above, most recruiters view this as an immediate reason to not consider you. If you’re posting a photo of yourself online – whether a hiring platform, social media or your website – and it’s to market yourself, don’t post anything that wasn’t professionally made.

As mentioned, actors and models rely on good headshots for their careers. But other professions are also very dependent on good headshots. Realtors are one as are certain attorneys and doctors. But, even accountants to mechanics could benefit from the advantages of what a headshot can do.

Using a professional headshot as a first impression of you sets a positive stage for doing business with you. This is why mature corporate teams have professional headshots done of senior management and they update them regularly.

Why Are Headshots Expensive?

It’s true that headshots can be expensive. But they don’t have to be. You can find affordable headshots. Do your homework to find a good photographer at a fair price and you’re likely to have success. There can be many reasons why some photographers charge more than others. So, it’s important to get into the details of what is being offered as part of a package.

To summarize, a headshot is different than a photo you take with your smartphone in that it’s for professional use. For this reason, you should have your headshot professionally made.

There are proven reasons why it’s important to do so. It can mean the difference between landing work opportunities or not. Thus, it’s important to not settle for lesser quality. As a side note, it’s also important that if your look changes you should update your headshot.

If you lose or gain weight, cut or grow your hair, change hair color, etc. You should seriously consider a new headshot. Remember that this photo is supposed to be a current depiction of you. So, it’s important not to confuse people who see one image of you online and then a different version of you in person.

So, if you’re ready to get out there and get some headshots done, you might benefit from additional advice on how to go about it and what to do during your session.

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