I had a recent client mention to me he tried several times to use his new iPhone and portrait mode to take his own headshot and it never looked just right. Frustrated, he finally decided to find a headshot photographer. I had another client tell me last year that he used a selfie for his LinkedIn profile and a headhunter told him to help him, he would need to change his headshot. So, these are just two of many reasons why a professional headshot is important.
Stay Away from the Selfie Seduction
It’s all too easy nowadays to just pull out your phone and use it as a camera to take selfies. And now, as phone manufacturers continually try and claim professional-grade photos, the seduction to use a selfie for a headshot grows. But, don’t do it.
There can be serious consequences to job prospects if you use a selfie. It’s just not professional and, if you use a good headshot photographer, it easily shows. A selfie is the surest way to send the message that you don’t care about quality or that you lack self-confidence.
The Cost Factor
Some people avoid getting professional headshots out of fear of how much they might cost. However, there are affordable headshots to be had. They do require a little homework to find. This includes doing your research on finding a good headshot photographer and reviewing their portfolio.
Sure, a selfie is free, but a good headshot is an investment in your career. It should be taken that seriously. In addition, in most cases – besides actors and models – it’s an investment you don’t need to make that often. Your business headshot can usually last you a couple of years, unless your look significantly changes sooner.
Larger businesses often have headshots of their management team on their website and they are commonly professionally done. To many businesses that arrange for such headshots for their management team, the reasons are clear. But this isn’t always the case for other business owners.
A professional headshot on the team web page is the most viewed content on that page. It’s proven people will spend more time viewing your profile if there is a photo to go with it. But a professional headshot implies more about a company’s brand. It showcases that quality is important to the company. It leaves a more positive first impression too.
The Many Uses of a Professional Headshot
In most cases, you will have multiple opportunities to use your professional headshot. Actors and models know too well the importance of having updated headshots ready to go. However, often professional executives do not.
Many times, I will get someone calling for a last-minute headshot and there are many reasons for it. It is a requirement for an application they need to submit tomorrow. They authored an article and the magazine needs a headshot yesterday. They have been chosen to speak at an event and a headshot is required within a week. And on, and on. It’s good to be ready for such situations and just have a good professional headshot ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Standing Apart with Your Headshot
A great headshot will help you stand apart or alongside competition. On the one hand, compared with those that settle for a selfie, a professional headshot is your way to stand apart from them. On the other hand, using a professional headshot at least ensures you also stand alongside other professionals that use a professional headshot.
As mentioned, a good picture of you also conveys self-confidence and this is a known desirable trait hiring managers look for in candidates. This is particularly true because, unfortunately, studies have shown most people don’t have self-confidence. Your professional headshot is an opportunity to exude confidence.
Finally, your headshot can be an opportunity to more easily convey what you do or want to do for a career. There is a saying to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The difference between a selfie and a professional headshot is similar – if you’re willing to settle for inferior quality in a headshot, then it’s to be expected that a similar quality in career opportunities will likely follow. So, a professional headshot is an important career investment.