Are Professional Head Shots Important?

Do you have a professional headshot? As I review my LinkedIn contacts, Twitter connections and Facebook business colleagues, I see that many have chosen not to present themselves in the best professional light. Coming from a marketing and branding background before I made my career transition to Image Consultant, the first question I always asked was: “How will the customer react to the product, ad or service?” In other words, what will their first impression be?

The same holds true for us individually, as we present ourselves to the world everyday. Since our online presence has more reach than our physical presence ever could, it is equally important to consider how you are perceived in social media. If you think the photo you had your friend or spouse take of you against a white wall looks professional and represents your best self, then think again. Your online photo may be the first and last impression someone has of you.

If you are looking for a new job, trying to become an expert in your existing industry, or even entering the world of dating, a picture speaks a thousand words. You may want to consider having a professional headshot done. If you have had a professional headshot done three or more years ago, it is time for an update. We change over the years and there is nothing worse than a headshot that looks nothing like you anymore. That is why I update mine every few years. You don’t have to break the bank to do it either.

Here are some tips to start you on your way.

  1. Schedule a consult with a photographer. If your budget is limited then connect with a college or university that has a photography program. Students want the experience and the cost will be affordable.

  2. Get your hair cut about a week before the scheduled shoot. Ladies, have your hair and makeup done on the day of the shoot. It makes all the difference in the world. Try one of the makeup counters at the mall or hire a makeup artist to come to the shoot with you.

  3. Select your outfits carefully. Solid colors work best. Blues, Greens and Reds show up well online. You want to make sure the colors complement your natural coloring. If you choose to wear a black suit wear a blue dress shirt and a tie with stronger colors. Ladies, choose a bolder color under a black suit.

  4. Choose clothing that makes you feel good, is authentic to you and reflects what you do. V-neck styles and collared shirts work well to frame the face.

  5. Keep jewelry simple and minimal—nothing trendy. Diamonds are always good (but not for guys).

  6. If you are doing a full shot, bring shoes that complement the outfit. Make sure they are in good shape and polished.

  7. Have at least three different shots done: One business formal professional, one business casual professional and one casual. The last photo can be used for Facebook, your blog, or even on the dating sights.

  8. Bring music to the shoot. You want to relax, have fun and be yourself. Your personality needs to shine through.


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Margaret Batting - Professional Development Consultant, Executive Coach, Brand Strategist and Keynote Speaker, Servicing Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Beyond
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