Since more and more people are turning to social media (and the web in general) to market their businesses and up their personal brand, it’s never been more important to consider how you’re portraying yourself online; oftentimes, this starts with your professional headshot—emphasis on “professional” because I strongly believe you should hire one instead of snapping selfies on your iPhone and uploading the “best one” (complete with a filter) to your LinkedIn profile. Professional photographers know how to capture you in the best lighting and let your personality shine. Your headshot is often the first impression others have of you online, so you’ll want it to be warm, clean and inviting to instil confidence and trust in others.
Below are some tips to make a lasting and memorable impression with your headshot:
- Hire a professional. As I just finished mentioning, you should always pay a professional for corporate photos, however, make sure to do your research! Check out headshots in your network and look for ones you like. Next, ask that individual directly who snapped their photo. If you are opting to find a photographer by yourself, be sure to ask them for examples of their work before making the commitment.
- Consider your profession. You don’t need to wear business attire if you don’t normally do so during your day-to-day. Opt for business casual. Skip the blazer or suit jacket and choose a blouse or dress shirt instead. If you’re a business professional and regularly wear complete business attire, then do so in your photo; this will help people recognize and remember you.
- Skip patterns and choose solid colours instead. Busy patterns can come across as unflattering and distracting, and may be difficult for your photographer to edit if need be.
- Smile and make eye contact. If you look away from the camera in your shot, it may seem like you are unapproachable and distant. Instead, look directly into the camera and smile to appear warm and inviting.
- Get a good night’s rest. There’s nothing worse than looking tired in a photo, so rest up! You should also aim to have your photos taken in the morning while you are still well put together and looking your best.
- Be natural. If something feels awkward or you’re uncomfortable in a certain pose, let the photographer know. A good photographer will address your concerns and listen to your input. At the same time, however, your photographer does know best so trust their advice and expertise.
- Ask for touch-ups. Whenever possible, ask your photographer to retouch your photos. Don’t worry about looking overly Photoshopped; skilled photographers only edit to enhance your features to ensure you look your best.
- Pick your favourite. Once you receive your proofs, ask others you trust to choose their favourite from the selection of headshots. Doing so will give you a pretty good idea as to what people respond to more. At the end of the day, choose the one you feel best portrays YOU!
- Update. Two points here—1. Take some time to update any materials or online profiles that may include your old headshot. Consistency is key. If you use different photos everywhere people may not recognize that it’s the same person. Using your new photo in every place possible will help to create familiarity and strengthen your personal brand. 2. It may be a good idea to update your photo at least once a year to keep things fresh!
- Relax! Don’t stress over your photo. A great photographer will make you feel comfortable throughout the session. So have fun with the process and remember that a great headshot will only benefit you!