Why a Professional Headshot should be your next Business Move.

May 02, 2023  •  13 Comments

Is your business headshot showing you in the best light? 

"There is no second chance to make a first impression" some say, and in the world of business your headshot could, and probably is, that "first impression".

If your headshot does not create a good first impression, how long do you have to recover lost ground? Will you be able to regather trust in a meeting? A phonecall? An email?  Probably the answer is none of the above:  it's probably too late.

According to the academic paper by Willis and Todorov "it takes about 100 milliseconds to form a judgment based upon facial expressions and, even with more time, that initial judgement rarely changes".

In summary, you don't appear to have time for a second impression.

A less than professional first impression could cause problems for your business. Potential customers may click back and move on to your competitor, who created the right impression with a profession head shot. Not good. 

Therefore Is your headshot assisting with, or fighting against, your online presence, brand and marketing strategy? 

If you are in doubt here are some options. Not all of them cost money! 

I have headshot already - I don't need a professional photographer to take my portrait.

One option for your corporate headshot is to use your current photograph.

It's worked so far and you are happy.

Your current headshot may suit your job. If you are a skydive cameraman, it might be OK to have a pic of you with your skydive kit on. In fact that would, in my view, work very well.  If you are also an Accountant, and love jumping out of planes, perhaps the shot of you leaving the plane is not the best one to convince a large corporation that you are the right person for the job. 

A cracking pic of me but as a headshot...no. Despite the fact I'd love to use it all over my social media channels!

Or you have a head shot which reflects you and suits your job - for example if you are a creative and you have a headshot of you at an exhibition, again, that might work.

So leaving things as they are is an option. And it may be fine if its right for your online presence, speaks to your customer in the correct tone and delivers the qualities you are trying to convey such as trust, professionalism and competence. 

I don't need a professional photographer - I know a keen amateur photographer.

Option two for a business headshot: get a pal to photograph it for you.

Invariably the photographer here will be a keen amateur who is enthusiastic about taking a business portrait. Probably for free or for "mates rates". 

Absolutely nothing wrong with this. We all start somewhere and I have shot photographic projects for free or at reduced cost, to have the freedom to take lots of time over the image, make mistakes and sort out my systems. Usually it's of benefit to both parties - the photographer and "client" both gain. One gets something cheaper and the other has a test run. There is risk though that the reduced price comes at another cost such as a longer photoshoot, squeezing the shoot into non-business hours, the delivery process perhaps taking longer and not quite getting what you are after. These are all comments I have heard from others who have experiences involving "mates rates" deals. It may of course work a treat. 

If this is something you are minded to do, I'd advise trying to keep the light set up simple, and chat a lot in advance about what you are after - so you both have as much information to hand before the shoot starts. 

 

Great pic (I would say, it's one of mine of course) but perhaps a bit too intense for a corporate headshot - So if a pal or family member is photographing your headshot you'd be wise to show samples of what you are after otherwise the overly enthusiastic photographer might go a bit "arty" and grungy - communication is the key.

I don't need a professional photographer for my business headshot - I can take a decent selfie

Option Three for a business headshot - shoot it yourself. 

From what I can see shooting a selfie is a time-consuming affair. Multiple snaps. Micro-movement of the chin. Look up and to the side. Pout. And thats just me doing it, LOL. It take a few attempts to get that right look. I'm being flippant of course, but if you wish, you could grab a selfie and see how that goes - again it depends on context.

Let's have think about that. 

If you are say an influencer, a selfie will be bang on. You'd not expect an influencer to be in front of a grey background with a shirt and tie on. On the other hand if you are a Chief Financial Officer of a large company, the headshot should look, I'd suggest, a bit more sedate than a selfie at a beach in Spain with a cocktail in hand. Your investors, corporate partners, staff and shareholders will probably derive comfort from knowing you take your job seriously, have a profession demeanour and can be relied upon. 

Again, it's knowing your audience and the style of headshot you are wishing to adopt to convey that corporate message in the right way to the right people. 

Oh dear - was trying out my daughter's new phone fish-eye lens - not a great shot for your LinkedIn page....would you trust this bloke with your Tax affairs!? 

If you want to give it a go yourself, keep the background simple and avoid harsh, directional light....and fish-eye lenses!

Why then would I use a professional photographer for my headshot?

If you wish here are a few reasons to think about employing a professional headshot photographer.

Six reasons why you need a professional headshot.

1– A quality well-executed headshot demonstrates professionalism. A photo speaks a thousand words. That's why newspapers pay photographers to cover events and news items - because along with words they complete the story. Use a well-photographed corporate headshot to convey your professionalism to potential employers, investors and clients alike. Show them you are serious and are here to stay and be counted. 

2– A quality headshot gives people an idea of who you are. A decent headshot will not be a dry, expressionless image of you in front of a camera...one hopes. It should show a little about what you do and who you are. It should be an honest photograph, highlighting what makes you, you. There should be some form of expression which brings the photograph to life and has "warmth" to it. Even those with more serious jobs like lawyers and accountants, need to appear human! (I'm an ex-lawyer - some lawyers are, indeed, human - I just decided to escape - that's another blog in the making).

22.3.23 CMAC IMPORTS PORTRIATS I loved this guy's expression which has a certain mischievous feel to it. He selected this image. 

3– An up-to-date quality headshot lets people see what you look like. If they are going to meet you for a coffee, they may check the website before arriving to avoid an awkward moment in the meeting when they introduce themself to the wrong person..... When someone has seen an old image of you it may throw them off guard a bit - or perhaps , again, show a lack of professionalism in not paying attention to how you market yourself.  And of course I can't avoid what I hear a lot, is that customers are accused by their colleagues (in a humorous way of course; banter I think its called) of using old pics to hide the effects of the ageing process.....again, its a credibility/honesty thing. 

4– A professional headshot can help make you stand out in a sea of candidates on LinkedIn or in other such recruitment areas. LinkedIn. is used a lot these days in the recruitment process and how is your LinkedIn profile supporting your job opportunities? You patiently pay attention to the finer details of your C.V.,  invest time and effort into writing job-specific, relevant cover letters. So why not finish it off with a great headshot?

5– Lighting. How a photograph turns out, whether it be a headshot or a mountain, depends largely on the light. To photograph a mountain, a great time is about sunrise or sunset, known as the "golden hours". These are the best times (as a starting point) to shoot a mountain - and the same thing applies to headshots - not getting up before dawn of course, but the angle, strength balance between lights and what modifiers to use, all play a part in lighting you in a flattering way. So a professional photographer will be able to use light to enhance facial features, place shadows where you want and work with you to get the best possible look.  GRANT THORNTON GLASGOW 1.2.19 ALEX CLARK PAULE BURKE GREGOR DRUMMOND CLAIRE MARTIN ALEX MURPHY CLAIRE MCCORMICK

It's all about light - where to position it - what modifiers to use - power - direction - this set up was for full length images and was in the boardroom of an accountant client. 

6. Posing Tips. How to stand, sit, place your arms and so on is a struggle for most folk in a photoshoot. Luckily with business headshots you don't need to worry about your arms and hands so much (which you would need to work on in a portrait session) but they all play a part. A professional photographer, with experience at posing people, will be able to help with your body position, head angle, eyes and so on to get your best headshot for your profile. These small factors are the "icing on the cake" for your headshot and will set it apart from others with less attention to such details - its all the 1%s which ad up. 

Do you want to know what I'm talking about? Here's a gallery full of awesome corporate headshots! Modesty was never my strong point. 

Headshot of a female academic shot against grey background. Headshot against great background. A recent corporate headshot by me - this was part of a group of about 15 members of staff photographed in one day - the factors which help a headshot are the catchlights in the eyes (the white bits) the shadow under the chin and an engaging expression. 

Headshot of a female academic shot against grey background. Headshot against great background.

A recent corporate headshot by me - this was part of a group of about 15 members of staff photographed in one day - body position counts in a business headshot - here the body is facing out of the frame, but his face is pointing towards the camera. And being off-centre adds a touch of interest. 

 

So the title of this blog is "Why a Professional Headshot should be your next business move."


Now you know why, I think, professional headshots are critical to your personal or business brand. Are you convinced?

The options are there for you from grabbing a selfie to having a friend help out - or by going to the next level and entrusting your business headshot with an experienced, professional headshot photographer

You know where I am. And I can shoot headshots from an individual entrepreneur to teams of 50. And all can be done at a convenient location. 

Guy Hinks

Award Winning Photographer 

 

 

 

 


Comments

Colin McKeand(non-registered)
I have known Guy for a few years now, not only is he good at what he does, he is a top bloke too.
Emma Briggs(non-registered)
This is a fantastic read, Guy! I love the work you do and they way you are able to capture that spark in everyone through their photographs.
Kerstin(non-registered)
Couldn't agree more - your business headshot will always be a first impression, on website or social media - you don't want to have that go wrong!
Janet Ross-Jordan(non-registered)
Awesome photos!
Sharon Miller(non-registered)
Wow! Incredible Shots!!
As an ex actress and TV Presenter I have to be honest even I get nervous on headshots- really excellent tips! Thank you :-)
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