Portrait | Head Shot Photography
The Importance of a Quality Portrait
by Tilly Goble, Seattle Portrait Photographer
Your headshot is your only opportunity to make a first and lasting impression. Perhaps as a portrait photographer I am biased, but I believe a professional head shot is a necessity, and a sign that you have arrived to adulthood.
Hopefully your days of shooting mirror selfies, or fish lip faces into your phone camera are long gone. If they aren’t, and you’re over the age of 18, do yourself a favor and make certain those images aren’t online any longer.
Today, everyone has a high quality camera in their pocket, which means the bar has been raised, and the expectation of profile pictures has changed. Our photograph literally can travel around the world in an instant. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business professional, your photo is literally everywhere: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, the list goes on. But guess who else is glued in? Your future employer.
“Therefore, there is no reason, in this day and age, for people to have no profile picture – or worse still, a picture that suggests you’ve just come home from painting the town red. It is 2015 and technology brands are launching 4K-compatible cameras that magnify pores on faces and smartphones that have 41-megapixel cameras – and yet some people still have photos that look like they were taken on a Nokia circa 2002.”
You ever meet someone from Facebook or other social media outlets and they look NOTHING like they do in real life? I have, and let me tell you, it is jarring; it immediately puts your credibility into question. Displaying a current image of the real you is critical to your future success. On average, a profile photo or head shot should be changed every two years, but no more frequently. Brand consistency is really important.
Your photo says a lot about you. It is your brand, after all. The background, lighting, angles are all things we see. Make sure you are conveying what you want the viewer to know or understand about you. For example, unless you are a vet, don’t hold a cat, even if you really love that cat. Within a second, the viewer has made judgments about who you are. You do not want to disappoint them. This image can make or break you. Really.
Smile, look approachable and portray politeness. Don’t be afraid to laugh, even! This is simple and easy for most people. An experiment researched the science behind the perfect profile picture that determines the perceived blend of competency, likability, and influence. The researchers suggest smiling with your teeth, removing any non-essential eyewear, and accentuating your entire jawline. To read the entire study, check out PhotoFeeler. Here’s another great article by Entrepreneur about what shot NOT to post in your profile as well.