Head over to sites like LinkedIn and you will instantly see a host of people with stylish photos of themselves in their profile pictures. Often on a pale background, these shots allow you to see the person without the clutter of backgrounds or other people. These shots are known as headshots and are a crucial part of building a brand, whether for your company or for yourself.
Why the headshot matters
The aim of most online communication is to make a connection with someone. Maybe you are selling a product and want to set up a call to discuss it further. Maybe you offer a service and you want to give a proposal to solve a client’s problems. Whatever the case, the first impression made when they visit your website or social media profile is often of that profile picture. It might be in an email too, as they are popular to use in an email signature.
But why do these headshots matter? First, because they show you or your company as a person. There’s an old saying about ‘people buy from people’ and even in the digital age, this is true. Sure, a logo looks great and stylish, but it doesn’t portray the person behind the logo. And it is that person that a client is most likely to connect with.
The best headshot
While there are some best practices about a headshot, gone are the days where they need to be ultra serious. You can smile, look relaxed and friendly – this actually helps with the whole building trust thing. If you look serious and forbidding, then people might not feel the same connection with you as if you were smiling and relaxed.
It is a great idea to work with a corporate photographer who can help you get the perfect photo. Yes, you can get a shot from your iPhone or have a friend take it with their digital camera. And if you don’t have a headshot, then this is a good start. But as you want to scale your business, search for new clients or introduce yourself to a network, you want a professional shot to represent yourself.
Try to get a couple of different headshots that you can use in different places. Profile photos are normally square but banner photos and website page snippets tend to be more horizontal. A good photographer will get shots you can use in different ways. Aim to refresh your headshot every two years or if you have gone through big changes like changing your hairstyle or color so that you still look like your headshot – otherwise people might not know who they are talking to!