First Impressions Count – Professional Headshot Photography
First impressions count! In this digital age, as soon as you apply for a role your potential employer is searching the internet and LinkedIn to find out more about you and your profile picture is normally the first thing they see.
Studies have shown that people will make a decision as to whether they like you or not in 100 milliseconds! That’s one tenth of a second to make the right first impression. Seeing as your photo will be the first thing they see, make sure it represents you in the best possible way, especially on professional sites such as LinkedIn and your company profile on your website.
Sadly, a quick search through LinkedIn and similar sites will show not everyone has thought about the professional persona they wish to portray. Images of people on holiday, cropped from a photo at a wedding or a party (with a random shoulder in the corner) or worse still, no image at all!
So, here are a few tips to ensure your virtual handshake is a good one!
Use a family photo and crop out the other people. This looks terrible and while you may have had a wonderful time at Disneyland, you can tell your colleagues when you get the job! A photo of you wrapped in a hug with Mickey Mouse is not the best image for a potential employer or client to draw their first impression off.
Use an old or outdated photo. Yes we all looked a lot better 5/10 years ago before the long nights in the office or those nights up with children took their toll. They say the camera never lies, but old photos certainly do! You want the potential employer or client to recognise you when they meet you! Be brave, embrace who you are now.
Leave your profile photo blank. This speaks volumes. ‘this person couldn’t be bothered to finish their profile’, ‘what are they hiding?’, ‘do they even exist?’ All questions asked in the subconscious mind when looking online. Do yourself a favour and get an profile photo.
Think you can do it yourself….. a photo taken in a mirror or with a selfie stick is almost as bad as a family photo. Even getting a friend to take your photo with their ‘big camera’ wont cut it. It takes a lot of training and practice to become a portrait photographer. Taking the photo is such a small part. The lighting, posing, editing etc all merge together to make your photo the best it can be.
I always liken it to my oven. I have a wonderful oven. It has lots of settings and buttons and flashing lights but using it doesn’t and never will make me Mary Berry!
(above examples taken off the internet)
Find a photographer whose style you like:
You may wish to have a bright vibrant image, high key whites and harsh shadows. Or maybe you are more inclined towards a more natural finish. Natural or soft light and a warmer finish.
Think about the image you want to portray and explain your brief clearly to your chosen photographer. Chat to them so they understand what the vision for your final image is.
Chances are your chosen photographer will have posed people before and as a result will know how best to position you. Don’t be rigid in your stance. Relax and let the photographer give you pointers on moving arms, shoulders, feet etc. Your photographer will want you to love your final images, so trust them!
“But I hate having my photo taken!’
I hear this almost every day. We are all so self critical of ourselves and I completely understand it is a slightly alien experience to stand against a backdrop with studio lights and a camera pointed at us. But…. You must trust your photographer. The best photographers will have the ability to build up a rapport quite quickly and as a result will be chatty and put you at ease. To my earlier point, we all want you to look your best and this is always when you are relaxed and not forcing a pose.
I have a line I break out with works a treat with toddlers and adults alike should I need an icebreaker and always results in the most relaxed genuine smiles! I wont share it here as then it would loose it’s magic 🙂
Think about your wardrobe:
Make sure you wear something you are comfortable in, but again, think about the final image you want to portray. I know I am most comfortable in a hoody and leggings with my hair tied up and my slippers on (my usual editing uniform) but I wouldn’t want to have that as my profile photo on my website!
A suit with or with a tie for a man, and a stylish blouse for a lady is always a winner. Make sure you are clean shaven (the men!) and ladies, try to keep your make-up neutral and as natural as possible. Bold eye makeup or lipstick will be distracting. When looking at a photo, we are instantly drawn to the eyes, so make sure they are enhanced but not dominated.
Think about your hair too. Men should ideally have a haircut about a week before to avoid the tan lines etc around the ears. Ladies, if you need your roots done, then book an appointment! Your hair should be styled as you would normally wear it so when you do get to meet in person, you look like you do in your photo.
If you wear glasses on a daily basis, consider getting non-reflective lenses for your shoot. Studio lighting will no doubt reflect in your lenses so best to avoid this by either popping the glass out or wearing non reflective.
Look at the camera:
Sounds obvious but there are some out there who don’t look at the camera. Again, this is down to being comfortable in front of the camera, so relax and look down the lens. The end result will be a much better one as shots where your eyes are looking left or right leave the viewer wondering what caught your attention.
Enjoy your shoot!
It’s not everyday you have a professional photographer come to take your photo so enjoy it! Have a laugh and a chat. Get used to looking down the lens and really get into it! If you enjoy the shoot, the resulting images will be 100 times better as you will have a relaxed frame and stance, a genuine smile and an air of approachability.
I hope I’ve given you all some food for thought and some tips that will be useful!
If you would like to speak to me about having a headshot session in your home or office, please get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you. Some further examples are available within my headshots portfolio.