5 Reasons You Need a Professional Headshot

You may be sitting there wondering if you need to get a professional headshot, or to even update yours, the answer is, you do.

Profile photos aren’t something you just need to fill in a random cell phone pic with, they are your brand, they are your very own personal billboard.

They are the VERY FIRST item your next potential shopper or your next client are going to see.  Get your branding up to speed and look the best you can.

So here are the 5 reasons you need a professional headshot.

 

#5

Asymmetry

Unless we are talking abstract art, people look for and value symmetrical facial features. 

Have you ever looked at a photo and realized one eye is bigger than the other or one eye is slightly in a different direction? 

I have it too.  My right eye is slightly larger than my left.  I realize this and must adjust my positioning in my headshot to make my facial features symmetrical.  I understand its importance for marketing and do as much as possible to correct these. 

When it comes down to it, researches confirmed that people rate faces that are more symmetrical as more attractive than those with less symmetry. 

Simply, people want to see faces that are symmetrical in nature and will look at them longer.   This benefits you in your photos as it can be an easy adjustment to fix. 

It’s not just the eyes however, it’s also the eyes, nose, shoulders, arms and legs. 

Little adjustments done on each can make them symmetrical, but you have to know what is going on with them.

More often than not, headshot photographers frequently look over and make this common error during their sessions, they miss your best shot possible because they are trying to get in and out quickly.  

#4

Posing

Unless you have been a model, artist, photographer, or today’s teen girl with photos at their fingertips, posing doesn’t come naturally.  Even then it takes some practice and a lot of adjustment. 

Posing is one of the most important items to help slim or get rid of features you don’t like.  Thin out arms, hide scars, make physical features symmetrical and the list goes on. 

Without direction, you will miss out on something to make you look better in your images. 

Even when I’m in front of the camera, I know what I want to accomplish for a look.  What I’m picturing in my mind doesn’t always translate to what is coming out with my body. 

 

This is one of the key reasons you should have a professional headshot taken.  A professional headshot photographer will gauge everything that needs to go on for your stance, posture, and direction to help you get the best image you deserve.  

#3

Lighting

This comes in along with your branding.  There are times to use hard, dynamic lighting and there are times to use a soft, feathered lighting.  Your brand and your product will determine which style to use. 

For high energy products like sports or weightlifting products, it’s ok to use a hard, dynamic light to create a lot of tension in your photo.  It is a great way to show change or leave some room for a person to anticipate change. 

Most of the time though, this isn’t going to be a preferred method for your client.  Hard lighting creates and shows a lot of flaws on your skin.  You, nor your client, need to see flaws so a large, soft light, or multiple lights will be best for your professional headshot.  

This is why a lot of headshot photographers will avoid being outside on a sunny day.  It is harder to control the light for their desired look.  Hard sunlight will contradict most styles of branding needed for a professional headshot. 

 

It can be done professionally even in harsh sunlight with the right tools.  A professional photographer will know how to use them.

Professional Headshot - Male on white background

Another aspect of lighting is how you want to portray your branding.

A key point to make between these two photos.  What and who would I be targeting with the headshot on the left compared to the headshot on the right?  

The headshot on the left is darker and presents a moodier appearance compared to the image on the right.  Although I like the photo, I keep thinking something is going to be jumping out from behind.  Not particularly an image I would want if I was trying to attract day care clients.  It might be a great bio photo for a mystery book.

#2

Stand Out from Your Competition

If you have ever done a SWOT analysis, you know who your competitors are. 

Separate yourself from your competition through better service, quality, education, or experience. 

Maybe all of them.  If not, trying to get up to speed with the 800 lb gorilla in the market is going to take time,
but hey, we have all been there.    

Does your image stand out or does it look like everyone else’s? 

Here’s a quick project for you.  Find a local real estate agency and find a page that has gallery of their team. 

Glance through them and determine which ones are top performers just by their photo.  Don’t
think you can do it?  I bet you can.  You may not know why but those individuals you just selected as top performers, more than likely are. 

Out of the top performers you just picked out, how are they better at customer service.

If you just did this little project, you just did a very similar study that was conducted by the University of Toronto prior to
2008. 

Individuals accurately gauged top CEO’s based on their facial features.  They stood out for very
particular reasons.  

Your client determines your abilities by your facial features in a photograph.  Again, does yours stand out, or does it align
with everyone else? 

#1

Branding

One of the key items a professional headshot should do is to match your branding.  It is pointless to have a headshot and not match your branding. 

 

 The phrase “a confused buyer does not buy” comes to mind with this simple aspect.  Why have a high-end brand and then a “selfie” or old outdated headshot is posted for your profile photo?

You may also have an outdated website and now is the perfect time to get your site updated.  After all, maintaining your website is a simple way to gain traction with SEO.  Google despises outdated sites and gives preference to those sites that are updated.

It may be time to update your branding and having a professional headshot is one of the easiest ways to start.

If your photographer hasn’t discussed branding with you prior to your headshot, or is scheduling a consultation to do so, your “spidey” senses should be going off.  Never should you have a headshot taken without discussing branding or the desired outcome of your professional headshot.   How can you maintain consistency of your brand if you don’t have this conversation?  

Branding can easily be mismatched by the style of photography you have for your site. 

 Doctors, Lawyers, Real estate agents and technology experts should all have different professional headshots. 

 A couple factors that come into play with your branding are:

       Who are your clients and what are they searching for? 

o   For instance, if I was a divorce or litigation attorney, my headshot better not resemble anything remotely close to a small business owner who helps children with math. 

o   Your headshot needs to match the client you are trying to pursue.  A divorce or litigation attorney needs to show a lot more confidence in their headshot.  A child care provider needs to show a searching parent how sweet and confident they are to take care of their children and keep them safe.

       What is your product or service and how do you want to position it?

o     Is this a top end product or service?  If so, you need to match your product or service.  If you are selling million-dollar homes and your profile photo has a snap in front of a round above-ground pool, you just screwed your own branding up.  The messaging doesn’t match and your next customer just left.

o   Low-cost, bulk or volume items easily can simplified with branding.  They don’t need nearly as much value-added items or explanations to help sell them.  This type of branding usually uses a lot of environmental pictures or interactions with the products or services.         

Bonus Reason!

Professional Editing

I don’t expect you to know what the editing does, but you can tell a professionally edited photo vs. someone who just picked up photo editing software.  Professionally editing photos will still have skin texture, without any blemishes (skin issues). 

If there is no skin texture in the photo and starts looking like a porcelain doll, it was poorly done. 

Many times this type of editing was done to cover up poor lighting or to fix features that could have been fixed with proper posing. 

I know you have seen all of these Instagram filters where people magically have no skin imperfections or no color variation.  These are a perfect example of poor editing. 

If you want your image to stand out, have it professionally edited.  You should always see skin texture and a variation of color in the skin. 

If not, it’s time to keep shopping.  

If you are looking for a professional headshot, please visit our contact page for more information.  We guaranty you’ll love your image and we’d love to have you.

If you have more questions about headshots, and how we operate, here is our FAQ page.

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