I get it. I get that you put a ton of energy into your career or your business. You care about every detail. You are working hard and putting in long hours being the best at what you do, and taking pride in your job.
That’s why you need to take a good look at your current headshot.
In this day and age, marketing is a whole new animal. It’s digital, it’s across multiple platforms, and it’s evolving and changing quickly. It’s hard to keep a good consistent message within your branding that lets potential customers know who you are and what you can offer them. Despite all of the flashy ways to advertise and network, and despite all of the social media hype, it still boils down to you. YOU are the heart of it. YOU are the face of your business.
You need to make sure that you have a headshot that reflects the same professional quality that you yourself insist upon in your own work. One that shows that you care about your career and that you respect your clients. One that looks like you on your best day… approachable, friendly, confident, and helpful.
Today, a good headshot is much more than just a photo on a studio background used for identification on documents. It is used to tie together your website and blog, your social media accounts, internet E-zines, networking groups and directories, as well as press releases and printed ads. It’s even more necessary than a good logo for recognition, and one of the most important parts of your branding.
But even more than that – a good quality professional headshot is a distinct advantage over your competition.
Why? Because research shows that when people have choices, they choose to do business with those that they can connect with. They want to work with someone who inspires trust, is capable & reliable, and is friendly & easy to work with. If you have a headshot that prospective clients see when they are researching companies or services, and it shows those qualities (and a professional headshot photographer can make sure that happens!) you will stand out from your competition.
ESPECIALLY if your competition’s headshot is a Selfie, slightly out of focus and with a color-popped filter applied to it, showing the patio of the restaurant deck that they took it on in the background. Or a glamour shot with a deep decolletage. Or a boring picture of them in a suit and tie that they don’t usually wear, on a boring blue or gray backdrop. Or a wrinkled sheet as the backdrop because their hobbyist neighbor with the really good camera did it for them for cheap.
My photography business is based on portraiture. I don’t really do lifestyle sessions because I am fascinated with faces and expressions, and I love controlling my portraits with perfect light and flattering posing. I like to make a connection with people through my camera and capture who they are. This translates well into headshot photography for me. There are several things that I try to provide for my headshot clients:
One, images that exude personality, not just a flat portrait of someone posed with an uncomfortable smile. Serious or forced expressions make people uncomfortable (like being at a play where the actors are nervous and stumbling over their lines – we sweat right along with them). The eyes should be perfectly focused, alive and full of sparkle & energy and immediately noticeable. The lighting should not have dramatic shadows or be harsh in any way. The framing should not be an extreme closeup; chest-up is what works best for headshots. I never show the full body, no matter how cute your outfit is; the connection is lost if the face is too small in the overall image to show. The background should be out of focus, both to draw focus to the subject but also to demonstrate the use of high quality camera and lenses. An exception should be when the headshot is also used to show context and personality, such as a baker with his oven/kitchen softly shown in the background. Clothing should be simple and timeless. The entire effect should be natural, not “I’m-dressed-up-and-made-up-for-my-obligatory-picture.” The perfect blend of casual and professional!
Two, I make sure that the images don’t look overly Photoshopped or fake looking. Wrinkles can be softened certainly, but you and I have both seen photos that look nothing like the real people in them. Clients that meet someone in person who looks obviously very different from what they were expecting from their headshot can’t help but be distrustful…what if their product or service is not represented accurately and truthfully as well? Real headshot professionals are experts at posing people flatteringly and retouching beautifully yet realistically. The final image should be one that shows who you are – personable, likeable, approachable. Your image should look like you on your very best day, relaxed and confident! Nervous about posing for a headshot or afraid that you don’t know how to look natural? Don’t worry! I have lots of experience and training in helping you relax and coaching you through every detail, to make sure that you will have the best pictures ever taken of you. I send you tons of information about what to wear and how to prepare, including links to fun helpful videos like this one from Peter Hurley, photographer to many famous actors.
Three, I make sure that you know exactly what you will be getting with a headshot session. The number of proofs to choose from, how many digital files are included and their specific usage permissions, amount of retouching included, etc. Remember, more is not necessarily better. Thirty images of the exact same expression, lots of wardrobe changes without good lighting, and unedited files are wasted money even if the price is low. You can use these images any way that you want – in print, on the internet, in social media, etc. As in most things, you get what you pay for. As a hardworking person or business owner, you understand that quality and service has its costs better than anyone. After our session, you will have perfectly retouched beautiful digital files ready to use any way that you want!
First impressions are lasting ones, and in this digital environment you only have 3-4 seconds to get noticed in a sea of social media marketing. Linked In profiles can get swallowed in a sea of sameness.
Make the investment in great headshots that will make people notice that you care about your career, your business, and your clients by using a top-notch quality headshot!
You can see some of my headshots in this link to my portfolio. Call me at 724-986-2625 or email me for more information! I do headshot sessions at my home in Keowee Key on Lake Keowee, or can travel to your location anywhere in the Upstate SC area – Clemson, Anderson, or Greenville SC. I also do headshots when I travel to southwestern Pennsylvania near McMurray, Venetia, or Washington PA.