Updated: Nov 15
A professional headshot might not be the reason you get the raise or the job, but it can help. Click here to schedule a free, 15-minute consultation to discuss how we can co-create your professional headshot experience.
We've all been there.
You're asked to upload a professional headshot for a conference, speaking engagement, work trip, or social media profile, so you open your photos app and scroll through your options.
There's an amazing picture of you from last weekend. It's stylish, confident, maybe even a little edgy. You look relaxed, have a great smile, and your hair is laying just the right way. It's representative of your authentic, best self.
But for one reason or another, you can't choose that picture.
For all of its perks, it just isn't "professional" enough. Maybe you aren't wearing the right clothes. Maybe the background isn't. . .how shall we say. . .tasteful.
Maybe you click it anyway and mess around with the crop, envisioning it as your Slack or Teams profile pic, or your conference badge pic, or your professional email pic.
At the end of the day though, you begrudgingly scroll past it and choose the only real professional headshot you have--the one from your college career fair. It's fine. Good, not great. Professional, but pasty. Stiff. A little bit lifeless (through no fault of your own.). Inauthentic.
"So what?," you ask yourself. "Why does it matter? It's just a headshot."
As it turns out, our professional headshots matter. A lot. For everyone we haven't yet met in-person--which is most people--your headshot is their replacement for you.
That post you made in Slack the other day? Your colleagues are reading it as if your headshot is speaking it. That camera-off Zoom meeting? Its attendees are hearing you talk and putting a face to the voice with the headshot that appears on their screen. That prospective employer? They and their recruiters are looking at you and thinking, "Is this person a good fit for our team?"
Also, consider the following: When someone with a truly great headshot flashes across your screen, what do you think? Do you take them more seriously? Trust their input more? Think they "have their stuff together" (whatever that means)?
Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, the data show that professional headshots actually do have an impact on important characteristics like your perceived ability to do your job well, how influential you are with your colleagues, and how much your colleagues may like you.
Compared to ordinary photos, professional headshots help increase your perceived competence by 76%, your perceived level of influence by 62%, and your overall likability by 10%.
These findings are supported by the effect having a headshot has on traffic to LinkedIn profiles. Did you know that LinkedIn members with a photo receive 21 times more profile views, 9 times more connection requests, and are 36 times more likely to receive a message than those without one?
Professional headshots might not be the reason you get that raise or new job. But they can be a factor.
They might not be the end-all, be-all of how people online form their perception of you. But they can help showcase your authentic personality and self to your friends, followers, and potential employers.
There are certainly practical considerations for updating your headshot. Maybe your physical appearance has changed since you stepped in front of the school-sponsored photographer who gave you 15 seconds, asked you to smile, and ushered you off set as quickly as you put your foot on the X taped on the floor. Maybe you switched up your hair style, identify with a new lip gloss color, or just bought a new professional wardrobe that makes you feel like a million bucks.
But at the end of the day, those details are a part of a larger truth: We all deserve a headshot that presents our truest, most authentic selves to our online communities and inspires confidence that we are putting our best foot forward.
If this is convincing to you, you might say to yourself: "Alright, I agree that a headshot is important. But I hate having my picture taken."
I hear that. I personally couldn't agree more. For me, even yearbook photos inspired absurd levels of anxiety and dread more appropriately reserved for those dreams where you unwittingly show up to school without any pants on.
But that's also why I developed a passion for taking headshots and photographing people: Because I know what it's like to feel uncomfortable sitting in front of a camera. (In fact, it's one of the main reasons I became so interested in photography in the first place.)
That's why I want to work with you to understand what you need out of a headshot and reduce the nerve-wracking, just-plan-awkward part of it as much as possible. If you're interested, click here to schedule a free, 15-minute consultation where we can talk about what you're looking for from a headshot and how we can work together to co-create it.
When all is said and done, a new headshot can bring you the confidence you need to pursue your goals and show others that you're capable of achieving them.