To Headshot or not to Headshot

I have spoken or written about this topic many times in the past, but the question is still on point.  In a previous post on my website, I said “Don’t let the quality of professional branding be jeopardized by a poorly taken headshot”.  A very true statement indeed.  A good example of this would be hiring a professional designer to create your perfect modern looking website, then hiring a professional writer to create the perfect copy to go along with that beautiful design, only to then finish it off with a poorly taken headshot.

So what exactly is a professional headshot?  Let’s face it, nowadays access to equipment isn’t a barrier like it was in the past. Heck, maybe even the knowledge to use the equipment isn’t really a barrier, is it?  Yes, there is this thing called Google!

Of course, a successful headshot has a lot to do with the “technical” aspect of the shot: It should be of superior quality, and a good (recent) likeness of yourself; well-lit, positive, posed appropriately and re-touched.  These things are all necessary and really a must; however, the number one most important ingredient to a successful headshot is expression.  More importantly, your expression.  If your headshot hits all of the points mentioned above, but you look scared, or intimidated, or too eager, or freaked out……well, then your headshot is sending the wrong message to prospective employers or clients.  Instead, a good headshot should evoke thoughts like “confident”, “approachable” and “professional”.

At this point you might be asking, so how does one achieve this so-called great expression?  Well I’m here to inform you that this is solely the responsibility of the photographer.  By this I mean it’s my job.  My mentor and the best headshot photographer in the world, Peter Hurley, maintains that he is 90% Psychologist and 10% Photographer.  I agree.  Once you are in front of my camera, I have to know what to say and how to act to get that expression out of you.  Remember, there is an art to giving a good first impression!

As this is photography-related, let’s use a standard piece of equipment as a bit of an example: The standard piece of equipment in this case is a tripod. Yes, I use it pretty much every day and it’s a crucial part of my business. Well, let’s say your online presence or your entire brand in this case is mounted on the tripod.  We all know that a tripod has 3 legs.  One leg is your beautifully-designed website.  The second leg is your professionally-created copy. What’s next?  You guessed it, your headshot is the third leg.  What happens if this third and very important leg is extremely weak?  The tripod, with your brand on the top, tips over and everything is smashed to pieces on the ground.  This is bad, actually very bad, and it brings me back to the statement in the first paragraph.

Don’t let the quality of professional branding be jeopardized by a poorly taken headshot”.

I would be happy to help you complete the final piece of your brand.  If you have any questions or require more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Take Darren: On his website he was using a profile picture cropped from a family photo. Now his website features a Professional Headshot – a vast improvement.  Thank you Darren Larter of Larter Inspections for being a good sport!  If you are in need of a Home Inspector in the Vancouver area, be sure to check him out.