To headshot or not to headshot
I have spoken or written about this topic many times, but the question is still on point. In a previous post on my website, I said, "Don't let a poorly taken headshot jeopardize the quality of professional branding." A very true statement indeed. An excellent example of this would be hiring a professional designer to create your perfect modern-looking website, then hiring a professional writer to create the ideal copy to go along with that beautiful design, then only to 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 a barrier. Yes, there is this thing called Google! Of course, much of 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 a must; however, the number one most crucial 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, let's focus more on words 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 an excellent 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 a tripod has three 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 fragile? With your brand on the top, the tripod 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 a poorly taken headshot jeopardize the quality of professional branding."
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding any of the information provided in this article, and as always, I look forward to working with you.