Browsing through LinkedIn, so many profile images are catching my eye, but not in a good way. I’ve seen mirror selfies (tip #1, if we can see your phone in the actual picture, it shouldn’t be used as a professionally shared image). I’m seen weird faces and simply some unflattering angles. Images too dark, too grainy, or just all-in-all — too bad.
Let’s work on getting you a better headshot to use.
First of all, what are headshots used for?
Most of the time, now, they’re just on LinkedIn. But if you’re presenting at a conference or part of a team that is referenced in a deck, you’ll need a headshot or image of yourself so people know who you are. Often, people use selfies from their phone cameras for this purpose, but having a blurry, pixelated, non-professional image can hurt your reputation and have people take you not as seriously.
Secondly, headshots don’t need to be that difficult or confusing. Since you’re not an actor, you don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to get a solid looking headshot. Your livelihood is not directly depending on this image, but your professional reputation may be, so you have more freedom than actors when it comes to headshots. Which leads me to my first tip of business headshots:
Hire a professional or don’t. (Just make sure the images don’t look like they came from your iPhone 4.)
I don’t think you need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to be taken seriously. If you or your friend has a nice camera, nothing is stopping you from spending some time together and figuring our your best angles. If you don’t like the style of images that you are getting from that, then go hire a professional that can help you out.
No, seriously, go outside. Are you the coffee snob of the office? Go to your local coffee shop, get your favorite order and have a friend take some snapshots of you in your element. Love being outside? Obsessed with hiking or gardening? Get outside and have your photos taken in that environment. Show off a bit of your personal life and show your potential employers and co-workers where your heart lies.
Which then brings me to…
Personally, I’m a big advocate of natural lighting. Your picture should show you in the light that people naturally see you, not all doll-ed up in a professional photo studio.
Also, don’t over-do it on hair and makeup. Of course you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of bed, but you don’t need to look like a movie star either (if that’s not your go-to daily look).
Don’t be afraid to show your personality.
A while ago, I hired a professional to take images of me during the rare time that I had blonde hair. I thought it would be the perfect time to get headshots done, as I looked more professional with that color hair. When I got the images back, I was shocked (and sad) because I thought they looked nothing like me and didn’t show who I really am. I immediately re-booked my session (after a few personal changes)…I colored my hair blue and wore a normal outfit that I would wear into the office instead of the suit jacket that I wore the first round. Not only was I not being true to myself, but I was misleading everyone who thought that they were going to meet a straight laced, blonde woman; when in reality, I have a big personality and blue hair is my jam. The first set of images just weren’t me; I was trying to be someone that I wasn’t. So, moral of the story: be yourself and show your potential employers and colleagues who you actually are.
It’s that simple! But let me summarize:
- Business headshots aren’t like actor headshots and don’t need to be incredibly boring.
- Be yourself!- show your personality in a way that still shows your professional side.
- Feel free to be creative with your headshot image!
- Get outside the studio! – the ‘plain background studio shot while wearing a suit’ look doesn’t fit anyone.
- Please do not put your newly adored headshot on your resume. Just don’t. It’s weird. I’ll see what you look like when I bring you in for a interview or when I creep on your LinkedIn.
- Have fun with it! Seriously, the business world gets so uptight about things. Go have fun; we don’t need to over-complicate this process. Just have fun with it, show off your true self, and get away from cell phone quality.
I can’t wait to see all of your new, amazing headshots!