What is a Headshot Photo?
Typically business headshots focus on the head and shoulders because people normally want to see your face as opposed to your body. The more of your body showing in the photo means your face gets smaller in the frame. When looking at avatars or profile photos on websites such as Twitter or Facebook, a full-body view will make the face look tiny and oftentimes unrecognizable. So in that case it is best to use a headshot or close up of just your face and shoulders.
A head and shoulders photo is a necessity in today’s business world. The right photo for the right social network, website or business article can create an invisible connection to your audience. It’s also important to remember others may use your photo on their site when they talk about you or post something you’ve said or an article you’ve written.
Remember, the important thing about a headshot is showing what you really look like.
Why Include a Headshot?
- Adds Personal Connection – There are times when people won’t do business with you online unless they can see what you look like. They feel more comfortable when they see that you’re a real person. When people can see your face, they can get a feel for what type of person you are and if you can be trusted.
- Shows your Personality – When you include a headshot on your website a potential client may judge your personality based on the photo. Does your photo reflect the type of personality that someone will want to work with and trust?
- Builds Business Relationships – Building business relationships is important because it can help you grow your business when others trust you and feel comfortable referring you to their friends and family. When you show an image of yourself, they can see if you’re someone they want to build a relationship with.
What Makes a Great Headshot?
- Lighting – Lighting can create different moods which is helpful when you’re trying to create a mood for your image. Lighting can also help people to see your face better. If you choose lighting that’s too light or too dark they won’t be able to see your face. If you choose the wrong lighting it can make the photo look unprofessional and steer people away.
- Background – What’s behind you can make a statement. If you use a photo with your messy desk in the background that can cause potential clients to use someone else for fear you that you won’t be organized in your business and may miss deadlines. A subtle one color background is best, especially if the background will need to be removed in order to overlay it onto a website header design. A solid neutral gray is a good clean contemporary look.
- Clothing – Wear clothes that fit properly. Solid colors are your best bet – maybe a color that is complimentary to your eyes. Avoid prints which can be distracting. You don’t want your clothing to grab more attention then your face or clash with your website or social media profiles. Keep jewelery, accessories and hairstyles clean and simple. Dress professionally.
- Posture – It is important to look confident and relaxed. Your attitude will be reflected in the final image. If you are rushed, upset, forced, tired, bored – it will show. Pay attention to your body language.
- Grooming – Your hair can make or break the picture which is why it’s a good idea to get a hair cut and clean yourself up first. It’s also a good idea to wait a week or so after the hair cut just to make sure you can do the style and feel comfortable doing it on the day of your pictures.
- Eye Contact – Your headshot is your first opportunity to make eye contact and express your personality to potential clients who may never have the chance to meet you in person. Think about what you are saying through your eyes.
- Just be YOU – No over editing. Surprising clients when they meet the “real” you can deliver a painful punch to your credibility if your headshot does not LOOK like the “real you”. Too much editing could be noticed as you are trying too hard.
- Hire a Professional Photographer – When you’re in business it’s important to have a picture that looks professional because, put simply, that’s what you are – a professional. When it’s obvious you’ve had a non-experienced photographer or have done the photo yourself it will make others wonder if you’re non-experienced as well.
- Keep Updated – Over time your look and style may change, so it’s important you don’t use the same headshot that you used 10 years ago. If you’ve cut off all your hair or lost or gained more than a couple of pounds, new headshots are a must.
Good or Bad Headshot?
I recently had a client who I worked with on his website design. He originally gave me a photo to work with and include in his header. The photo was not a professionally taken photo but more importantly, my client looked very serious in the photo. That might be fine for some areas of work, but in his case and the clients he was trying to attract it would be much better to have a more welcoming photo. I was hesitant to let him know that at first, but after doing the design and receiving some feedback from my colleauges, I decided it would be important to let him know.
Thank God he received it without getting offended and he sent me another photo to use. He even gave me permission to include the before and afters on my site.
As you can see, there is a BIG difference in the image quality as well as his facial expression. You can see more of his “real” personality showing through instead of him in the old photo looking like he may have been in a bad mood even if he really wasn’t.
Examples of Website Headers including Headshots:
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. You will convert more website visitors into paying clients if you have a welcoming and smiling photo of yourself at the top of every page. It not only helps build the “trust” factor, but adds a personal connection in order to build lasting business relationships.