It never fails to surprise me when I see a headshot picture for a corporate or business event, programme or promotional item and it is obviously taken at some wine bar, wedding or party. Ladies, you in a strapless dress with clunky “Joan Rivers” costume jewellery and obligatory glass of Prosecco in tow is just not cutting it!
Let’s not beat around the bush. Going into business by yourself is tough and it’s important that you grab all the opportunities where you can. From business plans to website layout, you probably have everything all set and ready to go. But wait a minute, what about a professional head shot? Yes a professional headshot.
Don’t raise those perfectly coiffured eyebrows and mutter “And why on earth would I need one? What’s wrong with the lovely picture I had taken at my god daughter’s christening five years ago?”
Believe me, far from being a waste of time, don’t underestimate how a well done head shot can propel you forward in the business world in terms of impact and visibility. So today, I am going to share my 3 Reasons Why Every Businesswoman Needs a Professional Head Shot and I’ve roped in my headshot BFF into this blog to makes sure you understand the value of investing in your perfect headshot.
But before I start sharing industry secrets, let me tell you about the number one headshot guru John Cassidy. This man is known as The Headshot Guy® and this is no gimmick. John has been a photographer all his working life and combined with his genuine love of people, he is able to help them capture the perfect image to represent their brand, particularly on digital and social platforms. Believe me, when he’s not making people look fantastic on camera he’s spending time with the family, mountain-biking, cooking and can you believe it, juicing!
OK, back to business.
1. First impressions count
Have you ever looked at a company photograph and instantly came to a conclusion about the person in it? It’s natural for us to judge and put people in social categories. Humans are strange creatures and people will form an opinion on you in the first three seconds of seeing your photograph, the same as they do in person. You only get one shot, make it a good one.
John sees it like this. “It’s all about branding and representing your business and yourself in a certain way. Your professional headshot is your primary visual marketing tool. It should convey trust, confidence and approachability that will encourage people to find out more about you. They say you never get a second chance at a first impression, which is why it is essential to make sure that the profile pictures you use on your online platforms portrays you and your business in the right light.”
So as a business owner, try to look friendly and approachable in your photograph and it will make customers want to deal with you. If you look stern, unfriendly or miserable customers will assume you are like that in real life will go elsewhere.
2. Building a personal brand & brand recognition
Whether you are in the corporate or business space there is no getting away from personal branding. Get it right and it will highlight you as a leader and an expert in your field.
One of the key components of building your personal brand is recognition. Just like a powerful logo (think Coca Cola, Google or Harrods); as a small business owner or micropreneur, we all want existing and potential customers to recognise YOU for the right reasons. Yes, you want to be known for providing an unbeatable service but don’t forget you have to get your name out there and providing an excellent head shot to back up what you say and do is critical.
“Your headshot may be the first point of call that people have to your business, people will make a snap decision based on your picture and some basic information that is provided on your LinkedIn or Twitter profile or even your website” says Cassidy. “If you have a headshot that looks cheap people may see that as you being unwilling to invest in your company and its image and if you are unwilling to invest in that what other shortcuts are you willing to take. A good headshot will make you look approachable, friendly and full of character, it’s the icing on the cake of a well maintained profile or website.”
Make no mistake, when YOU are YOUR brand it is important for you to portray yourself in the right manner and to utilise all the tools that you have around you, one of which is the profile picture on all your social platforms as well as on your website.
Don’t be afraid to show the people who use your service that you care about the little details. There is no point working hard and providing a second to none service if you don’t present yourself in the right way, or focus on the small things (that makes a big difference). Customers will notice and care if they browse your fantastic website or profile to discover an unprofessional snapshot at the bottom of the page.
3. Headshots Are Not Just For Actors and Models
First and foremost a headshot that screams professionalism and know how means that you are taking your business image seriously.
Although Cassidy concedes that there was a time when headshots were just for actors and models, but with so many people utilising their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles as well as blogs and websites it is important for people to know who they are communicating with, no matter what field it is that you work in.
The fact that you took the time to get a proper head shot taken in the name of your work screams professionalism. A good photographer will know how to catch you at the best angle, in the best light, with a suitable expression. You are marketing yourself as a professional, a head shot is a good way to initially convey this.
Depending on the type of business you’re in, it will be necessary to remain active on social media, forums and web pages. If you have a common name or an organisation offering the same service many others do, don’t use a faceless avatar, how will customers set you apart from the crowd? Get your business rags on, look your best, have a photo taken, keep it consistent and stand out.
Cassidy is clear, not having a picture at all on your profiles wall is a big mistake. It makes the whole profile seem so anonymous and impersonal even if all of your information is provided.
“Using an old or outdated photo – you need to look like yourself today – not 10 years ago is a big no no!” The Headshot Guy® advises “cropping a snap shot from a party – it’s so obvious that you have done it and looks poor, do you really want your business associates seeing you holding a glass of wine at an event with your left arm missing as you’ve had to remove someone else from the picture?”
Another reason to ensure you have a good headshot irrespective of whether your business is well under way or you still have some way to go, you never know what opportunities await you. A last minute interview for an on-line article, press release or magazine. To save last minute frantic rummaging through every half decent holiday snap you ever uploaded to Facebook, have a perfectly presentable image ready for any eventuality within easy reach.
In closing I had to ask The Headshot Guy® what the biggest mistake one can make with their headshot?
“The vacant or blank expression” says Cassidy. “The eyes look as if there’s no one home. It’s important that your headshot captures your character and gives you an approachable and friendly look.”
“On a side note, I know that the world loves a good selfie and that includes me but really think twice about the way you want others to perceive you and what impression a picture like that will give off to others.”
So ladies, your headshot will speak volumes. Relax, smile and be confident. It will show.
For further information about John Cassidy visit: www.theheadshotguy.co.uk