Do I need a professional headshot?
Should I have a professional headshot? Hands down this is one of the most important things you should have in your professional wallet next to your business card, your resume and your handshake. In today’s online world your headshot is your logo for your own personal brand. Would you rather your profile is seen from the perspective of a smart phone or from the perspective of a professional photographer? Whether it’s LinkedIn, or Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, your image is your calling card.
A big miss-perception that I’ve heard many times is that if one isn’t looking for a new job there’s no need for them to spend the time and money to update their headshot. My answer to this is always that you never know where your next great contact will come from. Whether as a sales lead, a new position contact at another company or the next new relationship on a dating website, you are being judged either consciously or sub-consciously on your profile picture. In this digital age that we live in ditch the shot you took at that business dinner where you looked so good but cropped out the person standing beside you and get something that looks professional.
Okay so you understand what I’m saying but still feel like you’re on the fence. Let me re-phrase this a bit. If you were the marketing director of a company, would you have your logo sketched out on a pad and paper and submit that to the ad agency or would you have a clean high-resolution version of the image sent? Whether for better or for worse, people judge you by the images they see. If an IPhone photo that’s dark and at a restaurant is your profile image on various websites, people won’t take you very seriously. You just won’t be perceived as having a high skill level in your specific industry. Do you want this? At the same time would you go the other route and simply leave the space for an image blank? Branding is everything. A cohesive message resonates with others whether it’s to land a new job, build new relationships, find the next love of your life, or simply to look more professional regardless of what you do.
How often should you update your headshot? We strongly suggest updating your headshot about every two years. Don’t be the person whose image is from ten years ago and ten pounds lighter just because you think it makes you look younger. People see right through that. It’s not genuine and will do more harm than good.
If you’re an actor and it’s more than a couple of years since your last headshot you should know better than to even question this. Your headshot is how you put money on the table. Casting directors make decisions by flipping through images. If you’re current headshot isn’t lit properly or just doesn’t look the way you do today, then shame on you. You should know better!
The bottom line is yes, everyone needs a professional headshot, and have it updated regularly.