Wednesday, April 07, 2010

How Effective is Your Headshot?

With the economy shifting every day, the only option we have is to evolve and shift with it.  For many businesspeople, that means creating or completely revamping their marketing strategies, and a large part of that marketing strategy is having a decent photo of themselves.  This is especially true for those in sales position - and if you own your own business, you are in a sales position whether you realize it or not.  The interesting thing, however, is that many people don't realize the importance of a good headshot.

Whether it is in business or personal life, most of you make an effort to create a good first impression.  Everything from the way you dress, to the firmness of your handshake, to the scent you wear; it all serves a similar purpose. A headshot is an extension of that first impression, and in some cases it is the only impression (at least visually) that someone may have of you and your respective business. Your goal as a businessperson, and my goal as a photographer, should be to make sure your headshot is congruent with the way you portray yourself to your current and potential clients. That is, assuming you are already attempting to make those first impressions count. If you aren't, I assure you that your competition is!

So, what makes a good headshot great?  Beyond all other factors, the key to an effective headshot is YOU.  No matter how amazing a photographer is, or how much photoshopping is done after the session, if you don’t see the value in a good photo of yourself and/or you hate the thought of having your picture taken, you will absolutely fulfill your own thoughts and end up with a bad shot. Granted, a good photographer may be able to come up with something better than what you expected, but your goal should be more than just “better than bad.” Trust me when I tell you, everyone has a great shot in them, and the most common thing that gets in the way is someone's mindset.

Once my clients are committed to getting a great shot of themselves, the process can begin. We can work together to get a shot that is harmonious with who they really are and what they are selling. They have done their homework and have determined what they want to get out of their photos. They show up comfortable, confident, and prepared, and so do I. They are less focused on what everyone else is doing in their industry and more focused on what they want to portray. All of a sudden we are both shooting with intention and our intention is the same - to get the best and most effective shot possible. The result is that we end up with a photo that they love (yes you can love a headshot) and are proud to use on all of their marketing material.

They have a photo that says 1,000 words, and yes, they are all good words.

Here are 5 things you should consider BEFORE you have your photo taken: 
  • What are you planning on using this image for?
  • What would you like to portray to someone seeing the image for the first time?
  • What do I find appealing in a headshot?
  • Do you enjoy having your picture taken? If not, please think about why.
  • What are 4 positive qualities about yourself (write them down!). 
(Article reprinted with permission from Local Focus Photography.)