Having a professional headshot is important for business owners and employees at all levels. It’s going to form a huge part of your branding, and you’re probably going to use your image in multiple situations.

“But Niamh, I hear you whine…I hate having my photo taken! It’s shallow, people should judge me on my work, not my looks! I’m aesthetically-challenged and I’m afraid I’ll put people off!" OR "I’m super-hot and I’m afraid I’ll have too many weirdos hitting on me!”

Where will you need (or want) a headshot? For starters:

  • Your social media accounts
  • Your networking profiles
  • Your communication profiles (Skype, Google Apps, messenger apps, etc.)
  • Your website
  • Your branded communication
  • Your online work (especially if you contribute to other websites or do lots of press)

People like to “know” who they are doing business with

Sorry guys, suck it up. Some people decide to do business with just a logo and a business name. Their own visage never graces the internet, and they’re happy. Great for them. Except, I don’t think it’s a good idea. If you launch a company, rather than a freelance business, you've got a great logo, and you’re not using your own name, or some variation of it, then maybe, just maybe.

Generally, if your name is spelled in shimmering lights, people expect to see a picture of you somewhere. A word to the wise. It's very obvious, very quickly, if you're trying any funny business with your images. Sure, layer on the slap, use loads of filters, whatever, but if that image is a. not you, b. 20 years old, or c. Photoshopped beyond recognition, people will notice, and they will laugh. You have been warned. 

Actually a pretty good example, thanks to Martin Gommel

Actually a pretty good example, thanks to Martin Gommel

No picture = amateur hour...or worse!

No picture is suspicious. There's probably some well-honed evolutionary instinct at play here: people like to put faces to names, to have an idea of who they are talking to, so to speak. People have written extensively about the importance of choosing a good photo, what you should do, and what you shouldn’t.

If you haven’t got a decent selection of photos, however, you’ll find it hard to find an appropriate one at all. If you have the luck to find a professional-looking image of your face, that you like, that you don’t need to crop anyone out of, that’s not 20 years old, etc., it will probably be just that - one photo. It won’t be the right size for everything, and although some people use it as an actual policy, it’s a bit boring having the same photo for every account, website, and article.

Get a corporate portrait!

So my advice, as soon as you can, is to employ a professional. Take a look around; if you can drop hundreds on the endeavor, you’ll have a huge selection, but even if you can’t, careful research will let you find a cheap photographer fairly easily. 

If you roll in those environments, you might even be able to exchange services (their photography for your web copy, for example), or they might just be starting out, keeping the price even more reasonable. Then make a plan, so you - and they - are really sure what you want from the photoshoot, read up on dos and don’ts for a photoshoot, and get yourself a nice portfolio. It will make your life much easier. 

Thinking about photos and how to use them online?

Don't miss our FREE webinar about finding images to use in your content marketing, and how to avoid copyright problems!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:00 PM IST

Header photo thanks to Daniel Dionne