On an elementary level, a headshot is a photograph of you, showing mainly your head and shoulders. It’s technically a portrait. But rolling that word around might sound a bit stuffy, static and even stale.
You’re probably familiar with headshots from school photographs, security and access tags for work, drivers licences, and passport shots. If you’re like most people, you cringed reading that list, no doubt thinking of all the times that those photographs made you feel even worse.
In the majority of those instances, there is no professional skill used in taking those images. Most people find them an embarrassment, both the subject and the viewer.
They’re doing their job of course. For government use, it’s about facial recognition software. They’re not meant to flatter. They’re purely a record.
But we put together the idea that all photographs of me equal disappointment. So it probably makes most people suspicious that paying for a headshot is not going to be worthwhile. “All photos are equal aren’t they!?”
No. No, they are not. A great professional headshot is a world away from those traditional photographs that we’ve all “suffered” with through.
What’s the difference between those institutionalised headshots and a great professional headshot?
Quite simply – effectiveness and intent.
If you’ve never had a great professional headshot, you’re probably sceptical that it could make any difference at all.
Depending on the role you play, and that includes the real role for actors as well as the type for corporate and business people, your headshot generally projects you as professional. It shows serious and real intent. On a specific level, it helps define your character and is indicative of personality. The viewer sees attributes in you like confidence, intelligence, and personality.
This time you’re in charge of the “messaging”. You get to say yes or no to the shots based on an already strongly selected group of images.
These headshots are now an essential tool because of their effectiveness. With repeated viewing, someone is getting to know you via these online tools.
That helps break down some of the barriers that now exist precisely because of the delivery method (social media, smartphones, tablets, computers). Your websites, and the use of LinkedIn, Twitter, Weibo, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and all the other gathering places help create the opportunities to sell you and familiarise you with your peers.
It’s a great first contact before the real world face-to-face. It’s a reassurance to those doing business with you and creates confidence in you.
A great professional headshot can help open doors through the sheer act of familiarity. Look the part; approachable, professional, warm, friendly, engaging.
Whatever routes help visually communicate your attributes and sensibilities, is effectively achieved within a headshot session.
If you’ve never thought there’s a difference try it. Our clients are amazed at the positive results, delighted with the time and effort spent, and very grateful that they end up feeling and looking the way they never thought possible.