A guide to Business Headshots

Business headshots above all are a marketing tool. Whether it is used in printed marketing materials or online, your headshot is often the first impression people get of you which is why it is so important you get it right.

What is a business headshot?

Business headshots are portraits primarily used for business networking purposes on social media, on about pages and industry specific sites. They are photographs which put simply show what you look like in a professional setting. Typically they show a close up of the individual’s head and shoulders, hence the name ‘headshot’.

They are often used in a variety of marketing materials such as corporate catalogues, brochures and advertising as well as press releases and other announcements. They can also be used to represent an individual’s personal brand on LinkedIn profiles, Facebook, in newspapers and magazines as well as on websites and author pages.

Why do you need a business headshot?

In an increasingly digital world, being able to showcase your professionalism both online and in person is key. We are all told not to make judgements about people but research shows that people make visual judgments within the first 7 seconds. A professional business headshot is the perfect way to ensure that you are making the right first impression online.

Your headshot is your own personal marketing and a photo of you whether it be on LinkedIn or on your marketing collateral is the perfect way to introduce yourself. In many ways business headshots help to promote your expertise in a much more personable way than just words alone. Business headshots ensure that people will be able to remember and recognise you more so than they would from a bland LinkedIn profile which may demonstrate your skills but not who you are.

Business headshots also demonstrate your professionalism and how much your care about how you are perceived. Someone who cares about their image is the type of person who will stand out from the crowed particularly when it comes to investors, collaborators, potential employers, industry peers and recruiters. If you are willing to invest in yourself, people will be willing to invest in you.

What can you use a business headshot for?

All business owners and executives are aware of the profitability of effectively marketing a business headshot. Business headshots can be used in a wide range of ways both digitally and physically to market yourself and/or your business.

Websites

If your business operates online then it is crucial that you use business headshots on your website. We may all operate more digitally in the modern day but people still want to interact with human beings and know that on the other end the person whose headshot they see is who they are conversing with.

Social Media

LinkedIn as mentioned is the number one social media platform on which to utilize your business headshots. It is the world’s number one professional networking website which means it is the best place to market yourself and your business through a professional headshot. Equally, using a business headshot on social platform such as Facebook and Twitter can also be beneficial. Although they are not the go to websites for professionals, using the same headshot across them will ensure brand consistency and help people to find and recognise you easily online.

Marketing Materials

There are a whole host of marketing materials that can benefit from the use of a good business headshot from brochures to catalogues. These are the classic methods of promoting yourself, your business and your products or services. Prominently displaying your headshot within these physical marketing materials will help people create a psychological link between you and your brand. Even placing a headshot on a business card can be a great way to help people remember a positive interaction with you or your business long after you first met.

How you prepare for a business headshot session?

As with anything in life, if you fail to prepare, you should prepare to fail. Even the best photographer in the world cannot magic a great headshot into existence if you haven’t prepared for your business headshot session. There are a number of considerations to be made prior to having your headshot taken, including your clothes, hair and overall appearance.

You should choose clothing that is reflective of your personality but does not distract from your face. Typically plain, solid coloured, professional looking clothing is recommended for business headshots as this is what people would see you in when they meet you in person. Your clothing should simply enhance you and your best features, keeping all the attention on your face. Your photographer will often request that you bring multiple outfit choices in different colours to see what works best on camera and what best suits the impression you are looking to make.

Hair and makeup are also important considerations to make with most photographers recommending you bring any styling products you need to create the look you feel most comfortable with. There is no need to have an over the top hair or makeup style as firstly, these wont translate well on camera and secondly, the photographer is looking to create an accurate representation of you and how you look on a daily basis.

Your makeup ideally should be simple but well applied to accentuate your natural assets, helping the viewer to focus on the eyes and mouth. For shorter haircuts, it is recommended that you have a haircut 4-5 days prior to the session to ensure you don’t have a freshly cut look that again, doesn’t always translate well on camera.

A professional business headshot should seek to inspire confidence and most importantly, convinces other people of your authenticity. People do business with people they know, like and trust which is why getting the right business headshot is so important. It helps to demonstrate how seriously you take your personal brand and professionalism in your field. If you take yourself seriously, employers, industry peers and collaborators will too.

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