Recently I was cleaning a storage area in my home and underneath some old paint cans a prior owner had left a newspaper. While the cans of paint had been moved in the past it was the first time I looked at the newspaper. The newspaper was the sports section of the Denver Post from January 20, 1995. I found it ironic the newspaper was from my birthday a few years ago, but more so I noticed the picture of Woody Paige a columnist with the Post which forced me to do a double take.
If you know of Woody Paige either from reading the Denver Post or watching him on Around the Horn, which airs on ESPN, you would have taken a second look at the image as well. It has been over seventeen years since the newspaper was printed that day, and who knows how long before then his picture was taken. From the image you may not have even noticed him on the street if you were not a current reader of the paper or viewer of television.
I bring this up as in an electronic world, it is even more critical to make a connection with your customers from the moment you make first contact. While nothing is more important than face-to-face contact, a headshot also supports your business by allowing your clients and prospects to have a visual connection. The headshot may be used on a business card, website, public speaking engagements, e-mail signature, any of the ever growing social media websites or anything else which will help grow your business. Of course with any of these it will also get maybe three seconds of attention which is why it is important for it to stand out.
One of the questions I am always asked is when should I get a new headshot? There is no set timeframe, however a good rule of thumb is every three to four years. However, if your look has changed it may be wise to obtain a new headshot. Some of theses changes may include a change of hair length and color or if you have anything change in regard to your vision, including glasses, contacts or corrective lasix surgery. Within this timeframe styles have started to change as well where it would be known just by looking at an image, unfortunately this is more noticeable with women than men but can apply to both sexes.
Some people avoid getting a new headshot as it is as much fun as visiting a doctor which is always put off for various reasons. However like visiting the doctor it is not always painful and a good photographer will make you feel relaxed which is important when you are in front of the camera. After a few clicks of the shutter you will find yourself comfortable in front of the camera naturally.
Prior to taking headshots I spend some time talking to the client to find out what they would like from their session. Not everyone headshot has to be the same, and depending on the their business they may want an image which is more creative and stands out from their competitors. Also before the session, I finding providing some pointers also brings confidence to the session as well. Some of these include:
- The night before the session is not a good time to try out a new style or color for your hair. Any experimenting should take place a couple of weeks ahead of time just in case you decide you want to go back to your prior look.
- When selecting the clothing you will be wearing the day of your headshot, think about your target audience. The best advice is to wear an outfit similar to how you would meet with clients or prospects. If you dress more business casual than traditional business, then it is best to continue that look in the session. By wearing a solid top color it will bring attention to you, while a striped or patterned top may take away attention.
- Necklaces are a common accessory and should be worn if you usually wear one on a daily basis. Under the lights, too much jewelry may sometimes shine and focus attention to that spot however it is important to include the same amount you would be wearing in a business setting whether if it is a simple chain or the level Mr. T use to wear.
- If you wear corrective lenses you will need to determine in a normal business setting if you usually wear glasses or contacts. Whatever is worn more often should be used during the session. A photographer should be happy to photograph you with and without glasses, however the final image selection should remain consistent with your normal look.
- The body needs to be hydrated, especially in a dry area like Denver and the Front Range of Colorado, as the body uses water to help the skin. However hydration should be water and not a long night at the local drinking establishment. The effects of alcohol may impact your look in the images.
The above suggestions may seem like a lot of information to digest and when doing so you may just want to use the image of yourself taken on the beach earlier this year in Hawaii, cropping out any family members or friends in the picture. Yes, it is an image of you and for a Facebook profile it may be great. However not all of your business contacts are people you would consider “Facebook Friends” and are only in a business relationship with you. Perception and judgement are common traits in the world and eliminating the ones we can makes good business sense in the world today. A professional headshot is smart business investment so you may focus on the reasons why you are a smart choice for your prospect or client to do business with you and not just an option for a hotel suggestion on the big island of Hawaii.
We are always happy to discuss your current profile image, and if it is time for a new headshot for yourself or any of your business associates. You may find out your image suits you right now and there is no need to visit the doctor photographer quite yet.