Face Value: A Close-up Look at the Corporate Headshot

In today’s business world, a corporate headshot is de rigueur. Whether it’s for your company website, billboards, brochures, blogs or social media sites like Facebook or Linkedin, you need to get your face out there. And using a professional photographer is the best way (and frankly, the only way) to put your best face forward.

Oh sure, smartphones have made amateur shutterbugs of us all. But if you’ve only got one shot, you need to make it count.

The right pic can picture you as the consummate professional, while at the same time, give you and your business a personal touch. It helps market you, brand you. And consequently, helps market and brand your business. It can enhance your “about me / about us” page, and even increase web traffic to your site.

Now that we’ve convinced you a professional headshot is an investment and not an expense, here are a few heads-up hints to make it right:

  • Keep it current: You may have rocked that one photo from several years ago, but the key word here is “years.” So, update your face. If people can guess the decade of the photo, you can guess the outcome.
  • Keep the focus on you—and you alone: So cut the clutter. Which means no pets, no kids, no golf clubs, no guns. And, regardless of how great you looked in a group shot, no cropping.
  • Keep it professional: Are you a ski buff? The #1 fan of your college football team? That’s great. Now leave your goggles and jersey at home, and leave those fun tidbits for your bio.
  • Dress for success: Along those lines, it’s best to err on the conservative side. Some industries don’t require business garb, so in many cases a polo shirt and jacket will suffice. However, if you’re in the legal, medical, financial, etc. field, we suggest you suit up. And for the men, put on a tie while you’re at it.
  • Take it when you’re at your best: If you’re a morning person, schedule your shoot then. If you come alive at five, make it in the afternoon. When you feel your best is when you’ll look your best.
  • Make a day-of-shoot-list: Bring several outfits, and let the photographer help you decide what’s best. Keep patterns to a minimum. Stay in the mid-tone colors (blues, greens, wines) and avoid the flesh tones (they’ll wash you out), and unless it’s a company color, you may want to pass on the bright reds and oranges. Bring primping stuff, even if you’re a guy—a brush, hair gel, etc.
  • Sit in the truth: In other words, be you. Be authentic, not arrogant. (And guys, while we’re being truthful…you may wanna leave the rug at home).

Sure, it seems like there’s a lot to think about, but think about this: Studies have shown that, based on your photo, people create an impression of you in about 2.8 seconds—which means even the smallest imperfection could make a huge impact.

With the right ensemble, photographer and attitude, your headshot is a smart investment that could pay off in really big ways.

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