A professional headshot is an important asset
Often, clients are surprised when we ask for their headshot photographs to accompany media pitches or news stories. Some have never had headshots and don’t know what we’re looking for from them. Many times, they send us personal photos with their families or images that are low quality.
Having a professional headshot is a must for anyone in a successful business. If you haven’t had a headshot since the ‘90s Glamour Shots, now is the time to update that photo. If you are new to headshots, we've compiled a few tips below to help you understand their importance.
What is a headshot?
A headshot is a photograph of an individual that includes the face, shoulders and some torso, often while the person is slightly turned to one side.
Why do you need a headshot?
If you have a LinkedIn profile, then you should include a professional headshot. Facebook is for your fun or casual photo; LinkedIn is the platform for a professional-setting photo. Also, your company’s website should include your headshot.
In addition, having a headshot is important if you are submitting bylined articles to a news outlet as a thought leader in your industry; if you are quoted in the media; if you blog for your company; and for a number of other reasons.
Tips for headshots
Dressing for a headshot photo shoot can seem daunting. Use these tips to ease the stress:
Choose solid colors.
Clothes should be neatly pressed and look new.
Choose classic styles because fashions change.
Wear comfortable clothing that makes you feel good.
Keep jewelry simple.
Suits and jackets are great for men.
Pay attention to detail: stripes, layers, ties, belts, etc.
Don’t wear white unless it is underneath something else, acting as a layer.
Busy patterns and large stripes are typically unflattering.
Turtlenecks crowd the face.
Don’t get a new haircut just before the shoot.
Taking the photo
Consider turning a headshot photo session into a lunch and learn with your PR firm. They can help coordinate the photos and provide spokesperson training and coaching on the same day. If you cannot go to a professional photographer, then consider having a nearby photographer come to you.
When taking a headshot photo, use a high-quality camera, as most publications need the image at 300 dots per inch and 300 x 300 pixels. Online outlets want 100 dpi and 80 x 80 pixels.
If going the DIY route, be mindful of the photograph’s background. Don’t include stairs, pictures and other distracting items in the background, which might make people wonder if you’re a legitimate business professional.
While a headshot doesn’t need updating annually, you should update it at least every five to seven years, as you change your look and as you age. You want your headshot to look like you and not like your former self. You want people to be able to recognize you from your current headshot. If they can't, it could cause them not to trust you and how you represent yourself.
For more tips, subscribe to our weekly blog notifications.
Marjorie Comer is an award-winning PR professional at Axia Public Relations. She graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication. Marjorie cheers for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Marjorie has worked for Axia Public Relations since 2011. Follow her on Twitter @Marjorie_Comer.
Featured image credit: 123rf.com