As photographers, we realize the importance of a first impression and how a photo can speak volumes.
It’s rare today to meet someone who does not have some kind of social account, be it Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google +. Each one providing an opportunity to display a profile photo of yourself. Your photo is an element of your personal brand and one of the most important aspects of your profile account, yet is under-utilized and sometimes forgotten altogether. What is a profile picture, if not a headshot? Admittedly, we know the word “headshot” can conjure memories of stiff and uncomfortable poses in less then flattering attire with a drab background. We too have our own similar past experiences, likely due to childhood school pictures. The ones where you were given a plastic comb and the unnerving feeling of discomfort as the photographer yelled, “Next!”. Ugh. As unappealing as the idea of a headshot may seem, a headshot plays a vital role in many professions such as corporate, the arts, and entrepreneurship. The definition of a headshot is broad and the opportunity to be creative is much more limitless then one may think.
Traditional headshots are typically for corporate or business purposes to demonstrate a person’s appearance. Purposes can include branding for a company website and public relations announcements. Traditional headshots usually consist of an individual photographed from mid torso up, in business attire, in studio. A more contemporary headshot can include corporate settings as a background.
An Environmental or Lifestyle headshot is a portrait of an individual in a familiar surrounding. For a yoga instructor this could be a portrait in a yoga studio or for a mechanic, a garage. Environmental headshots are a great way to show your personality, company sentiment, and uniqueness to your clientele and potential customers.
Model and Actor headshots are very similar to the traditional type of headshot but can include the portrayal of a specific character for casting and branding purposes. The attire is typically more relaxed and can be more elaborate given the personality of the individual or for the purpose of the picture taken.
All headshots have the same goal in the end, which is to portray an individual for marketing and/or promotional purposes. When it comes to branding, authentic is how you want to be portrayed to your audience and clients. That is what a photographer strives for; to capture your most comfortable, authentic self. A photographer is your biggest fan and cheerleader. Photographers are trained to watch for the best angels of the face, the most appealing smile, and complimentary body postures ensuring that you are captured at your best and brightest. When you work with a professional photographer the process should be painless. No plastic combs. No discomfort. Your headshot experience should be fun, professional, and most of all a positive unveiling of your true self.