What goes through your mind when you meet someone who looks nothing like the headshot you’ve seen of them?
It’s likely, if their headshot was clearly taken at least five years ago, or their look has changed significantly, you’re immediately going to feel misled.
If you can’t trust this person to be honest about the way they look, what else can you not trust about them or what they do?
In this digital age the way that you present yourself online can have a big impact on people’s decisions about whether to connect with you or your business.
Your headshot - whether it’s on LinkedIn, your website, or even your email and phone avatar - is often the first impression people have of you, so when you take a look at yours now, does it accurately reflect you and your brand?
Do people get the idea that you’re a pro in your field, or does it convey you’re just doing the bare minimum to get by?
It won’t matter how great you are at what you do if your headshot tells a different story. If your image doesn’t fit your words or what you’re telling potential clients or employers, then you will be creating a disconnect.
Our perception is our reality. If the message we get is that you don’t care (or know) enough to put your best face forward, then that might mean you’re not worth the time.
How do you know if you need a new headshot?
If you answer yes to any of these, then it’s probably time for an update!
your headshot is three or more years old
your stomach drops every time you’re asked to send through a headshot (for example for an event or for the news media)
you are using a selfie or a blurry photo
you hate your headshot and avoid using it whenever possible
your headshot has been cropped from another photo
you’ve changed your personal style, such as the way you dress
your looks have changed noticeably
your business has changed direction or you’ve got a new job
An outdated headshot is almost as bad as not having one!
If you have a killer headshot that you loved it’s understandable that you’d want to keep using it. But, sadly, you can’t keep using it forever! We are always changing and growing older (damn it!) and your headshot needs to reflect that.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel a real jolt when I meet someone who looks nothing like I expected them to from their headshot - because it was clearly taken at least five years ago or they've got a completely different hairstyle.
Style - even for headshots - changes with the times
To go back to first impressions, if you’re using an old headshot you could be unintentionally making yourself look behind the times, because the style of your shot is outdated.
Traditional headshots on the blue or grey background can have an old-fashioned, stuffy feel to them.
Modern headshots and personal branding images often have a much more fresh and natural feel to them. It’s a more open, unlimited look and can reflect a little more about who you are. They’re shot in offices, outdoors, on the street and even in your home.
Lifestyle-type images, where you might be laughing off camera, drinking tea or working on your laptop, give a relaxed and friendly vibe.
Don’t look like an amateur
There’s no way to put this nicely - selfies, blurry photos and headshots cropped from other pictures make you look like an amateur.
When you see someone using a selfie for a headshot what are your immediate thoughts? That they’re a cheapskate? That they don’t take their profession seriously? That they’re self-obsessed? Please, just don’t do it!
Same goes for cropping your headshot from another photo taken at the beach, a wedding, a casual group photo, or while out dining or drinking with friends. It’s nearly always so obvious.
Your headshot doesn’t look like you anymore
Perhaps you’ve grown a beard (or shaved one off). Maybe you’ve started wearing prescription glasses. Got a completely new hairstyle, more baldness or decided to stop colouring those greys? Lost (or gained) a significant amount of weight?
These are all signs it’s time for an update.
The way you dress may have changed. You may have gone from a formal business dress code to something more laid-back and casual. Or conversely, you’ve shifted your wardrobe to a more polished, professional style as your career progresses.
If your personal style has changed it could be a good time to reflect that change in your online presence too.
Your headshot isn’t just a picture of you, it’s a marketing tool
Think of your headshot like a digital handshake.
Those amateur, make-do pictures are like holding out a limp, wet fish. They really don’t convey confidence and professionalism.
Professional photographers use the right camera lenses, light, angles and connection to get the best possible image of you.
If you don’t know the difference between a 24mm and an 85mm, hard light and soft light, or how to pose somebody to lose that double-chin, then, with all due respect, you’re not the right person for the job.
If you don’t have a great headshot you just gave your competitor an advantage over you which has nothing to do with price or your qualifications.
Always remember, the face you show the business world affects your credibility because it separates the professionals from the amateurs.
Ready to level up your online appearance?
Would you like to find out more about booking in your own headshot session?
I would love to chat with you and hear more about your business or where your career is headed. You can schedule 15 minutes in my calender right here.
Talk soon! Edith