The Top 3 Reasons to Get a Professional Headshot

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By The Light Committee

You have probably arrived here because you are pondering getting professional headshots done. There are so many types of people that can benefit from one. In fact, it is hard to think of a profession where a good headshot would not be of some benefit.

A corporate headshot of a woman in a suit in studio near Arcadia

The obvious people that can benefit from one include actors and actresses who need them for casting calls. Then there are countless business executives who can use them for the company website, LinkedIn and so on. You can also make them go the extra mile and consider using them for your online personal profiles, such as for dating. Regardless of the industry you work in, here are three solid reasons why you should get professional headshots.

A Professional Headshot Shows Self-Confidence

For some professions, having a professional picture taken of yourself may seem necessary for the specific job you do. For example, almost every real estate agent uses a headshot to promote their services. But everyone that has a headshot is using it for the same purpose of promoting their services, whether a real estate agent or potential candidate for employment. Wherever you use it, a good professional headshot demonstrates self-confidence in yourself. And, self-confidence is a top trait employers look for in a candidate.

The opposite, of course, is low self-worth or self-esteem. Studies show most people unfortunately fall into this boat. So, a good headshot is one way you can demonstrate you stand apart from this trait that employers do not want.

To put this more simply, using a professionally made image of yourself to post on online profiles is a sure-fire way to express you have self-confidence. This is important because people want to do business with other people that are self-confident. It is one of many ways a head shot helps you stand apart.

Because Others Settle for Less

Speaking of standing apart, a professional headshot will help you do just that just by the image alone. Nowadays, it is easy for people to take a selfie and call it good as a headshot. It just is not. Or, they opt for no using a photo at all. There are two big problems with this.

First, to not have a headshot simply puts you at a disadvantage over those that do. There are surveys finding that as high as 75% of us are visual learners. Further, it is estimated people will remember six times more about your profile if there is a picture to go with it. So, LinkedIn and other online profiles without a picture are not drawing the full attention they otherwise could.

But what about using a selfie? Headshots by The Light Committee has received calls for headshots for LinkedIn because people were told by recruiters their LinkedIn picture was not professional. Upon investigation of their profile, they were using smartphone selfies. You might imagine how many times someone might have thought the same of your selfie on LinkedIn and did not tell you. It is said that each one time you hear about it, there are at least 26 other times people felt the same but did not tell you.

There are all types of articles online with advice for how to take your own headshot with your iPhone or other smartphone. The problem with this is where you are willing to settle for second-grade, others will use it against you. This is easily done simply by your competition getting a professional image made.

Do not think this matters because recruiters are not actually looking at LinkedIn? Well, 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Furthermore, 70 percent of employers check social media profiles of candidates. And roughly half of them will not consider you as a candidate if you have no social media presence. Finally, according to LinkedIn, people with professional headshots get 14 times more views than those without. Simply put, using a non-professional photo risks having a recruiter not taking you seriously.

salesman headshot in a studio with a blue background near Pasadena, CA
A Good Quality Headshot Cannot Be Imitated When Made With a Smartphone or Other Inferior Equipment

Because a Good Photographer Will Make It Look Good

There is only one way to get a head shot that shows your self-confidence and that stands apart from the dominant selfie. And, that is with a professional photographer that has the creative and technical skill to use proper high-end equipment to create the image.

In most cases, getting a professional headshot made in a studio is the best choice. Natural light would be a secondary, but still viable, option. Whichever you opt for, the important thing is working with a pro photographer that has a technical understanding for lighting, camera equipment, and post-production applications.

In a natural light setting, the photographer must work around whatever the sun is offering that day, even that hour. In a studio, the photographer has complete control over lighting. In this way, with a technical understanding of the laws of light, a good photographer will light you precisely as desired for the photos you are after – whether it’s a theatrical headshot for acting or a business LinkedIn headshot.

As for the camera equipment, the photographer should understand how different lighting situations impact the settings of a camera. Working with a photographer that cannot get out of auto-mode is not ideal. In addition, the lens a photographer uses is important. The focal length of it will have an impact on how you look.

Finally, good post-production work is also important. While in almost every case, perhaps except for modeling portfolios, it is a best practice to not alter your look, some post-production work is beneficial. For example, most people have dark patches under their eyes, despite the best night of sleep. We almost all have some fly-away hair, some lint on the shirt, some red eye, acne that popped that morning and so on. Fixing such blemishes is part of creating a polished photo that remains true to who you are.

If you are not yet convinced about getting images professionally made, here are many other reasons you might consider:

15 More Reasons to Get a Professional Headshot

1. It is the first impression of you for someone

Most everyone knows it can be really important to make a good first impression. Sometimes you are judged by your online photo alone. You might have killer content right next to your photo but, if the photo is somehow taken as a bad impression, people may not even consider reading.

2. It helps build trust before they meet you

A good photo of you capturing you in your element can create trust in you. It might be a real estate agent next to a front door, a financial executive next to their computer, or psychologist in their work chair. Or, more simply, it can be a tight shot from your shoulders up in clothes you normally wear to meet clients. Being able to put a face to you before meeting helps remove discomfort in first meetings.

3. It is inviting to the viewer – it says you are approachable

Try walking into a room with another person with a sad face and then try it with the happiest face and you are likely to get a similar response from that person the second you walk in. Your mood can put someone in a mood too. So, a good photo of you can create a mood of approachability leading into a face-to-face meeting or video call.

4. Because it is a current depiction of you

Keeping your headshots updated is critical for some professions, such as acting and modeling. But it can also be important for many others. If you are in a profession where you meet your clients face-to-face and your headshot does not match your current look, it can be disconcerting to customers. Keep things updated.

5. You will feel better about yourself (there is that self-confidence thing again)

If you work with a true pro photographer, you will get good photos and that breeds self-confidence. You will feel better about having gotten the photos made. More importantly, you will be eager to put them to use.

6. You can get truly premium headshots at a fair price

One perception of getting these shots done is that it can be expensive. While there are some studios that might charge even thousands of dollars, there are plenty of affordable headshot photographers, even in Los Angeles. They do not have to cost an arm and a leg. Also, remember that, except for actors and models, in most cases you are only getting a headshot each 2-3 years – unless you change your look sooner.

7. You will likely find other uses for it

Some people get a head shot done thinking they will just post it to LinkedIn and that is it. But often you can use the photos for many other reasons. You can use it for a dating profile. You can use it to submit for a speaking event you just got. You can submit it along with that article you are getting published. You can put it on the business website. You can make it part of your email signature, and so on.

8. Because how many times have you stared at a headshot and judged

We have all done it. We see someone’s photo and judge that person by it. That might be fine to the other person if it is your long-lost friend or family member. But if it is you being judged by a recruiter for a potential job, well, not so much. Do not be judged by the poor-quality photo of yourself when it comes to career opportunities.

9. A bad headshot can turn people off (from employers to dating)

Yes, your photo used for your profile can be the sole reason someone does not want to meet you. This goes beyond just swipe left or right. This holds true for career-minded profiles too.

10. You just might get asked for a current headshot

You wrote that article. You got that speaking gig. You just got hired for your first managerial level job. Etc., etc. Usually one of the questions you will hear if you are fortunate enough for one of these to happen to you is, “so can I get a current headshot?” Studios like The Light Committee know too well how many times, because of such a request, someone calls with “I need a headshot today. Can you fit me in?”

11. Because it will make you look your best

Getting one professionally made is the surest way of making you look your best. There is no comparison in quality to a smartphone when a photographer uses a commercial-grade full-frame camera and prime lenses, in concert with premium studio lighting, and then applies good quality post-production.

12. It puts the focus on you

When you have a good photo made of you, it will outshine anyone else who did not. In a sea of thumbnails, this might provide that urge to click your thumbnail over others. And, like a moth to a flame, really good photos just make people want to look longer.

13. It demonstrates you have high standards

There is a saying to dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. The same philosophy can be applied to the things you use to promote yourself. Do not just wear better clothing or drive a cleaner car. Think high-quality across the board and that includes in your headshot to illustrate to others the high standards you have.

14. Your smartphone camera is not up to the task

Your smartphone is an important tool. Most people are literally attached to them to message, call, use apps, and so on. It is very convenient. But, understand that convenience costs quality While your phone can do many things, it fails to be great at most of them and one place it easily gets bested is in the quality of its images from the camera. It is simply not good enough for a professional headshot. Not even close.

15. Because you get what you pay for – and free is usually garbage

It is very easy to try and ask a friend to use their amateur photography skills to pull off a headshot for you. This can save you some money, but it is going to be at the detriment of the quality of the photo, resulting in a suffering of the quality and amount of work opportunities you get from that headshot.