Who Needs a Professional Headshot? Do I Need One?

Can you get away with using a headshot that a professional photographer didn’t take? You’re not alone if you think hiring a professional photographer is a bit expensive.

 

Here’s the thing: professional headshots offer a massive return on investment.

 

Jeffrey Bergeland has served in senior/executive roles for corporate and start-up companies throughout his 20-year career. He emphasizes the significant return on investment (ROI) that business professionals notice when they opt for a professional headshot to represent their personal brand.

 

He says, “A picture doesn’t necessarily close a deal, but it starts the relationship on the right foot. As we’re using LinkedIn to learn about people, the first thing at the top of the page is a picture. And immediately, you’re going to make a judgment based on that picture, even before you even see all of the qualifications of a person. So, the quality of the photo that you have online is going to say something about your personality. If it’s buttoned up, crisp, clear, and looks like you’ve put some time into it—it’s also going to suggest that you’ll put some time into what’s important in that business. So, return on investment is crucial in business. And when you think of the ROI on a headshot, it’s just as crucial.”

 

Instead of viewing a professional headshot as something you could spend your money on, try viewing it as a business expense that will pay off in the long run.

 

So, does everyone need a professional headshot or can some people get away with at-home or cheap headshots? Here’s what you should know about professional headshots (and whether you need one):

Are You Starting a Career?

Starting a career isn’t easy. You’re stacked up against other candidates, actively trying to prove your worth, and working really hard to make a name for yourself.

 

While there are many components of launching a successful career, getting a professional headshot shows everyone in your network that you’re prioritizing your career path. Chris Kenny, the senior communications specialist at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), says, “When a candidate has decided on a dedicated career path and has an idea of how they plan to get there, it may be time for a professional headshot. Career paths of course may change over time, but headshots are a way that employees and job seekers can brand themselves as serious, career-driven professionals. In other words, the investment into a personal headshot communicates, I’m not looking for a job. I’m looking to further my career.”

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You Don’t Need to be a CEO

You don’t need to be a high-level executive or CEO to invest in a quality headshot. In fact, you’re more likely to reach those top-level positions when using a professional headshot to represent yourself. People will take you seriously because people with headshots demonstrate they’re taking their careers seriously.

 

Keep this in mind: you’re putting your best foot forward when using a professional headshot. It doesn’t matter where you’re at with your career; every professional who values their career should do their due diligence by getting an outstanding headshot to be at the forefront of their personal brand.

Actors and Other Performers

Every seasoned actor and performer understands the value of a professional photographer taking their headshot. Casting directors look at hundreds (if not thousands) of headshots every day, so performers need professional headshots to stand out from the crowd.

 

Performers who take their own headshots or use a cheap photographer may not get called for as many auditions.

 

Cheap photographers might try to edit or enhance the photo to make you look more glammed up. Skilled professional photographers know how to bring out the best version of you in your headshots (while still making you look like yourself). You need to look like yourself in your headshot… especially when you’re a performer. You don’t want to walk into an audition and surprise the casting director because you look different in person!

 

NYC casting director Benton Whitley says, “You need to have a photo that actually looks like you when you come into the room. I see a photo online on a computer screen of someone a million more times than I actually see the person live in front of me. I see digital representations of people every day, all day long. I see you for a 10-minute audition twice a year. So, when you walk in for that 10-minute audition, and I’ve been staring at this photo of you, and have a very clear idea of what I thought you looked like, and you walk in, and you’re not that person, it’s such a disappointment. I’m not saying it’s a disappointment because you‘re not as hot as you were in the picture. We want the photo to look like you, so we already have an idea of what you represent and your type.”

Someone With an Online Presence

Everyone has an online presence nowadays. If you don’t have one, then you’ve definitely been very dedicated to avoiding the internet! People use professional headshots to represent themselves on a variety of platforms:

 

  • Professional websites
  • LinkedIn
  • Other social media platforms
  • Business cards
  • Email signatures
  • Resumes
  • Other promotional purposes

 

Your online presence will be a lot more meaningful with a great headshot. Sure, you could use an iPhone or a cheap photographer for headshots. Your online presence just won’t be as optimized as your competitors with a professional headshot.

 

That’s the thing: anyone who actively uses a professional headshot online is automatically deemed more trustworthy, hard-working, and a leader within their field.

Anyone Who Values Their Career

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, performer, or dentist. Your particular career doesn’t dictate whether or not you need a professional headshot. Every professional who wants to continue growing in their career should have one!

 

Showcasing a fantastic headshot across all digital platforms demonstrates that you’re a skilled professional. Ready to show the world that you value your career? Book a headshot session