Seven Reasons You Need Professional Headshots

Now, Not Later

  • Dec 1, 2021
  • LinkedIn, photography, professionalism, headshots
  • Paul Richardson

Every professional needs headshots, be they for LinkedIn, a company website, a brochure, panel presentation, or company press release. But when it is time to go pro? When is it time to ditch the selfie (or friendie) and upgrade to a grown-up headshot? Here are seven reasons that the time is now.

1. The metaverse demands it

All Star StatusThe reach and influence of social media on business is unprecedented.

LinkedIn has over 740 million registered members (and 55 million companies) and drives over 45% of social traffic to B2B businesses.

95% of recruiters use LinkedIn when they are searching for top-tier talent for their clients or the firms they work for.

Online profiles are here to stay. If you want yours to stand out, you need to spend time making it not just passable, but professional.

2. There are no second chances

Being noticed is a critical first step on the path to success. But you want to be noticed for the right things, with the right images. And you don’t get a second chance.

Studies show that you only get seven seconds to make a first impression. And once those judgments are set, they are difficult to override.

We humans create at least 11 immediate, long-lasting judgments about others based on their appearance. You can't trust that situation to a selfie.

7 Seconds Graphic

3. Professional shows care and confidence

You demonstrate something very important when you don’t settle for a selfie (or an image taken at a festival where you cropped out your sister).

A professionally crafted headshot shows employers and clients that what you do is special, that you (or your goods and services) are worth paying for.

You want people viewing your headshot to conclude that you are an expert, a problem solver, a good fit for that next rung on the ladder.

Likewise, for companies, an About Us page with consistent, professional headshots of all the senior staff shows attentiveness to detail and quality, something all customers respect.

Headshot Male

4. Professional shows personality

A professional headshot photographer will not only be able to show your confident, competent side, but also help you create images that allow your unique personality and spark to show through.

A good headshot will show that you are someone people want to know, that you are not just a warrior, but warm, not just finessed, but fun.

Headshot Female

5. Images matter more than words

Half of our brains’ computing power is devoted to processing imagery, and we have evolved to respond viscerally to images. This is how we are wired.

We also remember pictures far longer than words.

In general, people remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and do.

The images you put out there of yourself are going to stick in people’s minds far longer than the impressive credentials you have listed below them. Sad, but true. And all the more reason that the images should be stellar.

Smiling images

6. Professionals shape results

The reason you get great images from a seasoned professional is not that they have $20,000 of expensive camera equipment and a studio. No, you are paying for their experience, their eye, their ability to see and finesse things others do not, because this is what they do all day long. A professional can shape the outcome of a shoot in the way a non-pro cannot.

Ansel Adams famously said that the most important part of a camera is the 12 inches behind it. An amazing headshot is more dependent on who is standing behind the camera than who is standing in front of it.

The video below by Canon demonstrates this excruciatingly well. It shows how different photographers, when presented with the same subject but different backstories, created entirely different portraits.

When choosing who will craft your headshots, peruse their portfolios and testimonials carefully, to get a sense of their capabilities and the outcomes you can expect.

7. Professional is empowering

You gain far more than quality images from a professional headshot session.

When you work with a professional to capture images of your best self, you gain confidence and a better sense of how the world sees you. This can be profoundly empowering.

Quite often, clients tell me they don’t like having their picture taken, or they don’t like how they look in photos. What I have found is that these are people who have never had a portrait taken professionally, only in school photos or at the DMV. It is as if someone were to judge Michelin-starred restaurants based on their visits to fast-food outlets.

A good headshot and portrait session is an enjoyable, empowering experience that everyone deserves. And it should be repeated with any significant changes in career and/or style.

Headshot woman

Bonus Reason: Your day will come.

Imagine you suddenly get a phone call or email notifying you that you will be featured the next day in a local media article, or in Inc. or Forbes or That Important Trade Magazine. “Can you please send over a current headshot?” someone asks.

A professional without a killer headshot on hand risks missing opportunities or exercising options.

If you were releasing a fabulous new product into the market you wouldn't do it without a stunning photo of it, would you?

Never forget that the product is you, and that only you can be trusted to look after your “personal brand” (what people should expect when they interact with you).

That means you should have not one, but a selection of headshots in your files, so that you can deploy just the right image that any situation requires.

That’s what a professional would do.