When a potential client, employer, vendor or referral source looks at your website, your LinkedIn profile or a printed marketing piece with your headshot, s/he will immediately make a judgement about you and your business. This judgement will affect your bottom line. I’ve said it before, that selfie, cropie, sexy or outdated headshot is costing you clients, sales, interviews, promotions, referrals and opportunities. If you haven’t already climbed aboard the first impression train, you may want to get your ticket before it leaves the station.
When deciding how much or with whom to invest in professional headshots, consider what you want your first impression to be. Do you want to appear “free” or “cheap”, or do you want to look like a $500 per hour professional? You’ll attract what you put out there. By presenting yourself as the professional you are, you will gain the attention of the professional clients you are looking for. On the other hand, displaying an iPhone image will likely lose you those clients, especially if your competitors have a solid, professional portrait.
It begs the questions, why wouldn’t every professional have a professional headshot? Here are the most common roadblocks business owners and employees construct for not updating their headshots:
“I need to lose 10 lbs” – A professional photographer will know how to pose and light you in the most flattering way. And, then there’s Photoshop.
“Can you remove wrinkles?” – If you really want your wrinkles removed, you need a plastic surgeon, not a photographer. Using Photoshop to completely remove wrinkles to an unrecognizable version of you sends the wrong message. A professionally retouched image will have been adjusted to minimize the shadows which reduces the appearance of wrinkles without making you look unnatural. In addition, the use of a professional make-up artist prior to your headshots can make a significant impact on the final images.
“It’s expensive.” Ask yourself, what value will updated headshots bring to you and your business? What is your outdated headshot currently costing you? I have clients who will testify they saw a direct increase in their revenue from updating their headshots. And, at least one client increased his hourly rate to reflect the level of service and professionalism he was already delivering but now projected.
“I’m not photogenic.” Being photogenic or “good” in front of the camera is not your job. It’s the photographers. So relax and allow the professional photographer to guide you.
“I don’t know who to use.” Take a look at the photos of colleagues and other business owners whom you trust. Ask for referrals. Look on the photographer’s website to get an idea of their style. Make some calls. A good photographer will ask you a number of questions and make an effort to get to know you, what you need and how you want to be represented. They should be guiding you on what to wear and how to prepare for your session. Don’t just call a photographer and ask what they charge – compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
In the end, it’s not the amount you pay a photographer that you should be concerned with. It’s the investment in your brand, your projected value and the reflection of the quality your clients should expect you to deliver.
For more information on business portraits, contact Photography By Cori Nichols, 858-381-2097.