It’s easy to overlook a headshot. It’s just a picture, right? Why would you need one? Well, the truth is there’s a very good reason why you absolutely need a headshot, ASAP: first impressions. The way the world works today, business is conducted online more often than not. You apply for jobs online. You submit your résumé and references online. Prospective employers check your credentials online. Because all of that is so impersonal, people specifically want to put a face to the name. And it’s important that that face looks both professional and approachable.
Your headshot is the equivalent to what someone would see if they were interviewing you in person. It conveys a message. It sets the tone.
While a headshot is key to anyone who does online business nowadays, there are specific industries where it’s even more vital to have a great professional headshot in order to get your foot in the door.
Who Needs a Professional Headshot?
- People in the public eye
This one should be pretty obvious, right? If you’re constantly in public, people’s eyes are always on you. Let one bad photograph get out there and suddenly people may perceive you in a way you definitely do not want. For instance, if your picture is spread around the internet and you look disheveled and fatigued, that’s going to affect people’s impressions of your professionalism and ability to deliver. People aren’t going to do business with someone who looks exhausted and like he can’t be bothered to run a comb through his hair. A good headshot will bring in business. A bad one will drive it away.
- People aspiring to enter the acting/modeling/entertainment industry
Are you hoping to become an actor? Dreaming of one day modeling clothes or strutting a runway? If so, you probably know those industries rely almost exclusively on looks in order to get people in the door. There’s a reason actors and models are required to send in headshots in order to even start the process of auditioning or trying to book a job. Your headshot in these industries is akin to your résumé. It will tell people not only about your particular look but about how much you care about your work. If it’s clear you took the time and paid the money to get a professional to take your headshots, industry insiders will know the jobs you’re applying for really matter to you. Conversely, if you just send in a generic picture that makes no statement at all about who you are, they’ll know that the job means little to you and you’re not invested. Therefore, they won’t invest any time in auditioning or interviewing you.
Let’s be up front here: in modeling and acting, it’s all about first impressions. And that professional headshot is the first impression, before you even walk through the door at the casting agency. So in order to maximize that impression and really catch people’s eye in a positive way, make sure you get a high-quality headshot done. It will absolutely be worth your while.
If you’ve already had a headshot done in the past, you may wonder to consider updating it periodically, depending on the message you’re trying to convey. People change. Your headshot should represent what you specifically want people to see in you.
Yes, this is a big category. As we said before, headshots are pretty much a must for everybody nowadays. But in particular, people such as lawyers or real estate agents can benefit greatly from a professional headshot. That’s because each of those industries involves you representing others. For instance, if you’re in a courtroom, you are the face of your clients. Therefore you need to look the part. In order to hire you, people are going to be carefully looking at your headshot. Similarly, if you’re a real estate agent, people are only going to hire someone who looks trustworthy to sell their home or to help them find the place where they’re eventually going to put down roots.
Again, it all goes back to conveying a message of professionalism and caring enough to put your best foot forward. Professionals often have to send headshots in along with business proposals. As we said before, that’s because people want to put a face to a name. If yours is a pleasant, professional, trustworthy face, you’re much more likely to avoid having your proposal tossed into the slush pile.
Headshots are also key to websites. When people visit your site and see your headshot beside your bio, it will either convey an image of someone they want to do business, or someone they’re unimpressed by. If they’re not impressed, they’ll leave. And it’s likely they won’t come back and do business.
It’s hard enough building a startup from the ground up. All you entrepreneurs out there know the intense labor it takes to get a brand-new business successfully launched. And part of that launch is networking. Networking, especially online, involves … you guessed it … headshots.
Yet again, we’ll repeat: headshots are the first impression. They’re your first step through a prospective door. You can win or lose a client in the time it takes him or her to glance at your headshot and decide, “Hmm. This person looks well-put-together and like I can trust her.” Or “Sloppy. Looks like he just fell out of bed. I am absolutely not interested in even emailing him. He doesn’t care about the look he presents—he very likely doesn’t care about the vital details of our business.”
- Anyone on LinkedIn
If you’re using LinkedIn, a professional headshot is key. People are going to be glancing at your profile and then glancing away if they’re unimpressed—or, they’ll like what they see, and they’ll keep reading and then reach out and contact you. It’s all about that message. Are you businesslike? Pleasant? Is the headshot clear, versus grainy? The little details matter in business and showing that you care about them in your headshot will let people know you take all parts of your work seriously.
There are many places for headshot photography in Chicago, but not all photographers are the same. I’m a Chicago-based professional headshot photographer with years of experience taking business headshots in Chicago. My goal is to help you convey exactly the message you need to get your foot in the door, regardless of the industry you work in. Please review my Chicago Headshots Section for information and samples of my headshots photography work. Then, don’t hesitate. Book your professional Kyle Bondeson headshots session in Chicago today!