You know that old saying “first impressions make the best impressions”? Well, it’s true. Research has shown that it takes people about .10 seconds to judge you based on their very first encounter with you. Furthermore, research also suggests that those first impressions are very difficult to change down the road. So what people see first is what sticks in their mind, and that includes judgments on whether or not you’re a reliable business partner, someone they can trust to buy a product from, an individual they want to hire, etc.
With all that in mind, professional Chicago headshots are vitally important to get across the exact message you want people to receive when they look at your headshots. Maybe it’s important that you look relaxed, because a position requires a congenial people person. Or the position you’re applying for with your headshot might require someone who literally looks the part of a suited and booted professional.
7 Reasons to Get a Professional Headshot
Whether it’s a corporate headshot, an acting headshot, or a modeling headshot, it’s vital that you seek out a professional to take your headshots in Chicago. Why? Because you might take nice pictures, but a professional photographer is trained to take photographs that will truly set you ahead of everyone else in a headshot slush pile. How?
- Regardless of the business you’re in, your headshot is a window into your brand. Could be your company brand. Could be your personal brand. Yes, that word, “brand,” is key. You see it in stores and you hear about it in statistics—people have favorite brands and they buy them above all others because they’ve come to trust them.
Companies spend billions of dollars protecting their brand, because once it’s damaged—once possible new customers form negative first impressions, for instance—those clients (and that money) are lost for good. You should operate on the same principle: your Chicago headshots convey your brand. A professional photographer will you make it count when a person takes that first look in your direction
- If you’re already established in your industry, then a professional headshot is a way to reinforce who you are, what you stand for, what you bring to the table. If you’re new to the industry, on the other hand, a headshot can show all the possibilities you have to offer—enthusiasm, energy, creativity, dedication. Yes, those things can all be conveyed (or not!) in a headshot taken by a professional.
- A professional photographer is specifically trained to listen to the message you want to convey, and then will work specifically toward that end using lighting, composition, backgrounds, editing, etc. Yeah, you might have a buddy who takes nice pictures, but can you trust that person with your entire professional career? Because that’s what could be riding on these headshots, mark our words! Don’t take a chance. Professional photographers know their business—you. They’ve spent years learning the skills of their trade. They’ll guide you through the full process to ensure you get the very best results.
- Ever heard someone say “the face of a company”? That’s literal. It’s why, whether it’s a CEO or a celebrity, successful individuals consistently cultivate a certain personal brand, a certain business ethos, a certain look that people come to associate them with, which allows them to stand out.
It’s not about your degree or your wealth. Whatever your business, it’s about whether your headshot shows that you are worthy of people’s trust.
A simple example is if a viral photo leaks of a restaurant that has failed a health inspection. Pictures of hair in food, a filthy kitchen—that’s enough to end a restaurant right then and there, for good. Your headshot is a window into how you do business—in a way that impresses, or in a way that doesn’t. A professional photographer will make sure people walk away getting the right idea when they see your headshot.
- How much time do you spend on social media? Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn … all these platforms are places your future business partners, customers, and/or future employers will regularly be visiting. Make those visits count by using a professional headshot on all your social media pages, to ensure, again, that your brand is consistently polished, trustworthy, and always sends the right message.
- Professional photographers can help you decide the type of headshot you need. Styles will vary if you’re going into an artistic profession, such as modeling or acting, or a corporate profession, which requires a polished business look. The photographer can also advise you on the best outfits, accessories, etc. to wear. Definitely schedule a short consult with your photographer pre-photo shoot, to ask him or her any questions. A photographer’s job is to guide you.
- Pro-tips: plan your outfits before your photo shoot. Don’t wait until the day before! If you’re getting your hair cut, do it a couple weeks in advance, so you have a chance to get used to the new style. And hire a makeup professional. It’s worth it, trust us. These professionals will work together with a professional photographer to deliver the best results.
In the end, it all comes down to what we started with: the first thing people see is what they’re going to remember. So when someone looks at your headshot, whether it’s on social media, in an application packet, or as you hand the photograph across a desk at an interview, make sure that headshot says exactly what you want it to.
It’s tough becoming a successful professional in this world, regardless of industry, so use every tool at your disposal. A professional headshot is one such tool and it can make or break your business prospects, right out of the gate. Don’t miss the opportunity to instantly sell yourself by presenting the very best possible image. Hire a professional photographer. You won’t regret it and you’ll reap the benefits in years to come.
I’m a Chicago-based professional headshot photographer with years of photography experience. Please review my Chicago Headshots Photography section for information, and samples of my work, and book your professional headshot session in Chicago today.