You know this already, but it bears emphasizing: image is a vital part of any business. We live in an increasingly visual society. Much of the business you do will be online and so the image you portray there may be the only way people can engage with you. They’ll either like it or they won’t—talk about first impressions being lasting. It’s a fact.
If people do happen to meet you offline, say at a conference, they’re going to want to match your face to what they saw on a screen. If it doesn’t match, they may feel confused and even betrayed. That’s why a headshot is so key.
Sure, you can take your own headshots, but they won’t have the polish that customers are looking for—when you work with someone yourself, you’re looking for professionalism, right? And part of professionalism is working with the best. A professionally trained photographer provides you with the tools to create a truly stunning headshot that will catch people’s eye in all the right ways.
It’s important that you utilize professional Chicago headshots in order to ensure you present yourself in the best possible light.
Professional headshots are absolutely an investment that can help drive your business forward. With that mind, let’s talk about how you can make the most use of those Chicago headshots.
1 Tell your story visually
People are curious both about who you are and what makes your business tick. They want to know what led you to start your business and what your ultimate goals are. One way to share part of your story is through images.
Talk to your professional photographer about exactly those things—where you’re starting, where you want to end up. A photographer can help you create the full arc of a story in images. His or her job is to clearly convey whatever message it is you have in mind.
Take a minute to consider that message. Who are you? What is your personality? You want to make sure your headshot matches what people see when they meet in person. For instance, if your headshot involves laidback clothes and then you meet a client while wearing a three-piece suit, there’s a confusing discrepancy. It can throw people off very quickly and lose you a potential customer or ten.
Make sure your photographer helps you get across who you are andnot who you think you should be. People respond best to authenticity.
2 Be unique
You are unique—of that there is no doubt. And so is your company. So make sure you use your headshots to help establish that firmly in readers’ minds. Allow yourself to be inspired by things that aren’t necessarily conventional. For instance, maybe your company plans trips for people. And maybe the reason you chose to start the company is because of a particularly fantastic trip that made you go “Wow! I want other people to have this great a time while they’re on vacation!” Tell that story to the photographer. He or she can help you infuse that excitement and energy into your images.
Or maybe your business is a restaurant. Did your grandmother inspire you to cook a certain cuisine? Again, tell the photographer. Share those memories that inspired you and allow them to be used in your headshots to inspire other people to see the real you.
It could be specific colors incorporated into a headshot, textures, logos—the sky is the limit so long as you clearly communicate with the photographer. Keep in mind that people want to get to know you. They’re far more likely to engage with a brand they feel they really know. And that’s what you’re establishing with your headshots—a brand that stands out in the crowd.
If your headshot causes potential customers to come over and start sharing a story of their own which they relate to your headshot, you’ve made a personal connection. Nothing is more vital to a business’ success than those moments.
3 Establish your goals visually
Once you’ve established who you are in a potential customer’s eye, it’s important to follow that up with where you’re going. Customers want to follow you on that journey but in order to do so, they need a road map. Your headshot can help create that by setting a consistent tone. It goes back to not wearing one thing in a shot and then being a person who never wears that type of clothing in real life. The way you dress, act, and speak should all be consistent with how you come across visually in your headshot.
Similarly, make sure your headshot doesn’t imply you want to achieve one thing when you’re interested in something entirely different. Tell the photographer your future plans and make sure those are conveyed. Transparency is vital to gaining customer trust.
4 Make a mood board
Before you get your professional headshots done in Chicago, spend some time looking around for visual inspiration to further help you share who you are and what your business is. Inspiration can strike anywhere—online, during day-to-day interactions, in stores, you name it.
When you walk into a photo shoot with a mood board, it immediately helps provide your photographer with clarity. If you’ve got a team helping you, such as stylists or makeup artists, make sure you include things they can also use to guide their work. They can’t read your mind but they can read the pictures on your mood board and use them as a concrete reference.
Mood boards are fantastic for helping create a cohesive vision whether it’s of how you want to be personally portrayed, how you want a business or product depicted, etc. It helps you quickly establish a certain aesthetic that you can then consistently apply. Again, as mentioned before, a consistent tone is key.
I’m a Chicago-based professional photographer with years of headshot and portrait experience. Please review my website’s Headshots and Portraits sections for information and take a look at samples of my work. Then book your session today!