South Jersey Headshots – Don’t Miss an Opportunity!

I’m going to start this post with the fact that I don’t want this to be just another “Why it’s important to have a great headshot” post.  This is something that you can find on almost every headshot photographer’s website, and while they are certainly not wrong, I think we can do better.

Yes, having an exceptional headshot can be really powerful, and I’m often surprised at how many folks underestimate it’s impact.  However, I’m also surprised that the individuals who do “get it,” are often missing out on a big opportunity.  This post is going to focus on the secret to really kicking things up a few notches with your profile image, and how you can capitalize on an often-missed opportunity.

The “Stuff” You Already Get…

If you’ve read this far, you are probably someone who “gets it” and knows that it’s important to have a strong headshot.  You know that with a few simple key strokes, you can find scores of data-packed studies and information about why this is so important.  You’ve seen eye tracking studies about how much attention is paid to profile photos on social media.  You know, these are the ones where it looks like the heat map is on fire on the profile image.  You understand that you can’t afford to have a crappy headshot, and that without one you basically don’t exist on platforms like LinkedIn.  So what makes a “great” headshot, and what is the opportunity I’m talking about.  Let’s break it down into three elements, with the first one being the “bare minimum,” and the third being the big opportunity.  Here goes!

Part 1 – The Bare Minimum – Technical Stuff

Of course your headshot should be well-lit, with a flattering pose.  This is the bare-minimum, super-basic stuff.  You would definitely expect a professional shot to have these hallmarks of “professional photography.”  This is certainly better than a blurry, out of focus shot, but I think it’s a long way off from being as great as it can be.

Here’s why…

It’s really not all that hard to learn to use a camera.  Heck, I know how to use a hammer, but you definitely don’t want me framing your house!  Whether it’s a creepy guy’s basement or the local photo framing shop, almost every town has some bargain shop where you can get a $50-$85 headshot.  It’s usually an awkward experience, and the images are usually some sort of leaning / tilting pose, an even-more-awkward / creepy, glaring expression, and almost always against some cheesy old cloth background.  You know the type, and to be honest, they are terrible.  Better than a camera phone?  Sure.  Great?  Nope, far from it.

Part 2 – Connection – One of the Keys to a Great Portrait

What makes a great portrait?  One of the major components is connection.  As humans, we identify with faces, and you want an image with genuine expressions and authentic connections.  You can’t get this kind of connection when you are stiff and uncomfortable, so you need to be working with a seasoned pro who knows how to bring your guard down, and get you looking natural and your best self.  We’re no longer working with cameras from the early 1900s that required minutes to capture an exposure, so there’s really no excuse for the awful, uncomfortable expressions you see in a lot of images!

Part 3 – The Big Opportunity – Using Photography to Communicate

Now, let’s kick things up a notch.  So, you’ve got the well-lit, professional quality image, and it’s got the connection and pop to really stand out.  What else could you be missing in a professional headshot?  Well, it’s not missing, per se, but it’s more of a compass point (to borrow a term from David “Strobist” Hobby) you should always keep in mind.

Your headshot should communicate a message about yourself and your brand.

What is it you want to say about yourself to your target audience?  Photography is an incredibly powerful language you can use to communicate.  The best headshot photographers at the very top of their game understand this, and this is where they really shine.

You do have something to say, right?  It may sound basic, but the best photographers know how to craft business portraits that help you visually communicate your message with your exact target audience.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Are you in a customer-facing role, where you want to send a message that you are warm, friendly, and approachable?
  • Have you always looked young for your age, and you’re hoping to communicate competence, professionalism, and confidence?
  • Are you in management looking to portray an executive presence while still coming off as someone who is approachable?

We’ve worked with scores of individuals in a broad range of professions, and body language, demeanor, and other non-verbal cues speak volumes!  If I’m not mistaken, around 80% of what is communicated in human interaction is often via non-verbal means such as posture, expression, gesture, etc.  Wow!  When you work with us, you’re working with someone who understands how to help you communicate your message.

The Wrap Up!

So to wrap things up, having a strong headshot is important, but you should be sure you tap into the true potential of a really great profile image.  Think about what it is you want to communicate, and use your headshot to say something important about yourself to others.  Let it communicate something about who you are as a person.  Remember, humans identify and connect with faces, and this can be a huge opportunity to portray yourself the way you want to be seen!

Get in touch with us, and we’ll help you to cultivate your personal brand.

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