A Business Headshot is more than just a portrait. It is a marketing tool that represents you to your potential clients, partners, vendors, etc. It is very often the first impression that people will have of you when they are looking for someone to hire or to solve their problems. Hopefully, it won’t be the last impression!
Here are some conceptual things to consider before you even begin to pick a photographer.
1. Who is your ideal client?
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But, most people forget to stop and take a look at who is hiring them. These are the people that your business headshot needs to appeal to. They need to look at it and see someone that they can trust. They need to see someone who is an authority on their situation. And, someone who will help them solve their problem. This will be our guide for the entire photo session.
2. What should I wear?
Cloths, generally speaking, do not “make” the headshot. However, they sure can break one! Looking at your potential clients, your wardrobe choices should reflect what they would consider classy and successful. But, not too flashy or outrageous. For professionals, I generally recommend that they bring what they would wear to a meeting with a client that they really want to impress. Which should also imply that the outfits are clean and pressed. A wrinkled jacket can “break” the headshot!
3. I just want to look like me!
And, your potential client wants you to be you, also. The majority of what they are going to get from any headshot is going to come from your face and body language. Bring your favorite music and be prepared to relax during your session. The best images are going to come from those in between moments, when you are not thinking about the camera or lights. They will come when we are just having a conversation that happens to be taking place on a photo set.
4. What about my expression? I don’t want to look fake!
This comes up fairly often: people are used to quick snapshots off an iphone or point and shoot where they don’t look flattering. Or, perhaps, sober. A true headshot session is more than just one or two snapshots. It should include a lot of images, with periodic reviews of what you have been working on with the photographer, so that you can hone your expression to fit what your potential client is looking for.
If you are a serious person, working serious issues, perhaps you should look pretty serious. But try a smile or two to see how it looks. If you are naturally upbeat, throw in a few images without the smile to see if they are effective.
During the session, your expression should evolve until you reach a natural look that will make your potential clients sit up and take notice.
5. How much should this cost me?
The price range for headshots these days runs the gamet from iphone selfie freebies to the sky’s the limit. And, there may be a good reason to choose to go with a selfie. But, make sure it is a conceptual reason, not just because it is free. If you are a financial planner asking people to trust you with their life savings, do you think that they would be impressed that you took a picture of yourself in the bathroom mirror? What about a doctor, a lawyer or educational consultant?
Most of the potential clients for professionals are looking for someone who looks friendly, professional, responsible and slightly more successful than they are. They are looking for someone who has invested in themselves. Someone who is an authority on what they do.
Another consideration: what is the hidden cost of losing a potential client because they didn’t want to reach out after seeing your current headshot?