Professional Headshots and Why They Are Important For Your Small Business
We've all heard the phrase "You only get one chance to make a first impression." But what does that have to do with having a professional headshot?
Once upon time, before the digital age came to be, most first impressions were made during the first time two people met face to face in a physical space. Shocking, isn't it? In a world with Google and Facebook and Instagram it's hard to imagine a time when this is how people met for the first time instead of, say, mutual friends on facebook or the About Me section of your business page. And for business owners you can pretty much guarantee that a first impression with your prospective clients would be made in person.
But alas, the digital age is here and while you can still expect to meet new people - friends, co-workers, etc. in person - the business to client first impression is almost always going to occur via digital media. And that first impression, well, you only get one.
Whether it be through social media or perusing your website your client is bound to come across a photo of you. But this is actually not a bad thing at all - this has the potential to be a very, very good thing indeed! Because all of a sudden the power of your first impression is in your hands - you can maintain your online image with a few clicks and a calculated About Me statement. Something a lot harder to mess up than your actual first in-person meeting where maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, rushing out the door running late, a little hangry, only to spill your coffee on you in route to meet your client for the first time. See what I'm sayin?
As a photographer my professional headshot has been important to me since the first day I was in business. However, I've been surprised by how many entrepreneurs don't take their business headshot seriously. Yes, I am a photographer, but in addition to that I am also a prospective client to other businesses. From that client perspective, my first thought when I see a poor quality headshot on a business page or website is - Is this a legitimate business? This does not look like a professional service.
One of the most important things your headshot does for your business is:
State that you are a professional.
When I see a professional headshot (and high quality photos) on a business website I'm not concerned that it may be a shady practice. It does not even enter my mind that this may not be a legitimate service - because this is what a professional business SHOULD look like. Businesses have many expenses and budgets to maintain, but professional headshots should always be included in that budget.
(above) Amanda Majorsky of Amanda Majorsky Design. Headshots can be on location for a more environmental feel.
Another important statement that your headshot makes is that:
You have experience.
There are many new business owners starting their companies every day (including myself!). Being new isn't always a good thing though - it means there is a lot of learning to be done running your business even if you are qualified in your field. But just because your business is new doesn't mean you have to look new. Investing in professional photos can help you gain the appearance that this isn't your first time around the block - something only you need to know. Remember, all clients want to know that they are in good, experienced hands. Give them that reassurance!
Headshots are not only for business owners.
Jake Nemeth (right) contracted his headshot to use on LinkedIn while applying for jobs.
In addition to being a registered nurse, Rachael Tylka (left) also co-manages her husbands landscaping business, Steve Tylka Landscaping.
I may have hinted at it a bit by now, but your headshot also helps:
People connect with you and find you more trustworthy.
Your professional, your experienced, prospective clients can put a face to your name and business and now they feel they can put their trust in you as well. Your also:
Setting the tone of your business, client expectations, and reinforcing your brand.
That ones a mouthful, and possibly could have been split up into a few points, but basically what I'm talking about is your image. Your headshot should reflect how clients expect to see you - whether you are a lawyer and will be in business attire at your meetings, if your a small business owner with a business casual vibe, or maybe your a country singer in a cowboy hat. Your business headshot should set the expectation for when you do meet your client for the first time. So, if you meet your clients in casual attire (or a cowboy hat), don't have your headshot taken in a three piece suit. Your image goes hand and hand with your brand so make sure they are cohesive.
(At the top of this blog you'll see headshots of my own that I use across my website to set client expectations and reinforce my brand. I see my clients in multiple situations and my attire varies from business to casual.)
You can use bright colored backdrops to really draw attention to your headshot. Headshots can also be used for personal pages, dating websites, or for jobseekers using LinkedIn or their own personal webpages.
Assuming you are active on the web:
Your headshot will be used across many platforms.
Besides your website and your social media homepages (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.), your headshot will be the face of your business when commenting on other posts or blogs. It can be used in your physical advertising media as well such as brochures or flyers. It may be used if you are featured in a local newspaper or on a relevant blog. The possibilities are endless.
How many future clients are out there looking for a business like yours right now? How long are you going to give them a reason to go with someone else?
Headshots can be done in studio or on-location. Studio equipment can also be brought on location if you want to schedule headshots for a large group of people at your business location.