Deciding whether to pay for a professional business headshot can be tough. Read our tips on when (and how) to take the headshot plunge.
Data shows that LinkedIn recruiters spend more time looking at your profile photo than at your qualifications. Scary stuff! Whether you’re a storied executive or a recent graduate, your professional profile photo has a big impact on your career trajectory.
That said, having a professional photographer take your headshot is a big decision. Do you really need to invest the time and money in a business headshot?
Retratos Barcelona run down everything you need to know before deciding if a professional business headshot is for you.
What is a professional headshot?
That’s a pretty simple one to answer. A headshot is a photograph in which the attention is focused on the subject’s face. It’s the kind of photograph you might see models or actors carrying round in their portfolios to show at casting sessions.
But it’s not just models or actors who need professional business headshots. Nowadays we all live our professional lives online, and a business headshot can have a massive impact on your personal branding and career potential.
In fact, eye-tracking data shows that recruiters cruising LinkedIn spend a big chunk of their time looking at profile photos, says Fast Company. That’s a pretty daunting thought! Could be time to replace that old university photo of you drinking a beer for a professional business headshot, right?
Is a professional headshot different from a portrait photo?
Logically, a headshot focuses on your head. But a portrait photo can show you from head to foot or in 3/4 view as well. You could say that a headshot is kind of a subcategory of a portrait photo.
Being a subcategory doesn’t mean it’s less important than a full body portrait. People looking on your website or social media profiles are probably more interested in seeing your face than your outfit. A close up headshot conveys personality better than anything else.
Want to know how to pose for a professional photo? Check out our 7 poses here.
What can you use a professional headshot for?
Years ago it was probably only CEOs who needed professional headshots. Safe to say that has really changed with the advent of online networking, online recruiting, online pretty much everything. Now professional headshots can be used on:
- Linkedin and other social media platforms
- Recruitment sites
- Personal/professional websites
- CVs/resumés (here in Spain it’s accepted practice to include a photo on your CV)
- Guest posts on blogs, event appearances and talks at conferences
So what are the benefits of having a headshot done professionally?
You’re probably thinking, “ok, I’ve got a smartphone. How about I snap a selfie and use that?”
Well, you could do that. But having a professional take your business headshot is actually a pretty good investment. Pictures taken on a phone are never going to match the resolution or quality of a studio standard headshot.
Uploading a low quality shot to your new website is a bad idea – why spend all that time (and possibly money) on a fancy website if your photo doesn’t meet the same standards?
As Kate Harrison in Forbes puts it, “regardless of the business you are in, a blurry or poorly cropped picture conveys a sense a sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail that carries over to your organisation’s reputation.”
Having a professional take your headshot means that the lighting will be right (something that’s super hard to do alone) and you’ll be posed in the best possible way. Plus the editing will be done to professional standards that will bring out the best in you.
Having a great business headshot will bring you a tonne of long-term professional benefits too:
- Give you better online visibility
- Create coherent professional branding
- Bring a human touch to your online presence
- Take your website up a level
Your headshot is often the first contact people (including potential employees or collaborators) have with you. Make sure it’s a good first impression.
Who doesn’t need a business headshot?
It’s certainly true that not everyone needs to splash out on a professional standard headshot. For examples, students in Barcelona who are just starting out you can arguably do without hiring a professional photographer.
But that doesn’t mean you can upload any old photo from your Instagram profile! You should still take the time to take a picture where you look professional and approachable.
Professional business headshots: how to pick your photographer
Picking a photographer can be nerve-wracking. After all, you’re spending money and don’t know what kind of result to expect. So it makes sense to do some research and invest some time into picking the best photographer for you.
Check out their samples: Any professional photographer will have a website with samples of their work (check out our business headshots here, for example). Choose a photographer who’s working in a style you like and, of course, in your local area (we specialise in business headshots in Barcelona but also regularly travel to take corporate headshots).
And don’t forget to check out any comments or testimonials you can find – hearing about the experiences of others can help assuage any nerves you have about working with the photographer you’re looking at.
Fix a price: Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting so there are no nasty surprises. At Retratos Barcelona we have a range of packages to suit different budgets – find out more about business headshot prices here.
Meet-up before shoot day: Having headshots taken is a very personal experience. If possible, try to meet the photographer over Skype or in person before shooting.
You should expect to feel comfortable with them and like they’re listening to what you want. A good photographer will also give you advice on how they think you’ll look best – at Retratos Barcelona we provide full posing and clothing advice to make sure people feel comfortable and look great.
Professional business headshots – that’s a wrap
It’s not just top executives who need a professional headshot in Barcelona. Now pretty much everyone in business needs to make sure they have an up-to-date online profile which makes a good first impression.
A great headshot will emphasise your professionalism and potential and open up new business opportunities both online and in the real world.