When I introduce myself as a portrait photographer the majority of people say some version of: “Ugh, I need a new headshot.” If you’ve been meaning to update your portrait, read on.
Why do you need a professional portrait?
You have a digital identity as a professional that is your job to upkeep. The portrait on your professional social media profiles or your company’s website can often be the first time someone connects your name with your face. Even if your portrait is just going on LinkedIn, you want it to look good. And when you have a portrait that you are proud of, it eases that anxiety. If you wouldn’t wear your casual clothes to the office, why would you share an equally casual or unprofessional image of yourself with the world? You can frame the perception your clients have of you by the visual story you tell.
Why do we shy away from having portraits done consistently?
This comes down to two things: everyone wants to look good and people are scared to spend the money.
Without fail, we are our own worst critics. Most people are super uncomfortable in front of the camera. I am, too, believe it or not. But I relax when I know that the person taking the image is a) making me feel comfortable b) cares about what I look like and c) wants to make me look like the best version of myself. I want the photographer to tell me what to do with my face, or let me know that what I am doing is good. I want her to study my expressions and capture that moment that I don’t even know is happening. Spend time with me and I will care about what your face is doing, what your eyes are saying and and what story you want to tell. I want to capture every emotion from serious to hilarious.
Good news is that if you don’t change your look often you won’t need to update your headshot every year, but it’s imperative if you’ve shaved off your beard, for instance, or changed industries. You can probably get away with having the same portrait for a couple of years. But be straight with yourself: do your images look dated? Will someone recognize you?
The investment you make in your professional portrait will pay for itself as it will boost your confidence, you’ll be organized and ready to digitally share your image when the need arises, and the perception of you and your work will be mirrored in its professionalism. Plus, when you’re busy, it’s quite nice to spend a little extra time on how you look and have fun during the photo session!