Why you need a great headshot?
Have you ever heard people say, “Your first impression is your last impression?” Well, it’s not just a saying, it’s actually true. Studies have shown that people form lasting opinions within moments of meeting you. And unfortunately, 55% of that opinion is based on appearance alone.
I hate that this is truth. It gives me a little anxiety about ever leaving the house in yoga pants with no makeup on. But after considering what this means, especially in a time where everything is online, I realized we have a lot of control over those first impressions.
We all have an online presence. Our social media, LinkedIn profiles, and maybe even blogs or websites. And we control how we position ourselves in those spaces. The studies I mentioned above helped me understand how crucial it is for us to have photos of ourselves that best represent how we want to be perceived.
I don’t know about you, but after I click on a website, I immediately go to their “About” page. I want to see who I’m working with and reading about! And I look at their headshot. Often times, it’s warm and inviting, which is perfect. But now and then I see a photo that is more of a snapshot. Maybe the lighting isn’t right or the person is squinting at the camera or standing at a weird angle. It doesn’t let me know that I’m dealing with a professional.
I decided to chat with two people here in Denver who know a thing or two about headshots. Katie Van Horne is the VP at Wilhemina, a modeling agency. And Ian Henson worked at The New York Film Academy, casting actors for films. They fully understand how a headshot can make or break an impression.
“For headshots, we need lots of different angles and expressions. The more options the better! Natural looking hair and makeup to accentuate great features. We need to see you at your best,” explains Katie.
She also said that there are certain aspects of a headshot that can be a huge turn-off, “I hate too much makeup, flashy jewelry, strange backdrops, or photos looking too posed.” Ian shared those feelings as well: “I always wonder how much of this is photoshop? Is this person actually curly-haired and they just straightened it? Is there anything that makes this person extra interesting? The more human the better.”
In all of their answers, the came back to one central point: be yourself. A headshot should not be a version of you that is unrecognizable. It should showcase your most genuine smile, your style and personality, and an inviting scene. People should be drawn in when they see your headshot, wanting to know more about you and your work.
Later this week, I will publish another blog about exactly how to achieve a headshot like I talked about today. Check back soon!