Because knowing the person behind the business is so critical to establishing long lasting relationships, it’s become very common to see businesses of all sizes use photos to establish connections with current and future clients.
Whenever I talk about my work with people outside of photography, they often ask me why anyone would need a professional corporate headshot. Why not just upload a vacation photo, a cropped family photo, or one taken at a wedding? What is so important about headshots that I absolutely need to get them done, and done professionally?
I can remember just a few years ago when business headshots weren’t so important. Back then, unless you ran ads in a magazine or local newspaper, like many real estate agents and consultants still do, there wasn’t a pressing need to have a headshot done.
However, in today’s social media rich economy, it seems like almost everyone you know is a member of one social media site or another; sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, quickly come to mind.
The use of photo profiles has become as ubiquitous as email addresses, and professionals who deal with clients or shareholders in particular, need the right profile photos to help establish that all important first impression.
Using family photos or snapshots taken with a point-and-shoot camera may be acceptable for personal social media sites, but for a professional profile, such as those on LinkenIn, or a business website, not using the right images could undermine efforts to sell yourself and your company to potential clients.
Still need reasons why you need a professionally done corporate headshot? Here are 3 more to consider.
1. Your best clients want to deal with people, not companies.
Your business brand or corporate identity may be what spurs a client to give your company a call, but it is the you, and the people in your business, who help establish that important long-term business relationship with your client.
Professionals such as financial brokers and real estate agents have known this truth for a long time. Almost anywhere you look, you’ll see a real estate ad, and most (if not all) will have the face of the agent right there at the forefront. Why? – Isn’t it enough to for a customer to see that an agent belongs to a reputable agency like RE/MAX, Sutton Group, or Century 21? Apparently it isn’t. Although an agent’s affiliation with a top company is important, ultimately, it is the agent himself or herself that the client wants to deal with.
More and more businesses are discovering the immense benefits of “selling” their people on their websites. It’s simply not enough any more to think that your logo alone or business track record will get you the business you want. Any company website with nothing more than generic images, text, and a logo, appears humanless, and thereby raises question marks about “who” are the people actually behind the company.
It isn’t enough to have a great logo or to belong to a reputable company, the true face of any business are the people who have direct and indirect relationships with clients. That being the case, the faces of a company (i.e. corporate headshots) are what clients often look for when researching a company.
2. It’s everywhere, so get on the bus, or be under it.
When you visit a social media website like LinkedIn or Facebook to look up a colleague, potential client or employer, or an old friend, what is it you look for and what do you actually see when you get there? Most most people, it’s usually the profile picture, avatar, or “bio pic” that first draws your attention. There may be well over a million John Williams, but there’s only one with a particular face, so that’s what we look for when we load someone’s profile, whether it be on a social media website or a business about page, we are drawn to peoples’ photos because faces offer a personal dimension to our everyday business interactions.
Because knowing the person behind the business is so critical to establishing long lasting relationships, it’s become very common to see businesses of all sizes use photos to establish connections with current and future clients. Professional portraits, or “headshots“, are now everywhere. You see them on the websites of Fortune 500 companies, as well as those of small businesses. They are on social media sites for professionals and well as microblogging sites like Twitter.
In this day and age, not having a headshot to help build that connection with clients and industry professionals is almost like not having a business card at a networking event. Faces help people remember, and your headshot is how you can get yourself out there.
3. The right headshot can say a lot about you
That’s right. Having the right headshot says a lot about who you are. If you are considering using a cropped family or wedding photo as your business portrait, it may be fine in some industries, but if you are in a client facing position, such images could project the wrong message to clients.
The wrong image could say that you don’t take your position seriously, or perhaps that you are not contemporary in your thinking, or that you’re not too concerned about projecting your professionalism. Although these may be entirely untrue, potential clients that view your business profile photo may get the wrong first impression. Whether it is wrong or right isn’t the point, it’s a irrational bias that the majority of people have, and it can affect the success of your business.
We’ve all visited business websites of one type or another and quickly formulated opinions about the professionalism of the company or quality of work they offer even before meeting the people behind the business. The same goes for your headshot. Present a bad headshot with poor lighting, a dated style, or even the wrong pose, attire, or facial expression, and clients or colleagues may judge you unfavourably.
Business headshots are now everywhere. You see them on public websites as well as intranets, and even in traditional print media such as journals and magazines. Headshots are a way to connect with potential clients as well as colleagues in ways the textual descriptions and professional accolades cannot. But using any sort of photo as your headshot simply isn’t enough. It’s important to use the right professionally done headshot to create that all important first impression.
If you would like to learn more about how professional headshots are done, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.