Although photography is more accessible than ever thanks to advancements in technology, professional headshots still offer a level of quality and professionalism that’s unmatched by layman photography.
While it might be convenient to snap a selfie or shoot your in-office headshots with a smartphone, professional headshots are well worth the investment.
Aside from portraying you and, or your team in a flattering light, professional headshots can help you build credibility, convey your values to prospective clients, and generate more interest in your services.
Whether you’re looking to spruce up your online portfolio or capture the colorful personalities of your team, here are a few reasons why professional headshots are more important than you might realize.
1. Convey professionalism and sophistication
For many businesses or freelancers, headshots are a central component of creating a website or an online portfolio.
From a web design perspective, they help break up visual elements on a page and create visual novelty, which is enticing to visitors.
However, many professionals manage to overlook the deeper value of headshots. Instead, they might perceive the inclusion of headshots on their website or portfolio as nothing more than a professional obligation.
In these scenarios, businesses and freelancers will often opt for poor-quality photos.
In actuality, professional headshots provide businesses and freelancers with an extra opportunity to communicate the principles of their business.
A well-lit and strongly-composed headshot can help you convey your professional sensibilities and values. Namely, that you and/or your staff are detail-oriented and take pride in everything you do.
These qualities are enticing to other businesses and recruiters, and as a result, professional headshots can help you gain the trust of your clients and create fruitful business opportunities.
In contrast, poor-quality headshots typically have the opposite effect on your visitors.
They might communicate that you’re expedient and unconcerned with details — characteristics that aren’t appealing in the slightest to prospective business partners.
Given that headshots speak volumes about your business, investing the time and resources into hiring professional photographers is well worth it.
2. Personalize your business or services by putting faces to names
When searching for contractors, employees, or services, businesses will often evaluate dozens if not hundreds of candidates.
As a result, the candidate selection process requires recruiters and coordinators to comb through countless business websites and portfolios as they scout out various candidates.
Fortunately, the visual value of professional headshots can help you or your business stand out from the crowd.
Professional headshots are attention-grabbing, and their inclusion within a website or online portfolio allows your visitors to attach a face (or a collection of faces) to a business that might otherwise be a faceless entity.
High-quality headshots also begin building trust between you and prospective business partners long before you even meet.
While it might sound far-fetched, professional headshots allow clients or employers to visually familiarize themselves with you and your team, which can put them at ease.
By the time you do meet — whether that’s via a video call or in-person — your clients or employers will already regard you and your team as acquaintances rather than shortlisted strangers.
The advantages of professional headshots are especially pronounced if you work in a crowded or highly-competitive industry.
In a scenario where clients or recruiters are sifting through hundreds of company and/or contractor names, putting a face (or faces) to your business’s name can put you in a separate league from your competition.
3. Communicate valuable information about you or your business
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s certainly true when it comes to headshots.
Every picture tells a story, and a well-executed headshot can be a cogent way to implicitly communicate pertinent information about your professional philosophies or work culture.
You can see this strategy in-action by browsing various portfolio/business websites.
You’ll probably notice that some professionals and teams opt for a stern and buttoned-up look in their headshots.
While the messaging of these headshots might be implicit, the odds are that this style of photography was explicitly chosen to portray the company as fastidious, dignified, and professional.
In contrast, you might observe that other business’s headshots portray them and their employees in a more eccentric and carefree light.
This photographic strategy works in a different way.
By underscoring the values of friendliness and openness, it suggests to employers and clients that a professional individual or team is capable but also humble and cooperative.
That said, if you don’t consider yourself a master of photographic subtext, don’t worry! Part of a professional photographer’s job is to work with you to sculpt the messaging of your headshots.
By tweaking facial expressions, changing clothing, and introducing specific backgrounds or props, you can ensure that your headshots are saying the right things to the right people.
4. Make a powerful first impression across the internet
Humans are visually-oriented, and your headshots are likely the first thing your visitors will see when visiting you or your business’s website.
As a result, your headshots have the opportunity to make a powerful impression on prospective clients or employers.
To maximize the value of your headshots, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Today’s web content resolution standards are higher than ever. While text and other web elements scale automatically, most photos — including headshots — display at fixed resolutions.
This means that if prospective clients or business partners are viewing your headshots via a high-res mobile or laptop display, you’ll want to ensure that your photos are high-resolution.
Otherwise, your headshots will appear grainy and pixelated, which makes for a pretty poor first impression.
Thankfully, this is where professional headshots can help you boost the presentation value of your online presence.
Most professional photographers use high-performance cameras that shoot at high resolutions, so professional headshots can help you satisfy the resolution demands of today’s digital devices and look your best online.
Extend your reach through professional networking sites
As we’ve discussed, including professional headshots within your website or online portfolio is a great way to establish you and your business in a credible light.
However, the applications of professional headshots don’t stop there.
You can also use high-quality headshots to brand yourself and make great first impressions on social networking sites like LinkedIn, where you can generate more interest in your products or services.
- Prospective clients and employers on LinkedIn are much more likely to contact a candidate or a business if they have a clear and professional profile picture
- In contrast, LinkedIn users without profile pictures are overlooked more frequently
- Having a LinkedIn profile photo helps complete your profile, and complete LinkedIn profiles rank higher in searches than incomplete profiles
5. Increase the memorability of your business or services
From birth, human beings are wired to identify and remember other human faces.
As a result, we have an almost uncanny knack for facial memorization, even if we’ve only met someone briefly in passing.
In fact, it’s very likely that you’ve experienced the power of facial memorization before.
If you’ve ever passed by someone who looks somewhat familiar before suddenly realizing that you’d met them previously, you can thank your mind’s capacity for facial recognition.
From a psychological perspective, professional headshots work in a similar manner.
Prospective clients and recruiters are more likely to remember you and/or your team if your site includes headshots.
As you might imagine, professional headshots heighten the memorability of your business even further through increased image clarity and resolution.
After all, it’s difficult to remember a face that’s blurry, pixelated, or otherwise obscured.
Many businesses already dedicate countless hours and resources towards researching strategies that might increase the memorability of their products and/or services.
In comparison, professional headshots are almost guaranteed to improve your business’s memorability.
Best of all, they’re usually available at a fixed cost, so you can skip out on the marketing research and development expenses and reap the rewards instead.
Naturally, many businesses are privy to the power of memorable headshots.
As a result, it’s worth experimenting with your photographer or editor to make sure your headshots separate you from the crowd.
One way to maximize the memorability of your headshots is to employ the use of colors, patterns, or visual effects.
If used strategically, photo editing can increase the visual appeal of your headshots and draw more attention to you and your staff.
If your business has an existing visual style or color palette, that might provide your photographer with somewhere to start.
If not, you might have to get a little creative — something that many photographers are usually more than happy to assist with.
Embrace the power of professional headshots
In the right hands, professional headshots can convey your business’s principles and values in a way that words and infographics can’t.
Believe it or not, you and your employees’ faces are strong assets. If you’re looking to generate more leads and revenue, don’t squander the opportunity to let them shine.
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Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She covers the latest developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, and CRM solutions, but also enjoys writing about events, home trends, and travel.