We decide very quickly whether a person possesses many of the traits we feel are important, such as likeability and competence.
Does Your Headshot Make a Great First Impression?
Your headshot is a lot more important than you realise. Research at Princeton University has shown your headshot has just ONE TENTH of a second to make a great first impression.
Psychologists Alex Todorov and Janine Willis carried out research to discover if we really do size people up at a glance.
They found the human brain is capable of making a judgement about someone in as little as ONE TENTH of a second.
It appears we are hard-wired to make these judgements in a fast and unreflective way.
So the question is, does your headshot present you as a likeable, competent and trustworthy professional?
The “Hamlet Moment”
In what seems like the distant past now there was such a thing as the “Kodak moment.” A precious, perfect moment captured on film for ever. The antithesis to this is what I call the "Hamlet moment," when things don't work out quite so well.
My inspiration here is a wonderful ad from the 1980s that shows a man visiting a photo booth with hilarious results.
“Photo booth” was produced by British advertising agency, Collett Dickenson Pearce in 1987 for Hamlet Cigars. It's a masterclass in storytelling featuring a most unlikely protagonist to represent a brand - an awkward middle-aged man with a comedy comb-over dressed in a bland, brown suit with a clashing shirt and tie.
Challenged by the technology of the time he remains hopeful to find that elusive, perfect picture that never comes.
That hope remains alive today for millions in the quest for the perfect selfie that never comes.
Have your attempts at a selfie resulted in your own "Hamlet moment?" Help is available.
What Does Your Headshot Say About You?
The headshot is an essential requirement for anyone in business today, including brands, coaches, gurus, influencers and entrepreneurs.
It's your calling card and often the first step in your storytelling journey. If your headshot is bad, you look bad.
Humans are social creatures, we like to see the face behind the name and from that come judgements about likeability, trustworthiness and competence. Remember - all in the blink of an eye.
You want to be seen as a professional not an amateur.
That's a lot of heavy lifting to do for a headshot.
The impulse is to reach for the smartphone; everyone has one and everyone is now a 'photographer.'
Truth is, having a smartphone doesn't make you a photographer. I have a cooker at home, that doesn't make me a chef.
Often, it's a case of press the button and hope for the best. Where else in business would you do that?
Selfie v Professional Headshot
You may be tempted to use a selfie or a sun kissed picture lying on a beach somewhere. They're fine for dating apps or Instagram but not for business.
Have a look at the example below featuring Kate who got in touch with me, unhappy with her smartphone headshot.
The difference couldn't be more stark between the smartphone photo and the professional photo I created where Kate looks confident, friendly, trustworthy and engaging.
Kate looks professional and importantly she LOVES the headshot.
The added value here is confidence, she's proud to use it. Does your headshot make you feel confident?
What Makes a Successful Headshot?
A successful headshot requires a combination of technical, creative and people skills.
Finding the right pose is really difficult on your own. A good photographer will tell you how to pose with clear direction. You should feel comfortable, relaxed and engaged - the magic happens when you start to let go and begin to enjoy yourself. A smile is optional; just be yourself and let me take care of the rest.
Glasses wearers need not worry. You won't get any horrible shiny 'hotspots.' Look at the picture of Kate, you can see straight through to the eyes. You're seeing knowledge, skill and experience here.
I prefer to shoot headshots in landscape (horizontal/ wide) format for greater versatility. I've shot a lot of editorial work so I tend to think about the design elements of how the photo can be used. Just look at the gorgeous negative space around the subject ideal for your brand message/ logo. It also has the flexibility to be cropped in a variety of ways.
4 Steps to a Professional Headshot
If you're ready to upgrade your “Hamlet moment” selfie to a confidence inspiring professional headshot that you'll love, get in touch. I can help.
Step 1 - Consultation - free 30 minute telephone consultation to assess your needs.
Step 2 - Pre-production - planning all the elements necessary for your headshot.
Step 3 - Production - this is the actual shoot. BONUS: you don't have to worry about the stress of travel. I'm a Bedford based photographer, I come to you so you can relax in comfortable, familiar surroundings with everything to hand for a successful shoot.
Step 4 - Post-production - All images are processed and supplied as high resolution and web optimised jpeg files in landscape and upright format.