Headshots Promote Your Personal Brand - dummies

Headshots Promote Your Personal Brand

By Susan Chritton

Headshots can be used in all areas of your personal branding strategy. They used to be only for chief executives who needed photos for the annual report. But thanks to online media, headshots have gone mainstream. Anyone on LinkedIn needs a good headshot — and yes, you should be on LinkedIn, so this means you!

You can use your headshot on your professional biography, on all your social media sites, and possibly in the signature of your e-mail.

To take the best headshot possible, keep these points in mind:

  • When you sit for a headshot, you should be the focus — not the setting. Look directly at the camera as if you’re engaging in a conversation. You should look natural and comfortable, and you should have a warm, friendly expression on your face.

  • Your photo should be in color, but be careful of having too much vivid color in the background. If you use a stronger color, make it a solid color.

  • The photo should appear to have natural lighting on a solid, simple background. You don’t want to stand in front of your bulletin board or by a striped wall. Avoid distracting backgrounds.

Think about the audience that you want to attract with your headshot. If it’s a business audience, take a few shots with a jacket on and a few without a jacket. When you relax the business dress yet still look professional, a photo has a more open and inviting feel to it.

Make sure that you feel good in the clothes that you choose and that you feel successful and aspirational for what is going to come into your life. Keep your look current and don’t wear clothes that are out of date.

Here are additional tips for creating your best on-camera look:

  • Make sure that you look rested and are feeling well.

  • Wear your hair styled in your best look. Wait at least one week after a haircut. Make sure that your hair is clean and that no differently colored roots are showing.

  • Men, be aware of your facial hair. Shave before a photo. Be aware that a two-day growth isn’t always perceived as professional.

  • Women, apply makeup over a good moisturizer so that your skin doesn’t appear dry. Wear more makeup than usual, but no frosted makeup. Know how to use makeup to contour for effect.

  • Choose clothing that projects the image you want to project. Stick with solid colors; avoid solid white, polka dots, distracting stripes, or wild prints. Don’t wear anything that will reflect the lights too much, like a shiny silk blouse.

  • Choose a neckline that enhances the shape of your face and neck but is not too low cut.

  • Keep in mind that light to medium-dark colors are more flattering to the skin. Avoid dark green, black, or navy.

  • Because glasses can reflect the light and cause a glare, take pictures with your glasses both on and off.

  • Keep your jewelry simple to keep the focus on your face.

  • Don’t look straight at the camera. Turn to show the best profile of your face.

  • Smile and have a pleasant expression.