How Does Your Current Headshot Measure Up?
As we enter into Spring, many people take this time of year to regroup, re-organize, and evaluate the direction that their year is heading — the change in weather inevitably comes the change in attitude and the need to progress and move forward.
They figure out what’s working and what’s not working.
In that same spirit, why not also take the opportunity to evaluate whether your current headshot is right for yourself and your brand? How can you determine this? Well, there are several factors to consider, and below, I reference 3 major points to consider:
1 - Does your current image represent confident and approachable aspects of your personality (i.e. - your brand) through your facial expression?
Before you begin to evaluate your headshot, you first need to evaluate yourself. Openly and honestly answer this question: if you were to boil your personality down to three words, what would be those words?
Once you dig deep beyond the trite, off-the-top-of-my-head words like “creative” and “unique,” and take some time to unearth some real gems that truly represent the way you think and behave, write them down on a sheet of paper.
Next, take a look at your headshot, and your facial expression, specifically. Look at the message that your eyes, eyebrows and mouth are projecting. Based on your facial expression, is that message aligned with your three words? How about any of the words? Can you see hints of those personality traits in your expression?
If not, then it’s time to spring clean your headshot into the trash.
It’s vital that your headshot represent who you are and what you’re about - in fact, it’s the most important aspect of a headshot. It’s your calling card to the world, a way for you to introduce yourself to strangers without saying a word to them.
Your headshot is a conversation starter with those who view it because they are forming an opinion about you based on the way you project your personality through your expression. They are making immediate decisions on whether they want to continue this conversation with you.
So, whether your headshot is used for personal or professional reasons, people are looking, and people are forming opinions on whether you are the type of person with which they want to associate, so, be sure to post an image that truly represents who you are, so you can attract people who would appreciate what you bring to the table.
2 - Does your face properly fill the image space?
Do you currently use an image that presents you from head-to-toe? How about from your belly button to the top of your head? If your headshot includes more than a head and a face, then you should reconsider what you’re using as a profile image.
It is not only important to present authentic aspects of your personality, but it’s also a must to make sure viewers can clearly see those aspects on your face in the image. You make an impact on those who view your headshot through your expression; by using an image that places less emphasis on your face being front and center in the frame defeats the purpose.
As for specific dimensions, my client’s faces usually populate approximately 35-45% screen space in their headshots, with the rest of the image being a solid, light grey background. That background is ideal for headshots because it eliminates for viewers the option for distracting elements in the frame.
That way, it’s all about you and your expression.
Another point to note is that the only elements needed to comprise a headshot are a head and a face. That means you need to keep your hands, arms, fingers and any other props out of the image! These added elements distract, not attract. Keeping it simple is a great way to approach it.
Use all those amazing wide-shot photos of you dressed to the nines at a wedding, attending a work function or during a night on the town for your social media outlets, not as your go-to, headshot.
3 - Does your outfit match your brand?
When you look at the three words that represent your essence, does your outfit in your current headshot compliment your brand? Although the image is zoomed in on your face primarily, your outfit is still clearly visible, so, clothing is an important element to consider.
Here’s the way that I coach my clients on what to wear for their headshot session; if it’s something you would wear on a daily basis, inspires confidence in you when you wear it, and flatters your eye, hair and skin color, then, that’s a potential option.
If the outfit that you’re wearing in your current headshot doesn’t meet this criteria, then, it’s probably time to invest in a new one.
It is important to note, however, that there are limits to the types of looks you should include in your headshot. The best rule of thumb is to wear clothing that simultaneously accentuates who you are, and also blends seamlessly into the image, without causing a hint of distraction.
Much like hands, fingers, arms, etc. are distracting elements for viewers, outfits including busy patterns, excessive jewelry (necklaces/earrings), and highly reflective surfaces also fall into that category.
You don’t want viewers of your headshot to initially comment on your outfit before your expression, so, take the time to go through your closet, choose articles of clothing that you feel confident wearing, make sure they still fit comfortably, and throw them in your prep bag for the shoot.
So, how does your current headshot stack up? Is it time to Spring clean that image into the trash and invest in a new one that tells your story in the way you want it to be told?
If you have any questions about your current headshot, contact me and let’s talk about it.