Taking a selfie with your smart phone is NOT going to give you the best head shot. Getting good head shots starts with interviewing photographers to review their aesthetic to ensure they can capture your brand essence. If you are going to invest in a professional photo shoot you should consider having someone help you with hair and makeup because camera-ready makeup is very different than everyday makeup. Make sure you get a good range of photos to build a small image library. Five to six pictures using two different outfits would be ideal (three shots in each). Shoot on a solid white background, as well as a textured one, using various poses. And make sure your photographer gives you both color and black and white versions of your images.
Why do you need multiple shots? You need multiple options so that each can be used in very specific mediums. For example, you would use a textured background image on your “about me” page of your website, but you’d use a white background for all of your thumbnail images throughout social media.
Why is that important? Because you need to have a consistent visual representation across all mediums so people immediately know it’s you. If you use a variety of pictures: a personal one of you hugging a girlfriend in Cabo on Facebook, a cropped image of the most professional one you have for LinkedIn, it makes it very difficult for people to pick you out of the crowd. Remember that you are competing with a sea of the same—and it’s very choppy and noisy water. If you aren’t on top of this, you’ll be overlooked, you won’t be taken seriously, and you’ll miss opportunities.
You’ll also need additional pictures (preferably from the same shoot, but in a different outfit) to keep on hand to utilize for your speaker sheet, bio, media kit, and any miscellaneous needs you may encounter where your personal brand needs to be front and center.
Check out my friend and client Nicole’s shoot. She is a personal chef, so we needed to shoot her in her chef coat, as well as her street clothes. Her corporate brand involves her chef attire, but there is also a need for professional shots with her in street clothes because she’s not in her chef coat 24/7. These images will live in a variety of places, including social media thumbnail images, bio, speaker sheet, media kit, website, and any press requests.
Pricing varies from photographer to photographer, so be sure to check their fees and any add-ons. You’ll also want to take a look at previous work they’ve done, which is similar to your project. Every photographer has a specific style and you need to make sure it works with yours. If it doesn’t, the shots will look forced.
You may want to consider storyboarding your session so all of your shots don’t come out looking the same. You want “range”, so think about props, accessories, poses, etc. Your time with the photographer should be planned out in advance of you arriving so you can be very present while the pictures are being taken. Having a plan will go a long way in getting the exact shots you desire.
And don’t forget to keep your image library “fresh”. You’ll need to do a new photo shoot every 18 – 24 months. Why the frequency? Because people change… hair, weight, style. Have you ever met someone for the first time and thought to yourself, “she looks nothing like her picture.” Or, “wow! He looks much older in person.” That’s not ideal. You want to make sure that the person in the picture is the one who shows up in person. Each and every time. They say a picture speaks a thousand words and since the majority of us are visual learners, your picture becomes one of the most important elements in your brand arsenal.