With each passing day we come across more and more imagery than before as there are images on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. We are also bombarded with images during any commute, such as on billboards. There is at least one studied reason why. People are targeted with imagery because it is easy to digest. In fact, we can process an entire image in just 13 milliseconds. This is why a picture is worth more than a thousand words and why a good corporate headshot is important.
Obviously, a corporate marketing manager understands the importance of marketing, but not everyone understands the role a good headshot plays. Team headshots are important digital assets that play a role in branding a company—as does their absence.
Your Headshot Has a Trait to Share
Individually, a headshot provides a unique opportunity for a person to tell a little about themselves to a potential customer, colleague, or hiring manager before they have met you. Studies have shown you will be judged by your photo within a tenth of a second, and the chances of changing that opinion of you the longer someone looks is rare. In other words, your first impression on someone, made by a photo, is instant and usually lasts long term.
With a lot riding on how good a photo is, it can be a mistake to settle for poor quality, like photos from a smartphone. On top of that, anything from your facial expression, location, props, lighting, and attire can be part of that impression. Each of these components are essential to creating the lasting impressions a headshot conveys: trust, likeability, and competence. Studies have been done showing these judgments about a person are made in an instant.
Furthermore, it seems that the quality of the photo plays a role in this judgment. In fact, a survey found most recruiters will not consider someone who uses a selfie on LinkedIn. They recommend a professional photographer be used. Despite this, there are still countless LinkedIn members using bad photos. This includes selfies or photos of themselves cropped from a group shot.
Team Headshots Tell a Story
If a single headshot can be so telling for an individual, a page of them on a team web page can tell an entire story. It is an opportunity to brand just about everything a corporate management team is about. This can include showcasing diversity to illustrating professionalism.
For diversity, the photos themselves will speak on their own. There would hardly be a need to write paragraphs about how you strive to employ a diverse workforce as the pictures speak for themselves. They are a thousand words.
For professionalism, you could showcase anything from the team in their best-looking suits to a team of scientists in their lab coats. In addition, the use of lifestyle headshots can take the storytelling to an additional level. Now, those suit-wearing team members can be showcased while at work on a computer, a phone call, or a meeting or those lab coats can be in a lab working.
It is also important to point out that photos of people are the most memorable ones you can post to a website. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) did a study to find out what makes a photograph memorable? They researched many different types of photos, such as landscapes, interiors, and objects. They found that among the many types of photos those of people are among the most memorable with an average memorability score of 82 percent.
Digital Assets Ready to Go
Another reason to have a headshot professionally made is because you never know when you are going to need one. Many headshot requests are done last minute because the person is under a sudden and unplanned deadline.
These cases are common. For example, a magazine might have written a story about you and your work. They have contacted you to inform you they are publishing it next week and to please send along your current headshot. Such situations are real and more common than people think. Another such real example includes a team that needed headshots as part of submitting for an RFQ. They waited late to start the RFQ process and were caught off guard with the headshot requirement.
It is not that it is impossible to find a good photographer to work with in a pinch, but it is the having to be thrust into dealing with it, as if you did not already have other things to deal with. A good headshot is an investment that can be used for many years. In some cases, 3-4 years or more. They often only need updating for corporate teams if there is a significant look change. This might be going from long to short hair, shaving a beard off, or losing or gaining weight.
By having a headshot professionally made on your own terms of time, it can be more well-planned out. You can spend more time finding the right photographer and you can spend more time figuring out if you want it shot in a studio or outdoors, what to wear, and if should you get a haircut.
They Offer Multi-Purpose Uses
If you are scheduling a headshot session, you may want to take advantage of it in more ways. Find a photographer that can shoot you in multiple looks as getting this done in one session will be a time and money saver. With multiple looks, you get multiple uses.
Say you are going to a studio for a LinkedIn headshot, but maybe you just created that dating profile that could benefit from really good photos. Perhaps your mom does not have any recent really nice photos of you. Perhaps that photo you have for your online profile might also be worthy of an upgrade. Take advantage of a planned session by maximizing its results. Most commercial photographers are competent at pulling off a professional shot regardless of location, look, or lighting.
A Good Investment That Does Not Have to Be Costly
Ironically, there are commonly three schools of thought from people seeking to get professional headshots made. There are those that understand why headshots are often priced as they are. The other two groups vastly differ.
One group believes they are vastly over-priced. While there are many cases, particularly in large metro areas, where some photographers charge what some people feel is a very high cost, it does not always have to be so. There are fairly priced great headshots to be had in most metro areas. It just means one must put forth a bit of effort to find the value.
Next there is the group that feels headshots should be practically free. After all, anyone can access a DSLR camera and click the button in auto-mode. However, there are significant differences between that described amateur photographer and a commercial photographer.
A commercial photographer likely has a fully equipped studio. They are well-versed on the technical requirements of using a full-frame sensor camera. They understand the technical requirements of using studio strobes and understand the laws of light. They are also very capable of doing post-production work on the photography.
These are the differences between a commercial shoot and every other shoot. A commercial shoot is done with professionals because income, revenue and sales opportunities are directly or indirectly at stake. A headshot is for similar commercial use purposes.
Such commercial shoots elevate the photography. It is important because, well, just remember back to how quickly the photo of you is judged.