“We are changing the word headshots to professional profile picture”, explained one of my competitors during a phone conversation about the progress of portrait photography. This competitor which I won’t mention names is a photographer dedicated to headshots and believes the word headshot to be outdated and should be changed to professional profile pictures.
I believe the word headshot is synonymous for professional profile pictures and that the word itself is the difference between what we would traditionally call a portrait photograph vs a headshot. Nonetheless, whether a photographer calls it professional profile picture, headshot, portrait or even a mug shot it’s alright. The following four attributes that should be the aim for a headshot, professional profile picture or any other name you want to call it; Engaging, Professional, Technically Correct and Photographed by a Professional.
A portrait or profile image should be engaging which means having an image of yourself or team that builds a relationship with the captive audience. Often I am told that I have a great technique for making my subjects comfortable but in my opinion making someone look comfortable is but step 1 of about 20 steps towards finding an outstanding headshot that can be used as a profile picture on the about us page, Facebook, LinkedIn and other professional designated social media sites.
The word professional has different interpretations some believe that a somber person looks professional, others judge professionalism by the clothing worn at Art of Headshots – we believe professionalism to mean something different.
A professional photographer should have exclusive understanding, a methodology, and integrity towards his or her field. Clothing and attitude are completely irrelevant but their demeanor is everything. We help bring professionalism to your portrait through our exclusive methodologies for interviewing our client throughout the session.
3. Technically Correct
Your headshot should be optimized for different needs ie. Printing files have over ten times the amount of data than the image used for web browsing yet it looks exactly the same in a monitor. If a web image is used for printing the image will look grainy and if a printing image is used for web it will slow down the website and the search engines will penalize the excessive data by not showing the image at all. All our files contain metadata descriptions to be easily and readily found.
An engaging portrait that showcases one’s professionalism optimized for the particular needs, usually for profile image ( ie. LinkedIn ) or printing material.
Does looking younger mean better?
“Can you match the selfie software used on my phone, it’s wonderful… I don’t have any wrinkles…”, asked a client recently. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to evaluate a headshot believing that looking younger is better. A professional photographer will certainly reduce lines but not at the expense of making one look like a cartoon. Media have almost convinced us that fewer wrinkles and the closer one look to 13 yrs old the better we become. In Japan Women wanted smaller feet and would wear shoes that destroyed their bones in the pursuit of challenging our nature to have smaller feet, equally in the eighteen hundred’s Western woman would wear corset ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_corsets ) dresses that would damage respiratory system. Today, we believe that younger is better – people are willing to pay a tremendous amount of physical and financial price to look younger at the expense of healthier living.
“I understand that you are now in your sixties… I would rather be photographing you with your life experiences, education and resolved aura than any 13 yrs old for Vogue”, I stated to a client in front of my camera while admiring her immensely. My stomach churned in thinking that she may never appreciate her portrait now because she is in her sixties. In spite of being one of the most beautiful portraits captured.