Let’s talk about bad headshots. We’ve all seen them on plenty of social media profiles. Some people use their own selfies and others use cell phone images friends and family have taken. I get it. It’s easy and cheap. You were in a hurry to get that website up, or your social media page started, so you put it off until later. You fully intended to do something about it in the future, knowing a cell picture was not the image you wanted to present to future clients and co-workers, but you never got around to having your headshots taken. Your intentions were good, but unfortunately, your potential clients aren’t judging you on your intentions. They’re judging you on your headshot, which can make or break you and even worse, cause those potential clients to keep scrolling. So, what does all of this have to do with a dirty welcome mat?
I was walking in the mall yesterday on my way to find something specific for a styled shoot, and I came upon a store where I thought I might find the item. I walked towards the entrance and before I even got to the threshold, I could see it. A filthy welcome mat; frayed on all sides, stained and thoroughly worn. No joke, this mat was awful and I have never previously encountered any business using something in such tatters to welcome patrons. It looked like someone salvaged it out of the city dump, and there it was, the only thing standing between me and the store. I was immediately indignant that anyone would put a mat in that condition down at the entrance to their business. For one, I was at the mall and you KNOW how expensive the rent is at the mall. And two, this ugly mat was my greeting to their store; the place they want me to spend my money, but unfortunately, a dirty, worn mat spoke volumes about the business and the person who owns it. I looked at my daughter and said, “this is not the type of store I want to spend my money in”, and we had a little marketing conversation as we walked to another store.
So, how does the dirty mat relate to bad headshots? Your headshot is the first thing your potential clients will see. It’s the metaphorical welcome mat to your website. These clients that you are trying to attract know nothing about you. They only have your headshot to form an opinion. Does your headshot create trust? Does it say you are competent? Good at what you do? Timely? Friendly and easy to work with? Are you forward thinking and on the cutting edge of your profession? Or do your headshots tell them that you’re dated, worn out, exhausted, and obsolete? Is your corporate headshot a stuffy and boring studio shot? Have you thought about what your headshot is saying about you? Is your headshot hurting your brand? I know, I know, I harp on this a lot, but it matters a lot!
During a Personal Branding Session for a psychiatrist, I wanted to take a look at other local professional’s headshots, and branding in my client’s field of practice, and what I found was astonishing. Nearly 80% of psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists were using cell phone images to promote themselves to patients! If I were looking for someone to treat me for any type of mental health issue, I would like to know that they aren’t working from the back seat of their car, which, unfortunately, is how many their profiles appeared. They were unprofessional at best and if I were a client, I would keep on scrolling.
I hope you’re getting the point, and I know you will. Honestly, I’m rooting for you and for your business, whatever that may be. And I’m here to help! Just shoot me an email; I’ve got you covered. Next, we’re going to talk about Personal Branding Photography, how it differs from headshots, when and why you need it. In the meantime, take a look at Your Guide to Great Headshots.
Please comment below and tell me what you think when you find a professional with a cell phone image representing them?