Back in the day, professional corporate headshots were only required for senior management or the top people on the sales team.
Technology and Social Media (internal and external) have totally changed the headshot game but many individuals and companies have been slow to make the adjustment. Let’s discuss a few reasons why this is the case and the opportunity at hand for individuals and companies with respect to professional headshots.
On an individual front, with the ascendency and significance of LinkedIn, being on LinkedIn and having a (recent) professional headshot are now a necessity if one is to be relevant in the business sphere.
Two statistics regarding headshots on LinkedIn are very revealing:
1) Members who include a photo receive up to 21 times more profile views and up to 36 times more messages.
2) LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots receive 14 times more profile views.1
Firstly, amazing that there are still those on LinkedIn without any headshot at all. Not surprisingly, in a massively visual culture like ours, not having a headshot makes your LinkedIn profile all but irrelevant. It’s very simple: What does it say to have a presence on a professional network but not to have a professional headshot? With all the money we spend/waste on things, what does it say if we’re not willing to spend $200-300 on getting a professional headshot?
But, as always, it behooves us to dig deeper to understand why a notable number of people on LinkedIn either do not have a photo or are using a personal picture. The reality is that most people have trepidation, or downright angst, when it comes to having their picture taken – especially in a focused setting like a headshot session. Why? Well, many of us understandably compare ourselves to the perfect photoshopped images we see in media – which we can never live up to.
What are most people thinking when they sit in front of a headshot photographer? They are intensely aware of what they perceive as their most obvious facial physical shortcoming (ie) big nose, double chin, acne, balding, etc. What do they do when you show them the picture you just took? They hone in on their perceived vulnerability, which only accentuates it. Ironically, this trepidation also results in people being afraid to smile, even though almost every human is more attractive when they smile (which also makes the eyes shine). BTW, happy eyes are very attractive to others!
So, what does this mean for professional headshots on a company level? It means there is an elephant in the room that few decision-makers can see or are willing to address. What is the elephant and why does it persist?
Companies go to great lengths to control and align their branding and marketing. Attempts are made, often painstakingly, to cross every ‘T’ and dot every ‘I’. And yet most companies have avoided taking control of their employees’ headshots, which represent the company, internally and externally.
Has your company taken the progressive step of integrating with a social media platform (ie) Yammer, Slack, Basecamp or Intramail - so that your employees can communicate and collaborate more easily and productively (especially in an era of increasing remote-working)? Fantastic.
Alas, most employees use personal pictures or unprofessional in-house shots that often show them, and your company, in a bad light. Between your employees, and with your clients, this results in less trust and productivity. And less profit. The solution for cutting-edge companies: Uniform, professional headshots for all employees.
If your company hasn’t realized the significance of ALL of your employees having professional headshots, consider the following:
“90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text." 2
“In 40 milliseconds, we’re able to draw conclusions about people based on a photo.” 3
… which means headshots inform and underpin all corporate social media communication and content, both internal and external.
“A study exposed subjects to very brief images of face icons with different expressions – happy, neutral, and angry. The images were shown for only 30 milliseconds, too slow to be consciously processed by the subjects. Nevertheless, the facial muscles of the subjects contracted to mimic the emotion they saw.” 4
Whether your employees are dealing with each other or with clients, all parties will unconsciously and consciously associate and evaluate the credibility of the content against their counterpart’s headshot. The upshot – every employee headshot has a far-reaching impact.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned trepidation most people feel regarding have their picture taken also applies to most decision-makers at companies when it comes to addressing the elephant in the room.
Quick anecdote: We received a call from a personal assistant to a top VP at a major bank. The PA said her boss desperately needed a new headshot as the one they had of her was actually embarrassing. But not embarrassing enough, apparently, as the VP had resisted getting a proper, professional headshot taken for years. The PA had finally convinced her to get it done but there was an issue. The VP didn’t want anyone in the building to know she was getting her picture taken – such was her fear and self-consciousness about the entire process. This need to hide that she was getting her picture taken was exacerbated by the fact that she worked in an all glass building 70-story building. The PA had to search for a room in that massive building that had solid walls.
She found a room. We arrived at the room with the PA to set-up the studio only to find out there was another VP using the room and it would not be available for another 45 minutes. The PA contacted her boss to say she was looking for another room. Her boss tried to cancel the whole thing. PA stood firm. She found a room and we set up the studio. VP showed up. At this point, we are very curious about the VP.
She walks in. Very attractive mid-50s woman. Power suit. Looks fantastic. Of course, this physical description should be irrelevant. I’m mentioning it to show that because of our culture’s obsession with the veneer, as we have learned over 17 years of taking headshots, it scarcely matters what people look like. Most people feel inadequate regardless of what they look like. Needless to say, this taps into even deeper issues within the culture and how they present themselves in us as individuals.
Long story short, most companies have been slow to react to address the importance of their employees’ headshots…
partly because of personal unconscious and conscious fears that decision-makers have regarding having their picture taken – which then prevents them from seeing the bigger picture.
partly because these latent fears then translate to many people, in general, underestimating the importance of photography within their marketing strategy.
How are uniform, professional headshots an excellent company value proposition?
Provides control over a crucial element of your social media strategy.
Maximizes the benefits realized from social media platforms.
Differentiates your company from your competition, who are not reaping these productivity gains.
Top employee prospects and potential clients appreciate that your company cares for its people and tends to the fine details.
How are uniform, professional headshots an excellent employee value proposition?
You have provided it for free to your employees.
You have made it easy for them.
You have helped them to look and feel their best.
They galvanize your team. Employees feel, “We’re all in this together”.
They help your employees to present your company, internally and externally, in the best possible light. This will also result in them being happier and more productive.
On a personal front, professional headshots are now a necessity for business professionals. On an organizational front, uniform, professional headshots for all employees are the cutting-edge opportunity to take the company to the next level.
Specialists in Professional Corporate Headshots and Corporate Events Photography