Smile! A Great Headshot Is Great for Business

Smile! A Great Headshot is Great for Business by Mark Bullock

{2:45 minutes to read} If you own or work for a professional practice, you need to be active on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Our clients know the importance of publishing blog articles, developing educational content, etc.—and those article signatures need to have your headshot. There’s a myriad of places in the professional world in which you can and should use a headshot.

If somebody’s trying to connect with you on LinkedIn, or if a prospect is visiting your website for the first time, that individual will be eager to learn about you.

The very first place that starts is with your photograph!  

What Makes a Decent Headshot?

Obviously, you need to have educational content written on your website that’s informational and helps potential clients understand what’s going on in your practice and field. We’ve had articles about FAQs, etc., but we keep coming back to struggles with trying to get decent pictures of our clients, and our would-be clients, to use online.

A headshot can be taken indoors or outdoors. It’s possible to get a decent headshot off of a modern smartphone, but really, only if you know what you’re doing. If you’ve got good lighting, a good background, and your hair is done up, even if you’re not a photographer, you can take several shots, with several facial expressions, from several different angles, and with different backgrounds, and see what comes up. I suggest trying that. But really, nothing beats a professional photograph.

And I’m shifting, actually, from the word “headshot” to “photograph,” because we’d like a torso shot. Why? This gives us the opportunity to use different cropping; in other words, zooming in or out on your face, or your shoulders and up, or waist and up, etc. So, a torso shot offers flexibility on your social media platforms, industry directories, blog, website, etc.

Some of our clients choose a black and white photograph, which is rather artistic and unique. While this may stand out amongst others, it is important to consider that it also may not be appropriate for every marketing platform. Color photographs can easily be converted to black and white; however, the reverse is not as simple. The best use of your money is to get a color photograph that can be filtered or edited at any time.

The bottom line: Present yourself authentically & professionally.

Part of doing so is also being deliberate about your clothing choice. A good rule of thumb is to combine your personal preference with industry standards. Does your industry expect suits and ties? Is a casual element appropriate? These are questions that you can ask yourself in order to determine what you are going to be most comfortable presenting to prospective clients, colleagues, etc.

Helpful hint: Avoid the color green. (Most skin tones are not complimented well by green or yellow clothing.)

A photographer’s expertise can assist you to narrow down your options. As I mentioned above, it is a good idea to take multiple shots from different angles with varying backgrounds and lighting so that you have a portfolio of several options. Many clients have used different images of themselves in a variety of ways for digital and print use. Some examples include: website, social media, blog articles, brochures, business cards, and more! These do not need to be, nor should they be, the exact same photo of you.

At the end of the day, good marketing is a two-edged sword—it will both attract and repel. Some people will identify and align with your way of thinking and presence, others won’t. And that’s ok—because when you try to be too much of a chameleon and please everyone, you end up invisible.

So if heavy makeup, or a plaid jacket, or costume jewelry is “you,” then that is what your photograph should portray. Be you, and be professional!

A picture says a thousand words. Make sure your headshot tells the right story—your story.


Mark Bullock
Telephone: (631) 754-0800



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