Ditch the selfies, because the era of the professional social media headshot is here! In our physically disconnected world, where so many of our connections are made online, it’s more important than ever for people to sense your authenticity and your personality. From LinkedIn to Pinterest, the way you represent yourself to the online world matters now more than ever! As photographer John Cassidy put it so succinctly, “Your social media headshot can seem no bigger than a thumbnail, but it packs a powerful punch.”
Don’t rely on a terribly lit shot. We now live in a digital age of dating where everybody is quick to be judgmental on first impressions and that entails your photograph. Why not look your best? (Especially on sites such as Tinder where users judge others mostly on the basis of a photo: A swipe right is a “yes,” a swipe left is a “pass.”)
Keeping Up Online
More and more site options and styles are popping up by the day combining various online profiles. There’s the free dating app Glimpse that lets you “smile” at potential mates based not on only their headshots — like Tinder — but also on their Instagram photos.
The lines between social and professional sites are also getting blurred. BeLinked! is a dating app that’s synced to the user’s LinkedIn account. The free app is similar to the mega popular dating app Tinder, in that it’s GPS-based and users can view potential matches and “like” them if they’re interested. Unlike Tinder, which only shows headshots of potential dates, BeLinked! also reveals each user’s profession, hometown and alma mater; shows exactly how they’re connected to each match via their LinkedIn contacts; and lets users filter preferences by gender, age, distance, industry and school.
Choosing a Photographer
By now I’m sure you are ready to book your social media headshot session ASAP. The goods news is in the digital photography era it no longer takes a huge investment of time or money to hire someone to take a professional-looking headshot.
The session can take place in a studio or out on location. It doesn’t have to be a stiff formal set up. An appropriate environment – your office if you are pressed for time or better yet outside with some natural light. Some photographers, like New York-based photographer Max Schwartz specialize in specific sites, such as Tinder. Since the sessions are typically shorter than a more formal shoot, you should be able to find fees in range of $75 (for one retouched photo) or $150 for three.
Preparing for the Shoot
Choose an outfit that enhances you and your features and keeps the focus on your face. Follow these social media headshot photo tips:
- Love what you’re wearing – It will show through in your facial expressions.
- Bring multiple options – It there’s a must-have item you don’t own, here’s a wardrobe stylists tip – buy it for the shoot and then return it.
- Be yourself —Bring a variety of colors as well as both work and casual clothes.
- Don’t be too selective or seasonal — and most importantly no crazy patterns.
If you’re still hesitant to book that professional session, here’s some tips to make sure you look as attractive and confident as possible yet convey the essence of your personality. Once you see the improved reaction you get, you’ll be scheduling that headshot session before you know it.
1. Be smiling and confident – you want to look as approachable as you can because you’re making that first impression.
2. Don’t wear a hat – you’ll end up looking like you’re trying to hide something.
3. Again, no selfies! – people will think you don’t have friends.
4. Don’t over-Photoshop – if they don’t catch on when they view you online they’ll know for sure when they see you in person and you don’t match that photo!
5. Avoid group photos – nobody is going to know which one is you and you’ll also be too far away for someone to get a good look at you.