Are You Likable? Your Headshot Might Say No.

We all want to do business with people we like. Do you appear likable in your headshot? Today, most first impressions are made online. That means the first impression you make is with an image of yourself, so it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what your headshot says about you.

This headshot of me has some issues, but it’s likable and that’s what matters.

This headshot of me has some issues, but it’s likable and that’s what matters.

Most people are happy to settle on a headshot photo they think looks okay and move on, not realizing how much this single picture can affect their reputation and not realizing how facial expression can affect the way people feel when they see your image. Above all, your headshot should help make your audience like you.

You Can’t Fake a Likable Expression

I can tell you with confidence that my headshot is likable. I’m not trying to brag - this is an objective measure. I can also help you determine if your own headshot is likable too with a free resource. We’ll get to that shortly.

As photographer, I practice my craft often and that means, I practice by taking a lot of pictures of myself to try out different lighting, poses, etc. The one thing I cannot do is fake a likable expression. Nobody can. So, these images I produce are pretty useless and I would never use them for anything public. But, when you have the right person coaching you on the other side of the camera, magic happens and your expression comes to life.

Expression Matters Most

In the image above, my wife was on the other side of the camera that I had set up. She said just the right thing to get this expression out of me. Now, this is not a great headshot for a few reasons, I admit. My goatee isn’t trimmed, my clothing is pretty casual and the background is a bit dark. But, there’s one thing that stands out about my headshot, it’s likable and that expression overshadows everything else.

Putting My Own Headshot to the Test

When I’m sooting for a client, I can always tell when we get a great image because I know a natural, likable expression when I see one. But, I decided to put my own headshot to the test using photofeeler.com. This service uses algorithms and crowd sourcing to rate images based on certain attributes. Sure, it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s an objective way to find out if your headshot is working for or against you.

As you can see, despite the flaws, my headshot is in the top 5% for likability and it’s above average in competence and influence (with 41 reviews). Not bad. The point is, I use this image as my headshot because it’s likable and, I recognized that when I first saw it. The expression is what matters in a headshot more than anything.

likableheadshot.png

What Does this Mean for You?

By using photofeeler.com, you can at least get an objective opinion about the quality of your current headshot. This service isn’t perfect, but it will give you some idea of how other people feel about your current image. This will also help you determine if your headshot is helping or harming your brand.

Likability can’t be faked. A selfie or cookie-cutter headshot won’t get you a likable image. The right photographer will do this by taking the time to coach you. They will make you feel comfortable, confident and know when a likable expression has been captured. A spouse or friend will do in a pinch 😉.

If you’re ready to improve your likability with an exceptional headshot, click here to get in touch. If you’re not ready to improve your headshot now, leave your email address below and I’ll send you an exclusive offer in the near future.

Should I Wear My Glasses in My Headshot?

This question comes up often. Should I wear my glasses in my headshot or should I go without them? Short answer: you should probably wear them. But it’s not that simple.

I have a long-time friend, going all the way back to elementary school. He always wore glasses. Always. His glasses are so much a part of his identity that he’s unrecognizable without them. You probably know someone like this too. For a person in this position, the glasses should definitely stay on.

If you wear your glasses most of the time (at work, at home, out and about) you should probably have them on for your headshot as well because that’s how most people see you, it’s part of who you are. But, if you wear contacts and only wear glasses occasionally, I recommend leaving them off depending on the use of your headshot.

You see, glasses are one of the many subtleties that can gain you credibility in your headshot, depending on the image you’re looking to portray. If you’re looking to use your headshot to appear smart, influential or authoritative, glasses will help reinforce these attributes in most cases. Here’s a report to back that up.

But, not everyone want’s to be seen as a captain of industry or a professor of physics. Many people want their headshot to project friendliness or a fun-loving feel. In this case, I think glasses are neutral and won’t effect the overall feel of the final image too much so it’s a toss up.

If you’re unsure whether to wear your glasses in your headshot or not, there’s a simple solution: we can shoot your headshots with and without them and you can choose what you like better, or go with both.

Simple solutions to life’s complex problems. That’s what I do here.

Yes, Just Headshots

Although this website is brand new (and this is the first blog post), I’m not new to shooting headshots. I’ve been doing this for years. But, in the past, I’ve also shot other types of portraits. Now I’m focused on one thing: headshots. You know, do one thing and do it well. That’s what I’m after.

A headshot from 2013 when I realized I enjoyed headshots more than any other type of portrait.

A headshot from 2013 when I realized I enjoyed headshots more than any other type of portrait.

Specializing seems risky. If I only do one thing, I’ll miss out on opportunities in other areas. I don’t think so. I’m much more interested in focusing on creating exceptional headshots and I’m motivated by the value a great headshot brings to people. I’ve seen it happen first-hand.

I know, that seems like marketing-speak, but it’s not. I’ve seen my clients improve their image, and I’m not talking about the photo, with their headshot. I enjoy using photography to bring people value. Seeing my client’s images on the back of books, on LinkedIn, in newsletters, websites and brochures, it’s really rewarding for both my clients and for me.

So yes, just headshots, but not just any headshots. My goal is to produce exceptional headshots that bring lasting value. I practice my craft regularly, in my studio, on myself. It’s weird to shoot hundreds of images of yourself, but it ensures that I’m never practicing on my clients, that I know what works and what doesn’t. I’m not producing cookie-cutter images.

I try all kinds of different lighting and posing, but this continuing practice also helps me empathize with my clients. It’s awkward standing in front of a camera, for anyone. I know how it feels because I do it regularly. So, I know how people feel on the other side of my camera. I have way too many awkward photos of myself as a result, but I won’t show you those. No, really, it’s truly embarrassing.

Anyway, this specialization is new for me, this website is new for me and I’m excited to focus on this one thing. I’m most excited to see what kind of value my clients get from their images.