A headshot says a lot about how polished you are both on and off the camera. If you've taken the time to perfect the headshot you select for your LinkedIn profile, you'll also give employers a good impression about your drive to do quality work.
Today we'll hear from Jonathan Conklin, the professional photographer who we partner with for our recruiter headshots here at SkyWater. We would love for Jonathan to share his knowledge about how to perfect your headshot, and command the attention you deserve from employers in your field.
What's the purpose of a headshot?
The most important think to remember about your headshot is that the purpose of it is: you're being judged:
- For your confidence.
- For how approachable you are.
- For how polished you are.
A headshot is more than just a picture of yourself. It's an image of your professional self that you want to create for other people. This is your chance to convey the confidence you have in your own ability to do a job for them.
How to portray confidence in a headshot.
Confidence has to do with two things:
- Your body language.
- Your eyes.
Furthermore, your body language changes your eyes. For example, sitting looks a little more timid than standing (and makes your cloths a little more wrinkled) so consider standing when having your headshot taken. Pay attention to the placement of your chin. Facing directly forward can help you avoid the arrogant look of a chin that is too high, or the timid look of a chin that is too low. You are portrayed as more trustworthy when your eyes are straight ahead.
What to wear for your headshot.
Clothing choices are a big part of your headshot. Stick with solid colors. Bold patterns and stripes tend to be distracting. When choosing your outfit, keep in mind that the focus of your headshot should go onto you, and not what you're wearing.
Headshots specifically for social media.
Headshots can be used in many places from websites to more traditional printed marketing collateral, but what about selecting a headshot specifically for your social media profile, for example LinkedIn?
When choosing a headshot for social media, keep in mind that it should resonate with your target audience. Disciplines like technology and marketing tend to be more of a "lifestyle" type of look; blurred out background, a little bit of an environment in the background. Disciplines such as law and finance tend to be more traditional, using solid backgrounds or a bright white background. Whatever market you are in, just make sure that your headshot matches the style and feel of that market.
Different social media platforms have different aspect ratios for profile pictures. When taking your headshot, capture more of the body than you think you may need. You can always crop your larger rectangular headshot into a smaller square, but it's extraordinarily more difficult to add pieces of your body that you didn't capture initially. You can take away, but you can't add.
Headshots specifically for websites.
If you are standing at an angle in your headshot, when placing your headshot on the website, make sure that you are facing the text. So if you are facing to the left in your head shot, put that headshot to the right of the text so that you don't have your back up against the paragraphs.
Is a Selfie Headshot okay?
If you are in a bind and you need to take your own headshot, do consider all of the tips mentioned above but also remember this tip: Use the self-timer on your phone. Don't hold the camera out with one arm. Don't simply crop out your date from a party photo from which you like your particular smile. All smart phone cameras have a self-timer feature. Find some natural light from a window, choose your outfit and background, mount your phone and use the timer feature.
Are you reading this post thinking maybe it's time to invest in a headshot session with a professional photographer? Get in touch with your SkyWater recruiter to chat about your online professional presence. We can offer input on your LinkedIn profile and resume. And of course, if you're opening that new tab so that you can Google "Jonathan Conklin Minneapolis Photographer," we'll make it easy for you. Here's his site: