You likely have an “About Me” or “About Our Company” or “About Us” page on your website. And you certainly have a thumbnail image that you use for your social media profiles (if you’re not using a logo or brand). Occasionally you might be asked to be interviewed on a blog, or an article may be written referencing you. In each of these circumstances, you’ll want a photo of yourself displayed. In a physically disconnected world, it’s more important than ever for people to sense your authenticity and your personality.
And you don’t want a terribly lit and slightly inebriated photo of yourself taken at a friend’s wedding, or a snapshot of you on the beach during your vacation to Costa Rica to be the way you represent yourself and your business to the world. I once had an author website client who wanted to use a photo of himself at an event where he was clearly snozzled – yikes!
If it’s your personal Facebook profile and you regularly update it to show a recent snapshot of you at a speaking engagement or giving a presentation, that’s expected and you can get away with something less formal. If it’s the only headshot of you on your professional website, that’s another thing entirely. This isn’t to say it needs to be stuffy, or nostalgic for Sears photoshoots circa 1987… you want it to reference your personality and that of your business.
For example, if you’re an investment banker, you’d likely meet your potential clients face-to-face in some level of business attire. Maybe not a suit, but something appropriate. If you’re a beekeeper, you’re likely wearing something appropriate for that work, etc… In each of these cases, it’s not much of an investment of time or money to hire a photographer to take a professional-looking headshot of you in your environment.
Usually, a headshot session either takes place in the studio or in the field. Personally, I like shots that aren’t against a blue screen in the studio or that feel too contrived. I prefer shots taken in an appropriate environment – perhaps in your office, or outside with a natural backdrop.
Here are some great examples:
- Jenny Mollen, actor & author, uses a series of great shots on her site and on book jacket: http://jennymollen.com
- Virginia Sole-Smith has both color and black-and-white photography throughout her website: https://virginiasolesmith.com
- Lorrie Thomas, founder of Web Marketing Therapy uses a great, genuine, professional-yet-casual headshot of herself throughout her collateral: http://www.lorriethomas.com
These people did nothing more than find a photographer to take some shots of them, then think to use them effectively on their site(s). There’s no magic formula. You don’t need to be an actor. You don’t need $1 million dollars or an entourage.
So, how do you find someone local to do this for you whose work you like? Well first, if you see a headshot you really like, and you know that it was likely taken in your area, find out who took them! Sometimes there’s an attribution, and other times you can just send an email and ask. Secondly, search for someone & review what you find. I did a search in my metro area and here’s what I uncovered: http://www.google.com/search?q=headshots+portland+oregon
You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on how many poses and/or outfits you want, where you live, and the experience of the photographer. The most important thing is that you find someone whose work shows the kind of headshot you’d like to end up with.
So, throw that modesty out the window, find the right photographer for you, and be happy when you’re being represented in your best light online!