Today, we’re happy to let our great friend, Tony Taafe, guest blog for the day. He’s a great headshot photographer out of Scottsdale, AZ and he really knows his stuff!
By Tony Taafe
A few weeks ago I was photographing a wealth management company in Los Angeles. The Badii Group, headed by Kirk Badii, are very image conscious. They have to be; some of their clients include the biggest names in the business and entertainment world, and appearances matter, right?
A few weeks prior to the shoot in LA I was in Scottsdale, AZ shooting headshots for a tech company. I got chatting to one of the partners during the shoot, this particular company was hiring new staff at the time and the subject turned to headshots in the hiring process. “If they don’t have a solid headshot on LinkedIn, i’m very hesitant about meeting them for an interview.” The Partner went on, “and if they don’t have any type of headshot up there, i’m not wasting my time.”
This didn’t surprise me to hear. She went on to tell me that for them, the interview process begins long before telephone calls or meetings. In today’s digital age, employers have a huge advantage in that they can research interviewees before ever inviting them in to meet in person, and they very much take advantage of this.
“Every interviewee we speak to has now been vetted more than they would have 5 years ago, even 2-3 years ago. Which is great for us because it means we can do less interviews and spend more time with the quality people who do make it though our doors.”
And the number one impression when vetting a potential employee? “It’s their photo. Their headshot. It’s the very first impression on social media. If it looks like they don’t care about their own public image, i’m pretty certain they’re not going to care about my company if I bring them onboard.”
Is that a fair statement? Maybe not, but she’s not alone in thinking that way.
The Badii Group and the tech company are two very different businesses, who need and use great headshots in the exact same way. A headshot to these guys represent a personal standard, attention to detail. Appearances do matter. They’re not looking at headshots to see what you look like, but to get a feel for how you preset yourself and will in turn represent their businesses.
How Influential Is a Headshot?
They say nothing lasts quite like a first impression, and research by Cornell University backs this up. They found that when we see a photograph of somebody, we almost immediately make an assumption on that person’s character. Almost immediately! And first impressions last. How many people do you know who say they have an amazing ability to read people when they meet them? That’s some superpower they have! The truth is that there’s no such ability, we just remember our first impressions much more than any future interactions. By human nature, It’s surprisingly difficult to change somebody’s opinion of you once they have it. And in business, this becomes even more essential.
What Should My Headshot Look Like?
It should convey your brand. You can do this a number of different ways; using colors, using locations, and using expression. If you have a more minimalist brand you might choose in studio with a solid colored background which if done right can look incredibly sleek and modern. If your brand is more environmental, you might want to do an outdoor setting with some greenery in the background. These are just two examples but there’s a lot of options, the main thing is that you find the right headshot photographer to fit your needs. Talk on the phone if possible and speak about your visions for your brand. Expression-wise, you might want a more confident look if for example you work in a highly competitive finance environment and have to portray a super confident image. If you work with children or families though, that’s not necessarily going to work and you may need a more approachable expression. Again, these are just two examples and most people will need a blend of confidence and approachability in their headshots to portray the right image. I can’t emphasize enough how important it will be for you to find a headshot photographer who understands the importance of expression in your image. Get the expression right and you can strike gold, get it wrong and you will most likely have just wasted a lot of money on your headshots.
Your Headshot is The Modern Day Equivalent of A Firm Handshake and Confident Look In The Eye. It will be the first thing a potential client, employer, or colleague sees when they search for you or your business online. The impression they get will last. Make it a great one!
Thanks for reading, guys. If you’d like more information or have any questions about your corporate headshots, feel free to contact my good friend Ajay at Argentum Studios, or you can reach out to me and see my work at www.tonytaafe.com, or Instagram @tony_taafe_photo and i’ll be glad to help. You can also search for my hashtag #nomorelazyheadshots on Instagram.