We all love a selfie. It’s fun to share them with your friends and family, but when it comes to your personal brand in the professional world, what message are you sending?

Having a professional head shot is incredibly important as a young professional. It conveys your personality to others who haven’t met you. If you present yourself in a professional manner, business contacts, potential employers, and other organizations get a sense of who you are and how you handle yourself in a business environment.

We all have a digital identity. If you’re applying for jobs or a promotion, seeking volunteer opportunities or leadership with in other organizations, or simply trying to make professional connections to help advance your career, people will look for you on the intranet. Often times, this will be your first opportunity to make an impression, so you want it to be a good one.

 

Tips on taking a professional head shot:
Your clothing should be a representation of you and your profession. This will look different for everyone depending on your style and what you do. An attorney will most likely dress differently for a head shot than a graphic designer. While one might wear a suit and tie, the other might be just fine in a nice shirt and slacks. Regardless, keep it simple with solid colors and proper fit. Avoid bold colors and busy patterns.

You’re not going out on the town, so keep your make up natural and flattering. It’s ok to have a professional handle this for you. Avoid really bold colors and statement make up. A layer of translucent powder will help to even out any shiny spots and can give you a flawless finish.

Keep your jewelry minimal. Flashy jewelry can take away from the subject of the photo – YOU! It’s not good if people are noticing your jewelry before they notice your face. Classic and simple jewelry is best and presents a professional and put together look.

Style your hair. Try not to get a new hair cut or color right before your head shot. Let fresh cuts grow in a bit, and if it’s a new style, you might need some practice styling it yourself. Bring a brush. Wind can turn your perfectly styled hair into a crazy mess. Hairspray and other hair products can give you a polished look, but practice with the style a few times before your head shot session.

Clean your glasses. Not just a quick wipe with a shirt tail, but a good clean with lens cleaner or a lens wipe. Smudges take away from the professional look you want. If you don’t usually wear glasses, skip them. You want to look as you normally would in your day to day life.

Trust your photographer. If you’re using a professional photographer, chances are, this isn’t their first head shot session. Professional photographers have an eye for what looks good, both in person and on camera. They might ask you to pose in a way that feels a little odd, but the majority of the time, they know what they are doing and will make you look stunning.

Relax, smile, and enjoy the session! Most photographers are easy to work with and even if you don’t like having your photo taken, they can help you relax and look your best.

 

Great! So you have your professional head shot, you look amazing, and you’re ready to post it, but where exactly do you need to use this new tool? The real answer? Everywhere. Use it as your profile picture for social media and your company directory. Use it as your avatar when posting on professional forums. While you’re changing your profile photos, it’s probably a good time to take a look at your social media habits and clean up some of your profiles as well. That’s another topic for another day, but being professional online presents an overall professional image and that is important in an always on digital world.