tips for social media headshots

I suggest that people take new headshots every couple years or more often if your look dramatically changes.  It's always awkward when a conference speakers or someone you have known through online sites walks through the door and not only do you not recognize them but you wonder if their son or daughter is who you have been engaged with online.  How many times have you met someone, looked at their picture on their business card or social media site and said, “WHOA- they need to update that photo?”

I took my own advice and scheduled a photo shoot with marketing expert AND photographer, Neil McKenzie for some fun new Geeky Girl shots!  After our shoot, we sat down and I asked him what makes for a great pic.  We talked for almost 30 minutes but I got it down to 10 (YouTube may not have time limits for content anymore but your attention span may only keep you engaged for a few minutes.)  Here is a recap of what we discussed, a few of the pics and the video of our chat:

Gina Schreck, Technology Social Media Speaker, Technology in Education

Basic Headshot

    1. Know the brand you are trying to convey BEFORE you begin.

      Is your brand about serious leadership or green resources?  Fun family activities or corporate innovation?  What message should your customers or contacts get when they see your picture?  Make a list of messages you want people to get just by looking at your picture.  This can help you focus your photo shoot time and ensure your picture is congruent with your messaging.

    2. Take time to get to know each other.

      The more your photographer knows about what you do and how you will use the pictures, the better he or she can snap the right shots.  You want your personality to shine through in the pictures, so be sure to show a little of that before the shoot begins.

    3. Bring a bit of your environment with you.

      If you use gadgets or have props that will add to your photos, bring them along.  If you're a realtor, perhaps you want a SOLD sign with you.  If you're a professional organizer, have some of your tools with you, and as you will see with Neil, if you're a photographer, perhaps you want your camera with you!

    4. Aim for the eyes!

      Neil explains the importance of capturing the sparkle in the eyes.  Make sure your headshot is close enough that you can see your eyes.  Some people crop the picture to really allow others in (I think with HD technology there should be a warning sign similar to your car's side mirror, “WRINKLES ARE SMALLER THAN THEY APPEAR!” -HA!)

    5. Create a series of shots.

      If you end up with 4 or 5 different shots and poses you will be able to use them more creatively.  Perhaps you have one standing or jumping in the air (one I forgot to do!), one close up for a good basic headshot, one laughing or a bit more relaxed, and one with some of your props. You will be able to sprinkle them from websites, blogs, social sites with different pictures and yet same look and feel.   This creates a consistent branding message while allowing for a bit of personality of the particular site.

    6. Lastly…have FUN!

      This should not be the old Sears photography studio shot where you sit and give that cheesy smile while holding your glasses under your chin (Is that supposed to make you look smarter?).  Let go of those negative thoughts of hating every picture you are in and allow your great personality come through and be captured.

Gina Schreck, Technology Speaker, Social Media, Learning, Synapse

Fun with props

Do you have other tips for great photo shoots as it applies to branding and social media use?  What do you love to see in pictures?

If you or your organization need help getting your message out, contact me or one of our brilliant SocialKNX team members! We LOVE helping organizations manage their brand and magnify their messaging for BIG business success!

If you want tips on crafting better bios, download your free copy of our free resource guide HOW TO CREATE GREAT BIOS THAT ATTRACT

@GinaSchreck

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Showing 8 comments
  • Terry Wisner
    Reply

    Great tips Gina! For what its worth, I also suggest peeps look at the camera as though they are looking at a satisfied or happy client.

    • GinaSchreck
      Reply

      Terry you are right! I try to picture the camera lens is actually someone else’s eyes and you are having a great time chatting! If you pretend to be having a conversation you probably look more approachable too–a great quality that you have!

  • David Sandusky
    Reply

    What a fun, genuine conversation that adds value. Neil is the best at helping people make sense of the purpose behind the image. Good stuff!

  • Rania
    Reply

    Really great article! I’ll definitely be sharing this with my office and suggesting that we get our own corporate headshots.

    Another tip for photo shoots would be to be comfortable in whatever you are wearing! I’ve been on many photo shoots and whenever I’m in an outfit that I’m not completely comfortable in, it shows.
    So definitely plan your outfit to be flattering yet comfortable.

    • GinaSchreck
      Reply

      That is a FABULOUS tip Rania- clothes that are too tight or too loose will not only feel uncomfortable but it will come through in those shots. Comfortable = more relaxed adn approachable look any way! Stuffy is OUT! :))

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  • […] Consider your profile picture to be your initial greeting. Just as a weak handshake can ruin a first impression (Hello, wet fish), a weak profile picture sends the same message. Time for an update? Consider slightly angling your face to the side and subtly tilting forward as opposed to a straight-on photo. These small changes will place you in a position for a more flattering headshot, and don't forget to smile. (Tips for Great Social Media Headshots) […]

  • […] People have an easier time connecting with people.  A picture of a flower is beautiful, but most flowers don’t engage in conversations…use your face! As a brand, you obviously will have a logo or image that represents your brand, but know that this makes it a bit harder for some to want to connect.  (Check out “Tips For Great Social Media Head Shots”) […]

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