2 min read

What Is A Professional Headshot?

top-headshot-photographer-nadia-chapman-00002-10So someone told you that you need a professional headshot, and after smiling and nodding, you began to consider, "what is a professional headshot"? Many people wonder if they can take a headshot with their iPhone and call it good. Let's take a look at the uses for professional headshots and why some people decide to hire a professional photographer to take their headshots instead of taking them themselves.


 We live in a time where almost every individual and business has some online presence. As individuals, we have a flurry of social media accounts and online services. Hootsuite reports that in 2019, the average person spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day. Businesses know the value of online users; with online retail sales accounting for over 21% of all retail in the US, companies are putting more and more focus on their online presence. But why does this mean that you need to up your headshot game?




Whether you are looking for a job, building your client base, or establishing authority within a new role or business, it's highly likely that for many people, the first time they see your face will not be in person. Whether it's the thumbnail for your email account, your LinkedIn profile picture, or your picture in the company directory, the first time people see our face is often online.


A study report showed that it takes a fraction of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face. In the study, participants were shown photographs of unfamiliar faces and asked questions such as "Is this person competent?". Increasing the viewing time to over a 1/10-second did not change their opinion.


There are three major differences between having a professional photographer take your headshot and taking one yourself:

  1. Lighting - Light draws the eye to the appropriate part of the picture (often the eyes) and enhances the viewer's connection with the subject. Professional photographers are comfortable and competent with manipulating light to get a desirable result.

  2. Expression - Although going to a photo studio to have your headshot taken might seem daunting, its the photographer's job to put you at ease. A good photographer will understand the psychology behind various poses, expressions, and angles and use them to create the desired result.

  3. Editing - Facetune is not going to cut it for a headshot selfie! A professional photographer will be experienced in editing your headshot realistically, in a way that draws attention to your competence and away from any imperfections.



So what is a professional headshot? A professional headshot is an image that correctly portrays your personality and key professional traits. It is often used as an introduction and therefore holds much value. A professional headshot photographer uses lighting, expression coaching, and editing to create an image that provides an upgrade to your online presence.


Now you know the importance of having a professional take your headshot; are you going to take a DYI headshot or find a professional photographer near you?


If you are looking for a professional headshot photographer in Portland and SW Washington, find out more about my offerings here:














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