In an age where we are all on some form of social media or another, I think we’ve taken it for granted what a photo can say about a person, and become rather flippant about what images we use and where.
Facebook is where most of us sit and play when we have some time (or when we should be working) and there’s obviously a lot of you out there who are the ‘serial’ profile updater, possibly changing your headshot more than once or twice a week. It’s fine there - but what happens when you cross the line to the ‘professional’ arena of other sites, like LinkedIn.
You can’t apply the same rules there as you do on Facebook. So, after seeing MANY head shots I’ve put together this handy little guide to help you look your best without looking like a fool.
Before you take your photo, think about what your wearing, and think about where you’re standing. You don't need a professional photographer to take the shot, just think about what you’re trying to achieve. You don't want the photo to be boring, so think about perhaps using a wall, or a bit of artwork somewhere, you don't have to be bland to be appropriate.
A self-portrait has been around for many years, and this is perfectly acceptable, just try to avoid having it look like you’ve actually taken the photo yourself. Don’t have your arm in shot, and please, please don't pout. Use the timer on your camera, or just get someone in the office or a friend to take it.
Don't try and be ‘moody’ and have something dramatic (half your face in light, the other in shadow) type of thing. If you’re in the performing arts or a magician then it might be acceptable.
Keep the picture as good a quality as possible. DON’T zoom on your iPhone because it’s not a real zoom. It just does it digitally. Move closer (or get someone to move closer to you). Resize the image once you've uploaded it on whichever platform you want to use.
I already mentioned in the lighting section that the images should be at least slightly appropriate to the organisations you want to work for. Whilst we are on the topic of being appropriate, don't use a photo of you 'off your face' at a party. It really wont be a good thing. Even worse with a bottle of booze and a packet of fags in your hand.
Don't use a photo from your holidays and try and crop our your best friend who’s standing next to you with their arm on your shoulder. It looks rubbish. Actually, don't use a holiday shot at all. Beachwear in profile shots isn’t really recommended on a professional level, regardless if you have the killer body (and especially if you don’t!)
Don't pose with your pets. No cats, dogs or hamsters. Unless of course you're a Vet and thats part of your work. No-one needs to know about how much you love your gerbil.
If in doubt - keep is simple. Whilst you think you look amazing on a beach in Thailand with your new sunglasses on, a potential employer may think otherwise.