How To Know When You Need A New Headshot
Your headshot—in most cases, it’s the first image of your face that prospects will see. That in and of itself makes it a pretty big deal.
And yet, plenty of advisors put off updating their headshot because it’s a hassle, they don’t realize they need to, or they just don’t like having their picture taken.
But having a great headshot for your website and social media profiles is incredibly important.
Here are 3 reasons you should prioritize having a current, professional headshot:
1. It’s a Reflection of Your Brand
Just like having a modern, easy-to-use website helps create a great impression, having a professional, current headshot shows that you care about the details and you’re in touch with the times. When a prospect comes to your site, they’re there to vet you, and you need to make a good impression on every level. When you have a great headshot, it says you’re polished, on top of your game, and you don’t let things fall by the wayside.
2. It’s More Flattering
If you have an outdated headshot that looks like it belongs in a church directory from the 90s… Well, that’s not a good look for anybody. A current photo (with your current hairstyle and clothing choices) is always going to be more flattering than a photo that was taken 15 years ago. Don’t fall into the trap of hanging onto an old headshot because you were thinner, had more hair, fewer wrinkles, whatever. You’re in a business where honesty is paramount, and presenting one image of yourself online and a different one in person does not send the right message. A real, current photo that exudes confidence and professionalism—that is always the more flattering option.
3. It Creates Cohesivity
Nothing mars a good Team page on a website like mismatched photos. You and your team’s headshots should be taken in the same style with similar backgrounds. That can be difficult to maintain if you’re adding new team members frequently, but there are a couple ways to make it work. If your whole team needs new headshots, start with a group photo session. From there, you can hire the same photographer to take photos in the same location when you add a team member. You can also edit the background of a new team member’s headshot, but getting an acceptable result can be tricky if the lighting isn’t the same or you don’t know someone with really great Photoshop skills.
If you have team members in different locations and it might be several months before you can all get together for a photoshoot, you can change your headshots to black and white (just as a quick fix), which makes everything look more cohesive. You can also have the people at one location get their headshots done with just a plain white or black background, and then show those photos to the photographer who is going to shoot the rest of your team’s photos. A good photographer should be able to replicate the look with a simple background (being mindful not just of the background, but the subject’s distance from the camera, pose, etc.). Either way, everyone on your team should have current, professional, coordinating (as much as possible) headshots.
The Makings of a Great Headshot
So, what exactly constitutes a great headshot? Even if you’re using a fairly recent professional photo (which should guarantee the basics like good lighting and an attractive background) it may not be the best representation of you or your brand. Here are some additional things to consider:
Lots of our clients ask for recommendations about what they should wear in their headshots. Simple clothes (i.e., solid colors, minimal textures, etc.) typically work best and are less likely to clash with the background or even your hair. For ladies, be mindful of how much skin you show. A sleeveless blouse—though it might be totally acceptable and “on brand” for your practice—might be too much for a headshot.
One major trend we’ve seen lately is for men to wear a jacket with no tie instead of a jacket and tie. It’s a big shift from the old industry norm, and we attribute the change to the “Zoomolution” that happened during covid. People became a lot more casual in their virtual meetings, and advisors were no exception. They got a little more relaxed and real with their clients, and the look stuck. And this look—jacket, no tie—works nicely. It’s professional enough without coming across as stuffy, so it’s what we recommend for most of our clients.
Level of Formality
Photos of your team should reflect the personality of your firm. If you’re a lighthearted team that likes to bring an element of fun to the planning process, you can portray that in your headshots while still maintaining a level of professionalism. A great photographer can help you with this, but it might mean doing a variety of casual poses for the team (rather than having everyone do the standard seated-on-a-stool-with-a-straight-back look), taking the photos outside, or even including a more casual personal photo in your bio in addition to a traditional headshot.
If you’ve recently lost a lot of weight, cut off all your hair, or otherwise significantly changed your appearance, you might consider a new headshot. While it’s not bad to look a little different in person than you do in your photo, you want it to be an accurate representation of who you are now.
This is something a good photographer should be able to identify and avoid, but it’s not a guarantee. We’ve seen plenty of headshots on websites where someone is making an expression that looks almost angry (or worse, creepy), sitting/standing in an unflattering position, or wearing a blue suit when the rest of their team is in black (maybe everyone was told to wear blue or black, but now only that person looks out of place). Ask a few people for their opinion on your headshot. The key is finding someone who will give you an honest answer, whether that’s your spouse, kid, or colleague.
If you want our professional opinion on your headshot, team photos, or brand in general, schedule a consultation with us! (We promise we won’t use the word “creepy.”)
 We have lots of people ask about using cellphone cameras for headshots (they’re so good nowadays, right?), and while phone cameras can work for DIY videos, they don’t deliver the right quality for a headshot. The primary reason is the lighting—lighting is key, even more than equipment. The lighting in every team member’s photo needs to be intentional and consistent, and you can’t do that without professional lighting.