“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something,
build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
R. Buckminster Fuller
Why the digital transformation requires a different business headshot from you.
Some time ago when I was still working for an automobile company I knew exactly how my business headshot should look like. A clean backdrop behind me. A studio setting. Some flash. That was that. The biggest challenge for the photographer: Making me smile without getting a double-chin. Business headshots all over the world seemed to be pretty similar and had one purpose: To show the HR guy that you can fit in. So you wore a blazer, you got in front of an anonymous backdrop and you blended in.
That was 10 years ago. And even if the terms “Industry 2.0”, “digital transformation” and “new work” were already buzzing around back then getting a business headshot was easy. But these days, especially here in Berlin with its multicultural, international and super digitalized startup culture, business headshots need to be different. And here is why.
New ways of work.
The biggest reason to change your approach to how a business headshot should look like is the new way of working. In my last corporate job, most of my contact persons had their offices in other countries. Some were placed in London, some in Spain, others overseas. Communication took basically place over a telephone or via email so there was no face-to-face contact. How did these people know my face? Via Linkedin or Facebook. My last client gets in touch with her potential clients among others via Twitter. How they know her face and get a visual first impression of her? Through her profile picture.
Now think about how people get the first impression of you. Is it still in a conference room? Or at a networking event? I would guess that it is probably not. Instead, they first see you or look you up on the internet. And how do you present yourself there?
Impersonal first impressions.
The great thing about being in a room with another person while meeting them for the first time is: You get a lot more information about them than expected. But when you just have one blend-in-business-headshot a lot of information is missing. So how can you establish a connection with someone else if you just have one standard business headshot with a light grey backdrop that tells you just one thing: I can blend in.
You can’t. So that’s when the new and different kind of business headshots come in handy. The ones that show you in action. For example while presenting your newest business ideas to an audience at a Meetup. Or that show you in your natural environment which can be your shared office space. The images for my latest client were shot outside in Berlin Mitte. A spot with amazing architecture. The goal was to show her as skilled, talented and trustworthy while still presenting her as approachable. Presenting different aspects of one’s personality becomes pretty difficult when you have a standardized pose in front of a standardized light grey backdrop. This is the main reason to approach your next business headshot differently.
Can there be more?
There can and there is. With people staying connected over a distance business headshots these days don’t stop at images for your CV or Linkedin profile. Humans are curious. So when they want to know more about you they tend to google you. And then they find your Instagram channel. Do you have some professional images for that channel? Do you have one official facebook picture that doesn’t show you on the beach? Are you on Twitter and what profile picture are you using there? Are all your images consistent when it comes to colors and tones? Do they underline the important aspects of your personality that you want to share with the world?
When you are looking to step-up your business picture game keep these things in mind. And start looking for a photographer that doesn’t just want to fob you off with a classical and standardized business headshot. Look for a photographer that can offer you more than a simple picture. One that understands the necessity of having a set of different images to let your light shine on all available channels. So that your future clients – the ones that maybe just get to know you via email, website or social media – get the right impression of you. Instantly. Because even on Social Media the old rule counts: You can’t make a second first impression.