Why a professional headshot is essential for small business owners
Hands up who created a website for their business, spending hours over the content and layout, only to upload a selfie of themselves as their ‘About Me’ image?
Whilst that question may have made you shift uncomfortably in your seat, it is commonplace for a small business owner not to make the investment into some professional photographs of themselves by the time they hit the launch button on their website.
I’m not here to judge. I was one of those entrepreneurs – although I must rush to my own defence with the caveat that my photos weren’t selfies! What I quickly realised after launching my site was that although I was delighted with the gorgeous theme and my content, I felt very uncomfortable because I was embarrassed about the photos.
5 reasons why every small business owner should have a professional headshot
I’m willing to bet that when you made the decision to go freelance or set up your own business, it wasn’t because you love to be the centre of attention.
Unfortunately, being a solopreneur comes with a certain unavoidable amount of time spent in the spotlight. After all, if you are at the heart of your business, it’s likely that you will spend a significant amount of your time dealing personally with clients and customers.
Whilst I know it doesn’t feel natural for many people to thrust themselves forward as the face of their business, like it or not, you are going to have to make a certain peace with this.
What is undeniable is the power a professional headshot has on improving not just the quality of the photo, but the way you feel about yourself as the founder of your company. Since making the decision to organise a business photoshoot, my confidence levels in myself and my business as a whole has soared.
If you still need convincing to remove that filtered iPhone photo from your website, here are my 5 reasons why every small business owner – from female entrepreneur to freelancer – should have a professional quality headshot on their website.
You only get one first impression
First impressions are crucial in the online space.
When you meet someone in person for the first time it’s human nature to make a split-second, subtle judgement of them based on how they look. Depending on their appearance, this first impression can either be distinctly negative or positive.
A first impression can be altered the longer you spend in a person’s company. If your first impression was a poor one because they didn’t look good, you will probably find yourself gradually being won over by their knowledge, humour or any other aspect of who they are. But this may take time.
Move this online and people will be making their split-second judgement about you the moment they land on your website. If all they see is a Snapchat filtered, cropped picture taken in the front seat of your car, you will have a hard time retaining credibility for you and your business.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Slightly at odds considering that I have created a business around textual content for businesses, however, I know that this idiom stands true on most occasions.
Imagine that your content is flawless and delivers your message to your audience perfectly. For all the words in the world, lack of an eye-grabbing picture may just be the reason why you fail to convert your audience into your customer.
You may have them nodding with the words you write, but you’ll have them clicking to purchase with the power of a well placed photograph.
Personal brand – show who you are
To use another well-worn phrase: people buy from people.
As I mentioned before, starting up a solo business means that developing a personal brand is almost unavoidable. Your audience will connect with you more greatly if you show people who you are, not just with the language you use, but the images you choose to represent you and your brand.
This is incredibly powerful on social media. People are much more likely to connect with a picture of a person than a logo.
- You may also like to read: why every small business should have an About Me page.
Social media appearance – create consistency
One of the things I quickly realised is that my photo was required on more platforms that just my website.
How many social media channels is your business on that require an image? Do you ever put yourself forward for a guest blog or a feature anywhere? In my experience, these elements usually require a photo.
Save time scratching around for a suitable image to use on all of these sites and avoid a scatter gun approach by having a high-quality professional image of yourself on standby.
Align your headshots with your overall brand
The work that goes into creating a brand is not something that can be done overnight. Careful thought and many hours of design goes into polishing your logo and brand – from colours, fonts, fabrics to the language in your publicity material and on your products.
Don’t waste this cohesive look with an incongruous, low-quality snapshot of yourself that would be more suited to the family album. You can highlight your brands colours or vibe in your photos by thinking about the location for your photos, your clothing and any props you use.
Where should I use my professional headshot?
Even if your website is largely focused on your products or services, there is still a need for you to have a few professional quality photos of yourself taken. Here are a few ideas – in addition to your website – where you can use your business headshot:
- Facebook profile, group or page
- Marketing materials – poster, leaflet
- Event marketing
- Business card
- Author bio – on your website and for guest posts
- Widgets on your website
- In PR – such as press releases
- Email signature
Booking your own personal branding photo shoot
It’s time to stand up and shine!
I approached Maryanne Scott at The Branding Photographer, a Yorkshire based photographer who offers personal branding and professional head shots for female entrepreneurs. I was delighted with the results and found the whole experience much more fun than I expected after feeling completely at ease with Maryanne.
If you know it’s time to freshen up your website with some strong images and stop hiding behind those filtered smartphone snaps, you’ll realise that your business is worth the investment.
Whilst it may feel daunting, once you’re in possession of a series of gorgeous photos, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t organise a photo shoot earlier.
If you’re a female business owner in the Yorkshire region of the UK, take a look at Maryanne’s portfolio and get in touch with her: Maryanne Scott – The Branding Photographer.
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