I write marketing content for a living, yet I know that the image next to the written word is the first thing to capture the eye and mind. According to a 2014 study at MIT, the human brain can process entire images in as little as 13 milliseconds. In a 2016 article posted in Psychology & Business it states that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
So, you can see, written text doesn’t stand a chance against imagery when it comes to first impressions.
I was thinking about these statistics when I went to a photo session last week with professional photographer, Laine Torres. I wanted new headshots taken for my developing business and was worried I wouldn’t get photos that really represented me. Like many people, I would rather clean the kitchen sink than stand in front of bright lights and a camera lens.
Fortunately, Laine made the whole shoot so positive that I wanted to share with you what I observed that day as best practices to look for in a photographer so you get the optimum business headshot. Here is what stood out from my experience:
There was a professional make-up artist available (in my case Meg Hume) to help me look my best. The way you make up your face for photographic lighting is not the same as you would for a day at the office; (and yes gentlemen, you could use a touch up, too, when it comes to headshots).
The environment was comfortable and put me at ease. There was music playing and water to drink. Sounds like small things, but in a nervous situation like being photographed you will look more natural in your photos when you are not tense and stressing out.
They offered expert advice on wardrobe and accessories. I brought a few options with me and Laine helped me put together combinations that worked best for the shoot. I heard from others getting their shots that day that they had phone consultations to prepare their clothing. I also received an email ahead of the shoot with instructions on what types of items to bring and what to avoid.
The photographer knew how to convey the best ways to pose to get the lighting and angles right. If the person taking your photos cannot give good direction in a positive manner you will look stiff and unnatural.
The photos were available for immediate review after the shoot and I was given ample time to ask questions and make informed selections.
I would encourage you to invest in professional headshots whether you are a job seeker needing an amazing photo for your LinkedIn profile, or an entrepreneur looking to update your website. That initial image of you is the first impression that could help keep a potential client or employer around long enough to learn more about what makes you the person they are looking for.