What is a headshot used for? Let’s start with a brief definition.
What is a Headshot?
A photograph of a person’s face often used for identification or marketing.
The term “headshot” was originally best known within talent agencies, who required actors and performers to submit photos of themselves for consideration by casting directors for specific roles. While still used by actors and performers, it’s now also a term very common in business that refers to individual portraits of people (usually cropped to head and shoulders) that are used for identification, corporate communications, and marketing.
Headshots now pervade every aspect of life. Headshots are on social media, they are in printed publications, large advertisements, and even in telecommunication services. With the number of businesses now online, it’s important to use a headshot to add credibility.
Headshots for Small Business and Independents
For small business branding themselves as independent or bespoke-type services, a headshot is often used to show the owner(s) of the business – the people whom customers will be dealing with directly.
An example is Richard Anderson Tailors in London, UK. They use headshots to introduce the talented crafts people who work at their business. When you have a clothing made by Richard Anderson, you know about the individuals you are dealing with. This separates them from mass online retailers and manufacturers such as Indochino, Black Lapel, and Woodies. On these sites, you may not directly know who is processing your order or making your clothes. For some people, knowing whom they are dealing with matters. For these clients, a headshot matters because they get to see the individuals behind the business and can learn about their talents, experience, and background.
Companies Named After People
Whether it be a small or large business, companies that use the names of real people find headshots useful for placing a face to a name. Think realtors, lawyers, designers, etc. Even medium and larger design firms like Chernoff Thompson Architects, one of the premiere achitectural firms in Vancouver, uses headshots to introduce their team of talented designers and project mangers.
Headshots for Large Corporations
In very large companies, headshots play a key role in helping to connect people throughout the organization. Larger companies often use headshots to help identify individual team members in other departments. Imagine trying to connect with an individual in an accounting department with over 100 staff, or knowing which internal IT person you’re talking to over the phone or email.
Headshots for Conferences and Presentations
If you’ve been invited to speak at a conference or presentation, you may be asked by the organizers to submit a headshot to be included in their program. Their program will usually be published before the event, and prospective attendees will want to know the list of speakers. Having a good headshot will help bring people to your presentation. Even for online presentations using tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, a headshot will help increase interest in your topic.
If you’re a professional speaker, you’ll definitely want a headshot to submit to an organization such as the Speaker Bureau of Canada. Visit their “Find a Speaker” page to see the types of headshots speakers are using for their profiles.
So what is a headshot used for?
These are just a few ways that you can use headshots in your business. Consider also using headshots for your LinkedIn profile and other social media websites. Usability studies have shown that potential employers are much more likely to click on a LinkedIn profile that has a headshot, a that percentage increases significantly if it’s a professional headshot.
With more people now promoting themselves online, a professional headshot can help differentiate your business and add credibility. Remember back to the last time you visited a website that only used stock images, and didn’t offer an “about page” with information and photos of the people leading the business. Now compare that to a website with photos of the company’s leadership and staff photos. Which of these websites appeared more professional and credible? – That is one of the key benefits to using a headshot for you business.