As a photographer we are often asked to help a client create the perfect professional head-shot or biography photo. This is a common thing that many professionals use on a regular basis. That said, the head-shot can be a tricky beast to take on, especially if you’re a photographer. Seeing as we are constantly behind the lens we tend to get a little antsy when we are pulled out of our comfort zone and put in front of the camera. So, it’s understandable that many of us do not have professional head-shots to greet our clients as they first find our websites and blogs. Even though we are not accustomed to having our portraits made on a regular basis it is still vital that head-shot be one that not only comes across as professional but also follows in your own unique style.

Jennifer Dell about me bio image
*self portrait bio image by Jennifer Dell

How we present ourselves to our future clients is important in that it leads them to how comfortable they feel hiring you to help them preserve their memories. Think about it this way, if you were to hire a hair stylist or make up artist, you would immediately take into consideration how stylish they were. Is their hair cut fun and trendy or more natural and classic? Do they look as though they have kept up with their own style over the years? Or if they are a make up artist, does it look as though they are wearing their make up from the night before or is it nice and polished and professional? Which of these would you want to hire based on your own personal style?

First impressions are incredibly important, especially when you are gaining much of your clientele from online searches like google. Your head-shot will be your potential clients first impression of you. It’s incredibly important to come across not only professional but have your photo stay true to you as a photographer. For example, if you shoot moody black and white images, your bio photograph should reflect that on your website. Or maybe you shoot mainly studio then a classic studio head-shot might be the best route for you to go. By keeping your head-shot inline with your style as a photographer you help to keep your brand cohesive as well.

April Nienhuis about me bio photo by Andrea Murphy
*bio image of April Nienhuis photographed by Andrea Murphy

Here are a few pointers to remember as you are working out your own head-shot.

  1. Stay true to you. You want your personality to shine through the image.
  2. Keep it polished and professional since it will continue to be another extension of your personality and professionalism.
  3. Simple is often best. Don’t have a lot of crazy distractions in the background.
  4. It’s important that you keep your photo updated… if when you photographed your head-shot you had red hair that was long and wavy and now your hair is short and black, you may want to consider updating your image. Remember this is your clients first impression and you don’t want them to be on a wild goose chase if the first time they meet you is in a public location during their shoot.
  5. Try to keep your head-shot uniform with all of your online presence. For example, if you use one head-shot for your facebook fan page, try to use it on your website, your LinkedIn profile, etc. It helps others to recognize your face with your brand easier.
  6. Be sure that the quality of the image is a fair representation of your own work. Low resolution, highly pixilated images with color issues could possibly keep a client from wanting to book you.
  7. If you are not comfortable shooting your own head-shot as a self portrait, please consider hiring another professional photographer to help with this! Just be sure that you give them full credit and that they are aware of how you will be using the image.

Celeste Pavlik about me bio photograph
*self portrait bio image by Celeste Pavlik

The most important thing to remember is that the image that you put online will be the first impression of you as a person, as a photographer, and as a business owner. So the photograph needs to be professional and an honest representation of who you are.

Allison McSorley about me bio picture
*self portrait bio image by Allison McSorley