headshots of men and women with corporate backgrounds, taken on location at the companies' premises in Cheshire

Essential when it comes to representing yourself in an ‘always on’ culture, having a headshot can help you put your best foot forward when it comes to promoting yourself or your business. However, many do not realise the importance of regularly updating their headshot and what risks may accompany a lack of diligence.

So, why exactly do you need a modern headshot and what are some things to consider when it comes to taking one?

What do you mean by ‘modern’?

When a lot of people see the word ‘modern’, it’s common to think of something tweaked, stylised, or photoshopped.

What we really mean is ‘up to date’.

Many professionals can find themselves taking a picture for their business, socials, or professional use and – before long – find that the aesthetic has moved on. This can leave your image looking stuck in the past and present you in an unfavourable light. This can be as simple as your pose, outfit, or framing – with even the most neutral pictures aging out before too long.

This makes regularly updating a headshot an essential part of presenting yourself through physical media or online. And, if not addressed, the consequences can be significant.

What are the risks?

Any headshot represents your attempt to make a positive first impression. This can be cultivating a sense of professionalism or competency when it comes to promoting your work to clients or as part of your business. Or it can make you appear warm and welcoming when it comes to anchoring your presence online through social channels.

Failing to put your best foot forward can lead to your media having a net negative effect. At worst, it can result in a significant disconnect between the image you want to present and the one you portray.

While entirely superficial, changes in appearance, style, or age can leave viewers with the impression that you are aiming to cultivate an ‘idealised’ image of who you are. While this may be the case, a big contrast can undermine confidence in your ability and leave you on the back foot when trying to engage or make a sale.

Bearing this in mind, it’s important to not only regularly update your headshot but think through what you are trying to achieve before taking that essential shot.

What should I consider when choosing a modern headshot?

When it comes to updating your headshot, there are a number of questions that are commonly asked. These include-

Q. What should I wear?

A. Choosing the right outfit is helpful when it comes to taking a quality headshot, but it doesn’t have to be a huge concern. As with previous articles, we would advise that you dress for the role you currently occupy if the picture is being taken for professional purposes. If you are worried about the picture ‘dating’ it’s often helpful to choose a traditional cut of suit or dress to help make the passage of time less obvious. Choosing a simple haircut or style may seem a little boring but going for a contemporary look will make an image show its age quickly, so no short on the sides and long on the top if you can help it!

Q. When should I get my headshot re-taken?

A. Ideally, every individual should have their headshot re-taken every five years at the earliest. This allows you to accurately capture the passage of time and ensure that your look matches the changes to your career and personal life that have caused you to seek out a headshot in the first place. While this is up to you, if you change elements of your appearance, it’s often helpful to revisit the studio – whether it’s a significant change to your haircut, sporting a new pair of glasses, or more. If in doubt, ask a friend you can trust and get their opinion.

Q. How do I future-proof my image?

A. Simply, you can’t. If you’re going out of your way to create a timeless image, you’ll have your work cut out for you. Every photograph will have an element of the present style embedded in it, bringing in a risk of inauthenticity if you try to consciously manipulate the image. If you are concerned about acquiring a look that will last, choosing to have your shot taken in black and white can help ensure you enjoy a time-proven aesthetic. However, remember that monochrome photography can appear a little austere – making it a potential bad fit for individuals attempting to capture a sense of playfulness and personality.

Q. Do I need to go professional?

A. While nobody needs to go professional, it is important to think through the risks of taking a photograph yourself. Working with a professional allows you to use high quality lighting and get the right shot in a fraction of the time, letting you take advantage of their experience and studio space. This also allows you to ‘talk through’ what you are attempting to achieve with your headshot, making it helpful to use your provider as a sounding board to ensure that all your goals are accomplished with every image.

What next?

If you want to learn more about how to secure the right, modern headshot for your unique needs, our team at Just Headshots are here to help. With extensive experience operating in the Manchester area, we work with you to ensure that you get the right modern aesthetic for all your pictures.

You can view our full list of services and images here. You can view our full range of services and images here. Or if you need any additional help or have specific questions and queries, please do not hesitate to call us on 0800 304 7375 or message us through our contact page and let our team know exactly what you need.