In my role at the studio, as the Studio Manager, I take pride in keeping the logistics of our work running smoothly for our clients from first contact to delivery. I like to think that our customer service is second to none.
Of course, having been married to Sabrina for over +25 years, I truly enjoy her every achievement as she creates beautiful work for our clients and her own projects.
I have a background in Accounting & Business Management and have worked in the Oil & Gas industry for over 17 years leading supply chain teams in international and domestic markets. I achieved the Lean Bronze Certification during my time at Halliburton and later discovered the benefit of Scrum and Agile Project Management when working for BP. I am a fan of continuous improvement and enjoy leading diverse teams of every kind while working for those large companies.
I'm also a self-taught web developer and coder, a Certified Remote Pilot (I fly our drones), and a self-published fantasy author, among many other small feats and accidents.
SUMMARY & CONTENTS
There are many options when it comes to your professional headshot, from trying to figure out things yourself by watching a few YouTube videos and using your phone to trying an AI generator that promises multiple images cheaply.
Of course, there is also a ton of photographers and companies out there who offer headshots. What is the best option and why?
Dive into this short article to get our view on these different options, and feel free to ask questions using the form below, too.
As with any field in life, professional experience and dedication make a significant difference in photography. Access to a camera and editing apps are everywhere, enabling aspiring photographers to try and learn by repetition.
The technology improvements bring lots of competition to the world of photography, and with all that also comes a neck-breaking speed of change in all aspects of the photographer's profession, from technology to technique, including editing software and cameras. There is so much to see and try, learn, and relearn. As someone that truly loves photography, Sabrina and I welcome it all.
In our opinion, from all the options in this article, other than working with a professional photographer, this is the one where most people could come up with a decent enough headshot to check the box required by your new company while creating an image that will help you progress in your new job.
We believe the DIY option is better than most others because no one will care for the results as much as you will. It costs you nothing in terms of dollars, but the negative side is that you will have to spend a LOT of time to get it right, from doing the research to lots of tries.
Keep in mind your friends and family won't give you the honest feedback you will need about your tries with the camera because they already like you and know you. Your coworkers don't know you, and some won't like you as much (as the new guy who may take on their job). The first impression many of your coworkers will have of you is your headshot.
Finding a few How-To articles doesn't take a lot of Googling around. Actually, we are listing a few we like below and in the MORE section of this article.
Tannia Suarez put together a short article to quickly point you in the right direction: LinkedIn Profile Photo Do's And Don'ts. Tannia also has a good eye to choose the type of headshots that fit the mold to look professional.
The LinkedIn Talent Blog has a longer article on your professional profile photo, mainly focusing on the branding aspects for a recruiter: 10 Tips for Taking a Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo by Lydia Abbot.
While the advice from the above article is great, the headshots they have chosen as examples need to be revised. So, keep the information handy but go back and check Tannia for a decent headshot (or check our Headshots Galleries to find what a good headshot looks like).
Finally, we really liked the article from Chris Whooley, who is a professional photographer and an educator and hits the nail on the head when summarizing what you need to pay attention to 5 Tips for the Perfect Profile Picture for LinkedIn.
Of course, if you are short on budget and have plenty of free time, this is your option -don't waste your money on AI headshots or going to a chain.
And if you are having a really tough time trying and have a burning question, reach us using the form below, and we'll be glad to help you with advice.
As with anything cheap, there is a reason why it is cheap. While at some point, these options will improve enough to provide some value for a quick headshot, right now, most of these AI generators are still creating poor images that look fake when you check them with just a bit of attention.
We have tried the AI generators ourselves for curiosity and to keep up with the tech. We can tell you they require a lot of input, charge you hidden fees, don't guarantee your privacy and how your images will be used in their system, and the AI headshots look all fake (especially the eyes and expressions).
As mentioned above, your headshot is your first impression maker, and there will always be someone in your company (or competition) willing to point out the fake look of your AI-generated headshot. If you are short on budget, try the DIY option instead.
MALL PHOTO COMPANIES
We are grouping under the label "Mall Photo Companies" all those companies who offer some sort of quick turnaround and low price for your headshots shot on some type of preset, cookie-cutter setting. There are plenty of these, but not all in a mall.
The major difference between a professional studio and a mall company, and why this option is a waste of money, is that in the mall company, often the person behind the camera has absolutely no accountability (and doesn't care) about your headshot.
On the contrary, when you go to a professional studio or work with a professional photographer, the person behind the camera is the owner of the studio or someone who cares that you look your best in your headshot.
Ditch the mall company, invest in your professional image, and ensure your headshot works for you and not against you.
Is there still room for professional photographers out there? Yes, of course! The answer has to do with the ultimate quality of the images we deliver as professionals.
There are a lot of reasons to work with a professional, I dive into some in the second article from this series, but the one point I want to highlight here is that you are working with someone who cares as much as you about how your headshot is going to look because that headshot is a reflection of their work and skill.
My second point has to do with the fact that if you are at any point in your career other than about to retire, then by working with a photographer, you have an opportunity to create a relationship with a professional who can help you develop your image as a marketing tool to grow your career.
Think about your photographer as you think about your CPA, doctor, and all other professionals you trust to help you achieve a successful and healthy professional life.
LINKEDIN PROFILE PHOTO
Having a bad headshot as your intro is as bad as showing poorly dressed to a first meeting with an important client or a prospective employer. It is worst; because the poor impression of a poor headshot replicates every time someone "meets" YOU digitally, and you are not even there to counter the poor image with your charming personality.
While a lot of chat about headshots and LinkedIn focus on first impressions and the potential to help you stand out to recruiters and headhunters, the reality is that your profile picture does a lot more than just first impressions. And in all those additional exposures, the value of a good, professionally created image makes a significant difference.
Your profile photo shows in almost every interaction on the platform, whether it is a comment you made on someone else post or an invite you send to connect, an article you post or share, or in the short list of contacts LinkedIn shows you when you research who in your network works at specific companies.
There is a reason why companies support their marketing with professional photographers (and the best they can hire, at that), and that is because human beings are visual creatures. Your professional images often reinforce (or hinder) your networking and career development.
A professional branding session encompasses much more than just headshots. Beyond independent professionals and business owners, a branding photoshoot can be an excellent option for managers, directors, vice presidents, executives, and any professional who wants to further take control of their careers as they move towards the top of the chain.
When working with a photographer in this way, you will also be tapping into other professionals like copywriters or professional coaches who can help you develop a plan to increase your visibility and grow your leadership and influence beyond the reach of your current work environment.
Another reason to develop a working relationship with a professional photographer is that you gain access to the competencies these professionals can bring to your career development.
Want to read more? Check my next article on this series (link is below) or dive in our website; or better yet, call us at 281.668.3868 for a friendly chat
And here are the links to the articles we have mentioned above
COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS?
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Professional Photography Part I
by Emilio Castro
The Photographer's Blog