Never Use a Selfie For Your Headshot



(Image Credit: Mindy Littman Holland)

Throughout the years that I’ve interviewed authors, artists and business owners for feature articles, I could easily fill a book with stories about the number of people whose same-day photo shoots exhibited some seriously questionable judgment:

  • The female real estate agent who channeled her inner Elvira and wore a neckline so plunging that it nearly met the hip-high slit of her black dress.
  • The unshaven car dealer whose hard stare and straight-line mouth looked more like a mug shot than a friendly invitation to visit his showroom.
  • The interior designer who insisted on being photographed against a “busy” wallpaper backdrop that clashed with the even “busier” print blouse she was wearing.
  • The hairy-chested deli owner who wore a tank top for the shoot and, when told that a shirt and tie would look more professional, asked why I couldn’t just use PhotoSuite software to add them.
  • The female orchestra conductor who wouldn’t remove her Jackie O sunglasses – even indoors – because her whole shtick was to look mysterious.

The growing trend of “remote” interviews via email, phone and Skype may have increased efficiency and accessibility to experts across multiple zip codes and time zones but it has also given rise to a new set of problems related to branding and image: the popularity of The Selfie. Whether these casual candids are shot at arm’s length, into a mirror, or with a self-timing camera on a shelf or tripod, they have become the latest excuse for people who think professional photographers charge too much for headshots. “Maybe down the road when I’m more established,” a debut author told me, “but for right now I can’t afford those kind of fees.”

Frankly, she can’t afford not to make that investment. The adage that you have to spend money in order to make money is especially true when it comes to the impression you want to leave with your prospective buyers. A bad DIY job is worse than doing nothing at all because it communicates two things: (1) you’re not successful enough to afford a high quality shoot and (2) you’re arrogant enough to believe that you know more about taking pictures of yourself than a trained studio professional.

That you didn’t take the time or spend the money to put your best face forward runs the additional risk of advancing the one message you never intended; specifically, maybe that same lack of effort was put toward the very product or service you’re trying to sell.

Here’s this month’s exciting line-up of guest blogs:

How Not to Work a Room– by Flo Selfman

Image Making 101 – by Jan Dunlap

6 Lucky Guerrilla Marketing Techniques for Brand New Businesses – by Hailey Harper

Is Traditional Marketing Still Relevant in the Digital Age? – by Archie Ward

Warning: This is What Bad Press Release Writing Looks Like – By Mickie Kennedy

Forget The Joneses: Why Keeping Up With Google Is Vital For Business – by Sarah Gray