Why I Believe Every Woman Deserves a Professional Headshot Photo

“I like the way I look in every photo” – said no woman ever. At least no woman I know.

Every time someone asked me to provide a headshot photo, for an event program or online profile, I got this queasy feeling in my stomach.

You see I was clinging to a headshot that was several years old just because I actually liked it, which is rare.  (It was a good hair day.) But I look different now. If someone saw my LinkedIn profile, then met me in person, they might be confused. I knew I needed to bite the bullet and have a current photo, one that that more honestly represents who I am today.

When she started her own business, my friend Amber Bell had a professional photographer do a series of headshots, and I could tell that they made her feel much more confident about putting herself out there and “building her own brand.” I see those photos on her website, in event programs, on LinkedIn, Twitter and more.

I knew a professional headshot would boost my confidence but I kept putting it off. I’ll get my headshots done when….. I have lost a few pounds, I have a summer tan, I have the perfect haircut. I finally realized that there was never going to be a “perfect time”. I just needed to do it.

I scheduled a photo shoot with Elyssia Poland, a professional photographer who had a style I liked. I’ll be honest; I was dreading it more than a trip to the dentist and rescheduled several times. (After all, it’s hard to get just the right haircut.)

She told me there are two types of headshots. Traditional and Lifestyle.

The traditional style is the corporate headshot. Sit in front of a backdrop and smile, just like you were told to do on school picture day. (And we all know the success rate of school photos). Some companies/industries require this style, but I find them boring and stiff.

I wanted to do a Lifestyle type headshot. Which means you can choose an interesting setting, position and even accessories. I think this is a better way to reflect my own style. Plus, it helped me to relax and look less terrified because I was moving around during the photo session in a setting familiar to me.

A few tips for any other gals who are ready to take the photo shoot plunge:

  • Search Pinterest for terms like “creative headshot” or in my case, “casual female headshot with coffee.” Show screenshots to your photographer so she knows what you like.
  • Bring a few different outfit choices. Focus on solid colors and classic styles.
  • Wear more makeup than usual as it will fade in the photo.
  • Treat yourself to a blowout at a fancy salon. (As I said, it’s all about the hair).

The photographer made me feel very comfortable as she was snapping away. I figured the chances of getting at least ONE image that I found passable was pretty good. Before I knew it we were done.

She let me look through all the photos and choose my favorites. Then later she gave me a few of the best images, professionally cropped and edited. (I say there is nothing wrong with a little bit of Photoshop, as long as you still look like yourself).

Do I love the way I look in all the photos? No, of course not, I can always find something to pick on. But I am so happy that I finally had the courage to get a professional headshot that I feel comfortable using anytime. If I speak at an event and they ask for a bio and photo, no problem. If I sign up for a new online profile I don’t even need to think about it. 

I think every woman owes it to herself to get a professional headshot that makes her feel confident and beautiful.  Whether she needs to use it on LinkedIn or not. Trust me, you will be happy you finally got up the nerve to just do it.

By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing


Follow me on Twitter: @AnyaCWMktg