If you scroll sites such as LinkedIn or even business’s own websites, you’ll find a whole range of quality when it comes to people’s headshots. For as many professional images you see, you also see about the same number of cellphone selfies or low-quality portraits, which might lead you to think why is it so important to get a professional headshot taken?

Well instead of taking a photographer’s word for it, let’s look into some of the research…

Headshot of a female construction manager

1. People Hire Individuals, Not Companies

This is especially true for local small-businesses but really goes for any business. In general, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, U.S. consumer trust of businesses has been falling, last year dropping 10% to 48% from the year before and showing no signs of improving this year. One of the ways that the experts have been sharing as a method to combat this lack of trust is for companies to start humanizing their brands. What better way to humanize your brand than to add a human – that’s right, your face – to your brand’s image. People like to know who they are doing business with and adding a professional headshot of yourself and even your whole staff is the easiest way to do that.

headshot of a university professor

2. First Impressions Count

This seems like a no-brainer but do you really know how little time you have to make that first impression? In-person, it can take less than a second to form an opinion based on someone’s photo. Online, that drops down to literally milliseconds. Google conducted a study several years back that reported it only takes 0.05 seconds for website visitors to form an opinion about you and your site that determines whether they’ll stay or leave. 0.05 seconds! That’s not 1/2 a second, that’s 0.05 second! (I mean just watch someone scrolling on Tinder and I’m sure you’ll see this fact play in live action.) So you better decide what kind of self-image you want someone to take away from your site in 0.05 seconds. Does your portrait give the impression that you are a professional?

headshot of female professional

3. If Humanizing Your Brand = Trust, Trust = Increased ROI, then Humanizing Your Brand = Increased ROI

Another consumer survey from last year reported that more than one in three consumers surveyed ranked “trust in brand” among the top three factors, other than price, influencing their decision to shop at a particular retailer. So literally if you can increase consumer trust by humanizing your brand, there’s a good chance you’ll increase your bottom line. How do we humanize your brand online? See Tip #1.

4. Potential Employers Are Looking

Meanwhile, CareerBuilder conducted a national survey online a bit ago reporting 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, up significantly from previous years. Whether or not this brings up some implicit bias into the hiring process is a whole other can of worms but like it or not, this is happening. If you’re entering the job market or just always keeping your options open, maybe do a quick Google Search of your name. If the first image that comes up isn’t very professional-looking, remember that it is the first impression that you are giving to potential employers.

studio headshot of man

5. Multiple Uses to Expand your Branding

This last one isn’t a research-based reason, but just a great reason in general why getting an updated headshot is important and helpful: because there are so many places that you can use a well taken professional portrait! A great place, of course, for your professional headshot is on sites such as LinkedIn, but with just that one image, there are still plenty of other uses to get the best bang for your portrait buck. For starters, for all of the reasons already listed, it’s a good idea to have an image of yourself and your staff on your business website. It can also be used in all sorts of advertising mediums such as a brochure or business card. If you already have a set email footer, think about adding it there so that your clients and customers remember your face with your name (or if they haven’t met you yet, get to see a face with just a name). Lastly, if you contribute to blogs or magazine articles, it’s nice to be able to see the face of the author, so ask if editors would mind adding your image there.

Starting to think that an updated headshot would be a good idea? Schedule a complimentary planning call today.