The Perfect Professional Headshot

As you may or may not have ascertained from my home page, I am a believer in making a lasting impression on all who enter my digital space.  Whether it's on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, our professional head shots show potential clients, employers and coworkers just who the heck we are. You don't believe me? Open a new tab and peruse through your LinkedIn or Facebook contacts. Not taking into consideration any prior knowledge about your network, what does their head shot say to you? Does their photo exude maturity, confidence and success? Or do they look juvenile, unkempt, or tired? Is the picture clear and polished, or is it haphazard and blurry, like it was a second thought? What lasting impression did their online profile leave on you? 

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of styling one of my dearest friends, Lydia Varela of the Latina Xchange, for her Dallas 'Big Influence' campaign photo shoot. As a Latin 'Dallas Influencer', Lydia was chosen as one of nine Latino/a individuals that represent the vibrancy and spirit of the 'Big D', as well as represent the social and economical impact of the Latin community on the city of Dallas. In shopping for her outfit, I wanted to make sure that her overall look not only showed her position as a 'Latin Influencer' but also her vibrant and passionate personality. We tried on a few different pieces, battling over color and fit, but ended up going with this amazing orange dress.

Lydia getting the final touches for her 'Dallas Big Influence' photo/video shoot

Lydia getting the final touches for her 'Dallas Big Influence' photo/video shoot

As you can see from the photo and video shoot, seen here, Lydia's entire look TOTALLY captured her personality. She was comfortable, the look was effortless and the entire ensemble from hair and makeup to the dress and shoes matched the exciting and fresh mood of the campaign. 

So what can you do to have your fearless and confident personality shine through in your professional campaign and/or head shot? Here's a few tips:

1. Wear items that fit your personality- I love color. I can do an all black look like, one a month, but for the most part, you're gonna see me in a hot pink or yellow something LOL What can I say, it's the Florida in me ;-) That being said, let your clothing show your personality. Karl Lagerfeld has his all black ensemble with white shirt, Diane von Furstenberg has her wrap dress and bold prints. What is your signature style? Read this blog post, pick out clothes with your signature style and invite people into your world.

2. Make sure we see you and not your accessories- I am a HUGE fan of accessories. The bigger, the better. I'm also a stylist, so my head shot allows for a bit more lenience and creativity. For my professionals out there, you may want to keep it simple and classic. You only have a small frame for the shot and you don't want that bulky necklace to take up all the space. Keep it simple with a small solitaire, pearl or clip-on and a simple necklace. One row of pearls or colored stones is best.

3. This is not 'Glamour Shots'- The person that we see in your LinkedIn profile should be the person we meet when we go to your event, meet you for lunch or are introduced to you at a networking event. I can't tell you how many people I have passed by at events, only to realize that we were connected on social media, simply because I didn't recognize them. Now, don't get me wrong, depending on when we were first introduced, the Dionne Dean you meet today may have totally different hair than the Dionne Dean you met last year LOL However, for each change, I make sure that my digital presence coincide. Prepare to be the person in the head shot whenever you enter the professional setting, whether it's work, coffee date, networking event.

4. Practice, practice, practice- Do you know what your face looks like in front of the camera? I'm not talking about the everyday social media photos that we take, but how you naturally pose in front of the camera? Take a few minutes to sit in front of the mirror to learn your angles, different smiles and even to try on a few makeup looks. Then start to take some selfies. Invite the girls over a mini-photo shoot. Make it fun!

5. When all else fails, hire a professional- All of my clients, Lydia included, hire me because I know how you make them shine in interviews, presentations and yes, on camera. If you have a professional event coming up or need to revamp your professional presence on social media, hire someone. That $150-200 you invest could put you in a position to earn another $20,000 in contracts or salary increase. You have no idea the effect your outward appearance can have on a potential investor, client or boss. Seems like a wise investment to me ;-)

Dionne Dean