Why I Hate Traditional Headshots

Your headshot is your first introduction. It's your first impression. The first time strangers see your face. And guess what?? Most people judge the look of others in 31 milliseconds!


So, here's the skinny on the situation. If it takes someone 31 milliseconds to judge how you look and to decide whether or not they'd like to work with you or be your friend, why do we not put more emphasis on your first impression - The Headshot??

The reason I hate traditional headshots, is that there is no personality behind it. There's no soul or depth to that person. It's usually airbrushed to death and void of anything "human". That, to me, is the worst impression you could make! Personally, I don't want to work with some non-human alien life-form that seemingly has no emotion. No, I want to work with a personable, fun loving, nice person, who I can get along with! 

It's time to be ourselves and show off how awesome we are! 


Insecurity is a huge problem for our world, and we all struggle with it (this is a big topic to be saved for a later date). But let's try to rise above it! Let's not be afraid to show who we really are and how we truly look. Let's stop airbrushing every wrinkle, birthmark and dark circle from our faces. Let's instead allow ourselves to look human and be real with others...and you know what will happen? People will like you! They will relate to you, because you look like a person with a personality.

Which brings me to my next point...

The Unconventional Headshot

Do it!

It's time to start showing off your personality. Tell your story and start attracting the right people to you. Connect with your dream clients and the people who can relate to you. 

Let's play the comparison game:

Which image are you more drawn to? 

I've given you an example of an incredibly colorful, iconic character. Lucille Ball has never been known for not having a personality...but look at the picture on the left, it's very nice but doesn't showcase their personalities at all! Now take a look at the image on the right, it's telling you a story! This photo draws you in, even though it's not in color, even though they're not smiling. You want to find out more about these people and what they do! Well, as it turns out, they starred in one of the best TV shows of all time and Lucille Ball happens to be a comedy legend. 

Let's try another comparison:

Here are my Headshots! What do you think?

Okay, first of all, it's really hard for me to not smile in a photo, but like my title to this blog post states, I hate traditional headshots. STORY TIME: The photo on the left came from this HR conference I attended in San Diego. One at a time, each person waited in line for their turn to get their make-up done, sit on a little chair in front of a nondescript grey backdrop, have their face blasted with light and get a few photos taken. (Hopefully they're good!) I stood in line wishing I could tell every single person the things I'm telling you today. You can do more! Be yourself! Don't be cookie-cutter! But that was the nature of this photography round-up, we were cattle-like subjects being herded through the line to be "branded" traditional/stuffy/nondescript. When it was my turn to sit down, I turned to the photographer and said, "I'm not a huge fan of traditional headshots. Any way you can work with me to get something slightly unconventional?" This was the outcome. And my photo was one of the most non-traditional of the bunch. <insert sad face here>

Now, let's take a look at the right photo. It's hard to put yourself out there, and I don't necessarily look my best or as beautifully coiffed as I might wish to look. But the truth is, this is who I am! I'm a goofball, I make silly faces, I like to have fun and if you schedule a Photo Session with me, you're going to experience these things firsthand. I want my headshot to give you a good first impression of what you're getting yourself into. I want to give you the confidence to do your own unconventional headshot and not feel too scared or embarrassed. I want to be a leader in encouraging ourselves to take risks and show off who we truly are. 


Why get professional headshots, if they're non-traditional?

The truth is, you should be yourself and show off your personality. But a professional photo vs. an amateur photo still goes a long way to give you a much more professional, polished look. I don't ever recommend an amateur photo, not just because I'm a photographer, but because they never look as good. A professional photographer has the right equipment, knows how to bring photos to life and put you in the best light, both literally and figuratively. (Light is another topic we will discuss soon and it's of the utmost importance!

You can have an unconventional headshot that is professionally taken and lightly edited, that still looks like you. So within those 31 milliseconds that someone is judging you, they're judging the photo quality and sizing up how they feel about you based on the story you're portraying. Professional photography, whether you're a business owner, blogger, independent contractor or Joe Dirt is the best thing you can do for yourself - I just want to take it one step further and show your personality at the same time. 

Do your photos accurately represent you?

Download this questionnaire to find out:

Let me know your thoughts! How hard would it be for you to take an unconventional headshot? Do you love the idea or do you hate it? What's your impression on over-edited photos?


You're the best. Thanks for reading...now go tackle this day!