Don’t get us wrong. We LOVE selfies! They’re easy, fun, and a great way to document time with friends, family, and colleagues. But we’ve also noticed an alarming trend: selfies as professional headshots.
“What’s the big deal? Everyone’s doing it!”
You have a good argument there. Many, many people are using selfies in professional profiles, social media, and even on resume headers. Honestly, many people may not even notice. But keep in mind a few words that tend to be associated with selfies and see if any of them are in the ballpark of how you want to be portrayed professionally:
- Youthful. You have to admit that teenagers and young adults eat up a big chunk of the selfie market. There’s nothing wrong with that, but your photo should represent your professional experience.
- Spontaneous. Spontaneity is good, but sometimes your members or even a potential future employer want to know you’ll be steady and dependable.
- Cheap. Okay casual photos are not the end of the world. We’re not saying that association leaders who are already on a tight budget should spend more on a professional photographer. But when you post a selfie in a professional context, at worst the message is that you couldn’t even find another person to take the picture for you.
- Vanity. There’s something inherently vain about having your picture taken anyway, even on the most basic level, but to be constantly taking self portraits does seem to take it to another level.
Now this isn’t to say that everyone who takes selfies is immature, spontaneous, cheap and vain! I would have to say that about myself, in fact, because I take a fair few selfies personally. And to be fair, I have seen people pull off nontraditional professional photos that range from selfies to family portraits. It’s all about how you want to be presented to the world.
If you want to be seen as trendy, a little cutting-edge, and outside the box then a selfie could be a perfect solution! Ditto those who show off hobbies, cherished possessions like a car or a boat, or their families.
Should you decide to leave the selfies on social media, here are a few tips for awesome headshots:
- Try to have a static background. You should be the most dazzling thing in the picture!
- Make sure you are well lit and that if you’re outside the sun is on your face, not behind your head.
- Look happy! This is not a government-issued ID we’re talking about. In many instances this will be your first introduction to some people. Wouldn’t you greet them with a smile in real life?
- Watch the filters if you’re using a camera phone. They may look flattering on Twitter and Instagram, but in a lot of cases the filters wash out the photos when translated in other areas.
- Be consistent. When you get a good headshot, use it everywhere!
A great place to beta test a new headshot is social media. Is the online world still a little fuzzy to you? We can help!