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Association Management

Headshots 101: Why Selfies Don’t Cut It

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks April 5, 2023
Table of Contents
3 min read

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.

Click through to learn about MemberClicks’ membership management software tools, MC Trade and MC Professional.

Why shouldn’t you use a selfie as a headshot?

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!

But it’s more about how you present yourself in your photos.

Where to go for headshots

There are a lot of ways to get headshots that aren’t selfies.

  • Professional Photographer: The best results will come from a professional. However, professional photographers can be more expensive. Look for local photographers who are doing a special seasonal promo or who offer shorter and more affordable headshot packages.
  • Photo studios: Walmarts, Costcos and some department stores do have photo studios that are often used for family photos. Many of these will do professional headshots too.
  • Ask a friend: Non-selfie headshots doesn’t have to be taken by a professional. Hand over your smartphone and get a friend or family member to take your headshot for you!

Tips for the best headshot

Here’s our top tips for the best headshot:

  • Try to have a static background. You should be the most dazzling thing in the picture!
  • Make sure you are well lit. If you’re outside the sun is on your face, not behind your head to stop any shadows. Standing in front of a window can help make sure the lighting is perfect.  
  • Dress to impress: Your clothes should have minimal patterns and contrast nicely with the background.
  • 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!


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