One thing I see a lot of across social media accounts and media in general(outside of headshots not being appropriate for the purpose which I have mentioned previously here, are headshots in use that are not compatible or optimized for today’s media formats.
What do I mean by this?
Well take a look at this first of two examples. Most people will recognize this immediately as a LinkedIn profile. This has been cropped to a square to fit LinkedIn’s profile specs but it shows a decent amount of head with the body. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with that, however, when the profile picture is so tiny who really cares what you are wearing.
It has been proven time and time again that your expressions matter to those that are seeing you so why would you hide that with a headshot where your head is so tiny? Many times the space for your picture is quite tiny so you need to maximize that space to give the most visual impact. Everyone can assume what the rest of your suit looks like – they don’t really need to see it.
Let’s take a look at this second image. Same suit and a very similar shot but look how much more engaging the person is, the expression, and the overall image. See how much more impact that makes by using what little visual real estate is available to show the face rather than the body? This format gives people a real chance to connect with your face before they even meet you.
Here is another example using a company newsletter or exec bio. Again, we’re wasting space here by showing the suit and it does nothing to draw the reader in.
Now look at the second version and notice how much more punch we’re giving the overall bio. Again, we don’t need to see the whole suit and note that the top of the hair is cropped in as well. Everyone viewing this is going to want to see your face and expression; not the bottom of the suit and certainly not the very top of your head.
Having a commerically viable headshot is maximizing the visual impact and this is a major part of how we do it for this day and age. As a headshot photographer and someone directly responsible for molding a person’s visual brand I am all too aware of this. Moreover I optimize the shots for this kind of visual impact and even provide all my clients pre-cropped versions outside of the full shot that they can simply drop-in to LinkedIn, Facebook, etc so they need not even worry about it.
Consider the kind of visual impact that you want to make and have your headshot follow suit accordingly.