Regardless of the client, I’m always looking to build great eye contact into their headshots. There’s a big reason for this; good eye contact is a fundamental component of building trust, as it creates a sense of connection and sincerity.
Eye contact is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to make a person feel recognized, understood, and validated. Source
Conversely, would you do business with someone who would never look you directly in the eye? Of course not!
However, by integrating quality direct eye contact into your headshot, you can immediately establish a foundation of trust with those who view it.
I used Isaac as an example in the above video and while he is just a person in business as opposed to an actor, his headshot still is compelling. A huge factor there is eye contact. It almost feels as if he is either listening intently to us from right across the desk or about to tell us something interesting.
Note that he’s not looking away from the camera (aloof looking) nor does he have a turned head giving us a side-eye (mischievous). Neither of those works for business headshots.
Also, note that he is not looking up at you nor down at you giving you feelings of him appearing diminished or overly assertive respectively.
Instead, I design these headshots with clients to have a very conversational feel. This opens doors for connecting rather than closing them. I want others to feel comfortable reaching out to you and building business relationships.
Remember, your headshot is a representation of you, and it should mirror the way you engage with others in real-life interactions. After all, you would never consider doing business with someone who doesn’t make eye contact, as it shows a lack of sincerity and connection.