Headshots for the Tech Sector
Your profile photo is an introduction before someone even meets you. It will pave the way and make it easier for your first impression to go well. It can predispose people to judge you positively.
When someone looks you up on the web, what impression are they forming?
Do you take this seriously enough to present a complete and polished profile? You’re in tech, so you get it that you have to demonstrate that you’re web and social media savvy. That’s a basic requirement.
Next, do your words and your head shot send the same clear messages? If you’re describing yourself with excellent coding ability and strong team building skills for example, your photo needs to support that. You’ll need to look confident (not stiff, awkward or staged) and relateable (not overly serious or impersonal).
Research has shown how quickly we form an impression of someone when we view a photo of their face. Test subjects only need to view a headshot for 1/10th of a second to judge a face as likeable. 1/10th of a second to judge a face as trustworthy. 1/10th of a second to judge a face as competent or aggressive or attractive. Longer viewing periods don’t change these snap judgements. Give someone 2 full seconds and they can judge all of these qualities (and more) from viewing your photo.
The same researchers have also shown that learning other information about the face in the photo after this 1st impression can reinforce or reverse this judgement.
What does this mean for your headshots?
- We have an instinctive, gut reaction impression from viewing a headshot. That happens almost instantly, without thinking about it.
- We also have a more conscious, thought-out process when forming an impression of someone. This is where your written profile will have a strong influence.
- Sending the same messages with your headshot and written profile will reinforce each other and have a much stronger effect on someone’s impression of you.
- It’s not just about smiling and looking good for the camera. People are judging photos on a lot more than just attractiveness. Deeper qualities can be easily judged from your photo.
We have research that shows smiling in a photo makes you look trustworthy . . . And squinching (a faint squint) in a photo makes you look competent.
Can’t we just piece that ideal expression together with the right smile, the eyes just so, the brow faintly furrowed?
No. Because we are all instinctively good judges of human expression and we can all see a forced smile from a mile away.
Do great actors consciously control their mouth, their eyes, their brow – to project intelligence or friendliness? NO!
Do directors ask them to smile or ‘give me intelligent eyes’? Of course not! because it looks stiff and insincere.
Portrait photography is no different. If your profile describes you as intelligent and innovative, then I’m going to want you feeling mentally alert and awake. I’ll want a lively sense of engagement and interest between us. That comes from:
- how you’re feeling
- what you’re thinking
- how you’re interacting with me
If coffee helps you feel mentally alert, I’ll be suggesting your favourite coffee drink.
Is your personable nature one of your strongest qualities that makes you great with people? I’ll ask you to be personable with me (not with my camera – that produces self-consciousness).
By focusing your energy and attention on how you’re treating me, we get believable results. This is a very natural interaction that is second nature for you. You look personable because you are being personable. You look intelligent and lively because you’re feeling intelligent and lively – and interacting with me from that.
My super power as a headshot photographer is my talent at photographing your real personality and strengths. I make it simple for you to be authentic, natural and confident (these 3 qualities always go together).