You Don’t Need a Headshot. Wait…what??

Jul 25, 2020

Two seconds. That’s how long a typical user will spend on your website or social media platform – unless something captures their interest. You have two seconds to make a connection. You have two seconds to tell a compelling story. What’s one thing that will hold their interest and cause them to stay for more than two seconds? Captivating visuals.

So if visuals are so important, why don’t I need a headshot?

With only two seconds to make an impression, in most situations, a headshot just doesn’t cut it. A headshot doesn’t clue the viewer in on your personality. A headshot doesn’t help to visually tell a story about your or your brand.

What you do need are BRANDING PORTRAITS. This is a collection of images that tell your story and tell the story of your brand, showcasing the real, authentic you. As business owners and service providers, our own thoughts, beliefs, and stories about life and business form our PERSONAL BRAND. Your unique qualities as a human are what differentiate you from others. When a viewer or potential client finds something about you that they can relate to, that is when a connection is formed. That is what causes them to feel like they know you and to decide that they want to work with you before they even pick up the phone to call you.

We’ve been conditioned to think that we just need one image, one headshot, that we can use over and over. Using one image doesn’t tell the full story of who you are though. You are a complex human with many sides, and a full collection of branding portraits is needed to tell your stories. By using multiple, cohesive images throughout your various mediums, you are better able to connect with a wider range of potential clients.

People do business with people first; the product or service is secondary. That is why it is critical to connect with your potential clients. To invite them in to get to know you better. As a portrait photographer, I know that there are hundreds of other photographers in my area who are also taking great portraits. What makes me different from everyone else first and foremost is ME. After they get to know ME, then they see how they will love my service and everything that it can do for them. The connection with me as a person, though, is where it starts.

When I tell my story, and then I pair it with a beautiful portrait of me, that’s where the magic happens. That’s where the true connection takes place. A story is just a story until it is told alongside a photo that draws the reader in.

Here’s an example of what a social media post with a story and no image looks like:

How did it make you feel? Would you have stopped and read the story if you would have seen just those 12 words in your IG feed? Probably not. Here’s the same story paired with a beautiful brand portrait that shows personality.

Now, how did that image make you FEEL? Would you want to stop and learn more about the person behind that big smile? YES!

As the face of your brand, it is critical for your face to be shown on your website, social media, and  marketing products. And you owe it to your viewers and potential clients to give them more than a typical headshot that shows little about you. Emotions and feelings are what drive purchasing behaviors and decision making, so make your views FEEL something. Through branding portraits, you are able to show them the real, authentic you, and to create a solid connection that will make them want more of you!

(This article was originally published in InBusiness Magazine, June 2019.

Karianne Munstedt
Karianne Munstedt Portrait