7 Uses for Business Headshots

Executive Headshot

You know you need to get Business Headshots. It is a staple of the professional world. The Marketing and HR departments really want them. But what do you actually do with your headshot once you have it? And does a single headshot work for all your different uses?

Those are some of the most common questions I receive from my clients. I’ll share some of my feedback, perspective, and creative uses for your headshots. I’ve created thousands of Business Headshots over the last decade – and surprisingly almost all of them have the same core needs when it comes to using their headshots.

What are Business Headshots?

Before we jump into HOW to use your headshots, it’s helpful to actually define what Business Headshots are AND how they differ from traditional portraits, lifestyle photos, and actor/model headshots.

A Series of Business Headshots
Examples of th different styles and types of business headshots.

Simply put, business headshots are designed to send a specific message about you and your company. It should be clean and professional. And perhaps most importantly, it should be a good reflection of your company’s brand (or your personal brand if you are looking for employment).

In the following tips, I’ll share unique features you might want to have in your headshot for each of the uses.

#1 Email Signature

This is hands down the biggest use for a business headshot. It’s the little graphic at the bottom of your email that lets the recipient put a face to a name.

If you’re in any public-facing position (from sales to tech support), it helps to have a small picture to let them know they are working with a real live human. It and personalization to your communication.

Email signature showing a business headshot
This is my email signature. It features a commercial business headshot, contact information, and social links. If someone wants to contact me, they’ll know how to do it.

For an email signature, you will want to have a “commercial” appeal. It should be friendly looking and clearly show your face. Generally, you’ll want the crop to be “heads & shoulders” or tighter.

#2 Linkedin Profile Image

When it comes to business social media, you should be thinking Linkedin. This is a business-to-business networking site, which varies greatly from traditional social media like Facebook/Instagram. You’ll want to put your best business face forward when working with other business professionals.

Business Headshot of a woman
This professional headshot shows warmth, yet looks professional.

For some industries, like sales or IT, you can use the same commercial headshot you used for your email signature. While in other industries, it may be more appropriate to have a headshot that conveys a different message. For example, and C-Suite Executive will want to use an image that conveys authority and responsibility. A smiling headshot goes against that feeling. Carefully consider what message you want to portray in your headshot.

If you want to know more about crafting the perfect headshot for Linkedin, check out this blog post “5 Tips for the Perfect Profile Picture for Linkedin”.

#3 – Social Media Profiles

Most social media profiles are a bit more casual and show a different side than the more traditional business profile. This is the time to showcase a different side of you, highlighting the “personal” factor. You’re connecting and networking with your clients in a genuine and casual format. Having a headshot that showcases this casual look can be helpful.

Casual Commercial Business Headshot of a man
This casual and natural look works really well for social media. It is open and friendly.

Generally, for Social Media profiles, I prefer to have the image look professional, yet showcasing a softer, more personal look.

This could be a more casual outfit (no tie or jacket, sleeves rolled up) or a more casual expression, like a laugh or smirk. Either way, the point is to show personality while still being on-brand.

#4 – Website/Blog

Everyone’s website is a bit different. If you’re part of a large corporation, you may have a dedicated “bio” page. If you are a solopreneur, the “about me” section accomplishes the same goal. Either way, we want to take a closer look at who we are doing business with.

Business Headshot of a man for website and blog use.
This business headshot showcases more personality and lets you know more about the person.

For these pages, having a “non-commercial” headshot is a great tactic. I generally prefer to have a pulled-back image, showcasing a 1/2 body (to 3/4 body) portrait. This gives the viewer more information about who they are working with.

Depending on your industry, it might be great to showcase you in a relevant location (like you doing your job) or with a prop that relates to you. The goal is to add the personal human touch to the images.

TIP: If your website features thumbnails of multiple people, use your tighter commercial headshot for the thumbnail page and then use a wider image on the actual bio page.

#5 ZOOM/Skype Profile Images

With the rise of video conferencing, it’s helpful to upload a business headshot to your profile. We’ve all been on a meeting with everyone’s video turned off and microphone muted. Having your profile picture uploaded will display your professional image during these calls.

Business Headshot of a woman
This is a professional headshot that works well for a variety of calls.

This puts a face to an empty square. It’s memorable. It’s effective.

The type of headshot you upload should depend on the type of meeting. If it is a sales call, you’ll want a commercial look. If you are giving a fiscal report, you probably won’t something with a more authoritative look.

And best of all, if you do audio-only on your calls, you’ll always look polished and put together to your colleagues.

#6 – Brochures / Mailings

When you send out advertising, you’ll get a better response if you humanize it. Including a photo of who you are help convey the personal factor of your offer. We connect with people. So use it as a tool.

Woodworker Business Headshot
This image showcases personality and helps engage the viewer. This is great for your response rate!

At the very minimum, include your tight commercial headshot in your mailings. It is clean and puts a face to your business.

For more impact, consider a 1/2 body photograph with some personality. This is a great time to explore a more illustrative commercial look. For a realiator, this could be you holding the keys to a new home. For a financial blogger, you might be laughing and having fun. Convey a message that aligns with your branding and you’ll have more success in your campaigns.

#7 – Speaking/Keynote Presentations

It’s usually at the last minute that the marketing department will want a headshot of you to include with a presentation you’re making. It could be a small report to investors or a large keynote address. Either way, you’ll need to provide them with a promotional image to start advertising the events.

Business Headshot of an executive
This is a powerful image for a keynote speaker. It conveys professionalism, authority, and his expression helps form a connection.

Most people send over their commercial headshots. At a minimum, this can work. If you are part of a panel, are one speaker (of many), or aren’t being featured, this works wonderfully. However, if you’re the headliner for the event, you’ll need an image that better aligns with the message you’re going to be sharing.

Having a dedicated presentation headshot can help strengthen your message. If you are speaking on finding work/life balance, you should have a clean and tranquil image. Similarly, if you are demonstrating IT security, a contemporary and authoritative headshot will send a better message.

Parting Thoughts

You’ve probably noticed a theme by now: Use a Business Headshot that conveys the right message. Depending on your specifics you might be able to use the same headshot for everything – or – you might need a series of images to allow you to use the perfect headshot in every situation.

If you need help creating the perfect Business Headshot, we’re here to help. It’s what we do. You can set-up a free ZOOM consultation where we can go over your goals, industry, and needs. I can help you brainstorm how to best accomplish them and give you advice on clothing, hair/make-up, and styles that will help you look your best.

Or send me a message on our Contact Us page 🙂