Don’t let the title of this blog fool you. I’m not about to embark on a blanket anti-selfie rant or make dramatic claims about the “death of photography”. Selfies can be fun, casual, and offer an avenue for self-expression. For better or worse, they’re part of our modern culture.
Nevertheless, I do believe there’s a time and place for selfies…and that place isn’t your professional headshot. Here are a few reasons why:
The Quality Factor
When it comes to photo quality, our smartphones have come a long, long way. But, their pixel prowess shouldn’t be overestimated: selfies do not scale well for platforms that matter, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and corporate websites. What makes for a sleek and shiny Instagram photo can also make for a grainy, blurry and out-of-focus LinkedIn headshot.
The Background Factor
The selfies I see in my line of work, and in general, often include random backgrounds. Backgrounds can be distracting and may not fit what is conventional or traditional for headshots. While images taken from the front seat of your car, your road bike or an outdoor brewery are great for Facebook or Snapchat, they don’t exactly project gravitas. There are more appropriate options – some of which I expand on here.
The Professionalism Factor
Simply put, selfies are divisive. They engender both positive and negative reactions from people, especially when factoring in generational, cultural, and demographic differences. For every potential client that views your headshot selfie as chic, glamourous, and daring, another thinks it indicates you’re self-involved, lazy, and cheap. We’re not at the point where the selfie is universally beloved and accepted, so why push it? Ultimately, you want your talent and reputation to speak for itself, as opposed to a photo style that invites snap judgments.
My clients get professional headshots because they want to attract the professional clientele they deserve and desire. If you’re reading this blog, I imagine that’s a goal you identify with. Do yourself a favor, keep it classy, and say “no” to the selfie headshot. I promise you’ll find other place for that killer shot with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
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