How often should you update your headshot on your website / business cards?

I am thinking from a branding perspective, how often should my team and I be updating our headshot? I am also curious to hear what the rest of you consider a professional photo. Does it have to be of just your head? Did you hire a professional photographer to take it of you?

It seems employees are getting more and more creative and relaxed with their professional image today. What do you think?

Answer This Question
Expert Answers
Sort by Date Sort by Votes
7

Hi Erica, I wouldn't change a headshot unless your look changed and someone who sees you in person wouldn't recognize you. Depending on the person's position and which network, is what would determine how casual or professional the photo is.

On LinkedIn, it should be a professional-looking headshot. Should you have a professional photographer take it? Sure, if you can afford it, however a friend can take it of you dressed properly -- in accordance to your career position. Try not to do a selfie.

On the other networks, casual and business casual work. Again depending on the image you want to portray.

6

Interesting responses Erica, I am fascinated that no one has been brave enough to comment on yours (as it appears here on mosaicHUB). I tell it how it is, so please accept my advice in the constructive vain that it is intended.

There is no business convention or reason why you or anyone else should even have a headshot at all, unless you actually rely upon your looks to attract work (i.e. a performer, model or actor). In those professions your photography should always be kept currant. There is no reason what so ever to include a self-portrait on a business card (it is a convention peculiar to the real estate industry). Webpage profiles do often benefit from a photo, but only when it is representative and appropriate to the professional persona your viewers will expect and appreciate. If there are many individuals featured professional shots with identical lighting and backgrounds reflects well on the group as a whole (from the CEO to the junior receptionist).

You do yourself a genuine and potentially brand-damaging disservice when you crop your head from a casual group photo, one taken at the beach or family wedding, eating, drinking or partying at a nightclub. Unless you are very fortunate and have a talented amateur in the family get a professional shot taken with a clean clear background. It is not your passport of driving license photo, it is far more important.

It is a fact that most people do not photograph all that well, therefore a professional portrait photographer is mandatory to make you look the best you can. Preparation is essential, good hair, makeup and lighting will make all the difference, and a little Photoshop can improve reality too.

Social media has made a head shot almost mandatory; however elsewhere there is no need to include an image of your-self without a genuine and essential reason. Recognition is never a reason as some may think, no one walks around clutching a business card looking for a visual match, that’s nonsense!

Your observation that some seem to be adopting a more creative and/or relaxed professional image is possibly because of a general relaxation of business dress codes and conventions. Business suites as a tie are less common now in many professions, and work attire now includes what would have been considered prohibitively casual a couple of decades ago.

Some conventions should still provable, never were a hat (unless in uniform) or sunglasses, never obscure any part of your face, or pose with a pet, car or company logo. Dress as if you were at a job interview, because when you are that prospective employer will definitely look at your public profile (possibly even before any interview).

The image should be just your head and shoulders (bishop’s length at most). Avoid props, products and branded (corporate) clothing. If you are a florist you don’t need to feature a bunch of flowers, likewise professional photographers are still photographers when they put their camera down for just a moment. There are not many professions where a woman should feel it necessary to expose her declotarge, so cover your shoulders and avoid plunging necklines (guys you should definitely do the same)!
Your image should be totally transferable, if you changed profession, moved to a new company or transferred to an overseas branch location tomorrow, it should still hopefully be relevant and culturally correct.

Your holiday snaps (even selfies) should be forever reserved for your personal Facebook profile for the enjoyment of your friends and family. Where you can update them every time you enjoy a meal!

The statement saying that you should get a professional photo "if you can afford it," should really state that you can't really afford not to!

I beg to differ, John. Check out this article and the impact of your profile picture: http://www.businessinsider.com/biggest-linkedin-profile-photo-mistakes-2016-10

This article has little to do with the question Erica posed Valerie Bittner. It is specifically about the importance of a ‘LinkedIn profile photo’ (and applicable to other profiles on social media). On a personal profile site like LinkedIn your profile photo is incredibly important. Possibly the single most significant element you upload.
However, on a traditional business website, and certainly a business card there is no need for any portrait at all,

5

Hi Erica,

Your question show that you appreciate that you as a person; are the key part of your companies branding whether you are a one-man-band or the CEO of a company. I don't think their is one answer to your question as the issue is a bit subjective. I have one client; a company executive who shows himself in a relaxed position reading a newspaper and others who have a passport style image. I think it should show your personality, so that when and if the client meets you he gets a similar vibe to what he expects. I do think it is worth getting a professional photo taken but I would not recommend people to change their headshot often as they age, other than for dating purposes!

5

I teach, consult and do expert witnessing in marketing and advertising. Simple answer is two years.

I go to the Ucla Economic Forecast four times a year. I can't recognize the people on the stage from their photos or headshots, some times. The headshots are too old. They don't look like they do now.

Some of the shots appear to be 10-20 years ago. Some couldn't be found by the police if they used the photo in the room. Another example, many realtors have their photos retouched so much you don't know them.

If you are in an executive position have it done by a professional photographer. When you use the photos or headshots of employees on the web, bring in an experienced photographer and change the employees often. That's what we do.

Here to help. All the best.

5

In my opinion, I don't think it's necessary to change your headshot unless people are no longer able to recognize you from the photo. I would consider a professional photo - that aligns with your brand image.
And, as always, continue to update your social media posts with valuable and interesting content. This is another way to introduce additional and more creative professional images - as time goes by. Including presentations, videos and webinars to your posts and newsletters are other ways to continually refresh and remind people of your branding image without having to continually update your headshots.
Then including your social media links on your business cards and websites.

4

I would say whenever your look materially changes but don't trust your own judgement or that of someone who sees you regularly, pick a trusted person whom only sees you irregularly. If you are professional, then I recommend from the chest upwards with appropriate clothing, the head shot alone does not sell enough but should remain clear. Use positive colours in your dress according to those colour rules.

4

Typically I'd say 5-7 years. However, I too have met people (recently a woman in her late 40's with there graduation photo still on her ads and B.cards.) Lastly, I did read an article that said if you don't look remotely like your profile photo on LinkedIn it's time for a change.

4

Erica, your headshot should reflect YOU. You are the business. I would suggest that your headshot is professional and represent what you do. I am not sure what the steps in the background of your photo have to do with your profession and if there is part of someone else on the left side of your photo.

Login to Business.com

Login with Your Account
Forgot Password?
New to Business.com? Join for Free

Join Business.com

Sign Up with Your Social Account
Create an Account
Sign In

Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Community Guidelines, and Privacy Policy.

Reset Your Password

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email with a link to reset your password.

Cancel