4 Reasons to Update Your Headshot

by Emilie Hendryx, @eacreativephoto

If you are a writer or author building a platform (or with an existing one) you need an updated headshot. Some may not agree with this statement citing excuses about not being photogenic, that they have a good headshot (that is yeas old), or that they don’t like having their photo taken, but I don’t think these are good reasons.

You may be thinking: Emilie, are you just advocating for updating your headshots because you’re a photographer?

 The answer is no! Sure, I’m a professional photographer who does headshots, but that’s not a factor in this post. Instead, I’ve compiled four things a quality headshot will do and why you should make getting updated headshots a priority.

An updated, quality headshot will…

1)Put your best face forward

Don’t underestimate the benefits of having a professional headshot in this busy—and cluttered— world of social media. This doesn’t mean that your headshot has to be stiff or staged but it should be taken by a professional photographer with a quality camera. Why? Because this shows your level of commitment and dedication to professionalism on your platform. It will make you stand out. Readers (or potential readers) will be drawn to a professional headshot over a selfie because of the quality of the photo.I’m not saying that you can’t use selfies or non-professional photos on your platform (I encourage this), but your profile photo should be something of quality that best shows your personality.

2)Draw attention

A professional, updated headshot will draw attention to your platform. Not only can you update your profile images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and other social media sites, but you can also use the photos in blog posts and on your website to give a personal touch. In my own experience, as well as market research I’ve seen, personal images shared on social media tend to draw more attention than other posts. People want to see YOU.

3)Give a face to your brand

As writers, we are our brand. Yet another reason why it’s so important that our headshots are up to date. You wouldn’t expect your close friends to have a photo of you from five years ago and never see an updated photo, so you shouldn’t expect your followers/audience to be all right with an older photo. To build a genuine platform, you need to be genuine. Your audience will respond to honesty and transparency and that starts with showing the face behind the platform.

4)Make a personal connection

I believe that, since our society so heavily relies on social media, they are hungry for a personal connection that reaches beyond the sometimes-impersonal nature of online interaction. Why do they gravitate toward personal photos? They want to connect with us. They want to know us. And one way to do that is to show our faces. It’s not a trick or a ploy; it’s just another way to make a connection to those who interact with us.

What do you think? Have I convinced you yet? If not, here are a few additional excuses that I’ve heard. Some of these go deeper than just not wanting to have your picture taken.

  • Photos can be expensive.
    I completely understand this and would recommend taking advantage of specials (like what is offered at the ACWF Conference) or taking a chance on a new photographer whose prices are still low. Some photographers are also looking to enlarge their portfolio and, in exchange for letting them use your photos for promotion, may give free or discounted photos. Also consider the reality that this is part of your marketing budget.
  • You were hoping to lose weight or do something different with your hair etc.
    I get it—you want to look your best—but does that mean you aren’t embracing where you are right now? You must find the balance between understanding where you are, where you want to be, and embracing both.
  • You don’t like the way you look.
    This is probably the most common thing I hear from people as a reason why they don’t get new photos. They had one good photo taken ten years ago and that’s what they are sticking with because they liked themselves then. I think this is a mistake.
    It’s my belief that we must first seek our worth and identity in Christ before anything else. You may not love the way you look now due to age, weight, hair (or lack of), but guaranteed those who know and love you only see you. They don’t see what you could be, but who you are. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you that you can’t get an updated headshot because you don’t look a certain way.

Build a genuine platform by showcasing who you are with an updated, quality headshot. Your audience will love seeing you!

Emilie Hendryx is a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic designer living in Northern California. She’s a member of ACFW, writes Young Adult fiction, and spends more time on Instagram than she probably should. With a heart for youth and a love of genuine social media connections, she’s built a thriving community around her Instagram platform and brand: CreateExploreRead. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, you can find her designing fun, bookish items for her Etsy and Society6 shops all while drinking too much coffee.