How should I choose a headshot photographer?

You’ve decided that it’s (past?) time to get professional headshots for your entire team, so you can finally put a cohesive look on everyone’s first impression, but now it’s time to pick…it’s never easy, but I can help! Here’s a few ideas on how to pick a winner and reap the rewards of a sound business decision.

Do any of your mentors, industry leaders, consultants, or competitors have a stunning headshot? Ask them who they use! Take a look at your LinkedIn connections and see if any of them have a particularly clean and professional headshot, and find out who their professional photographer was. Anyone in your rolodex of service professionals (doctors, realtors, lawyers, financial planners/accountants) have a particularly stunning shot? I’m sure they’d be happy to share their connections, especially because it helps reaffirm that they made a great investment in their headshot.

Don’t forget to look at the style choices among the headshots you’re reviewing, and the photographers you’re perusing. Pay close attention to where your eye goes, and ask yourself deep down, is this image showing me the best of the person I’m looking at? Is my eye drawn to the individual, and do they look comfortable and happy? All too often, photographers focus on the photography and perhaps the pose, but they often struggle with the expression. The best of the bunch has a plethora of skills to get their clients relaxed, comfortable, and confident in front of the camera, and that presentation makes all the difference in the fraction of a second that potential clients use to assess your ability to solve their problem.

If you’re still coming up short on connections, here’s a great global resource: the Headshot Crew. Formed by Peter Hurley, one of the best headshot photographers in the world, he’s created a top-notch coaching and certification program for other headshot photographers around the globe. Just visit http://headshotcrew.com, click “Find a Photographer”, and put in your location. You’ll get links to find Peter’s photography (and he does travel frequently, so you may be able to find him in a city near you), his Associates (a title bestowed on less than 200 individuals who’ve demonstrated consistent ability to make clients look their very best, such that he’s willing to refer clients to them ), and Proteges, who are photographers enrolled in his coaching program or have taken one of his workshops, such as my friend in Atlanta, Nina Parker.