Brand photographer & educator. I play ukulele, I sing, and I laugh a lot, mostly because I misinterpret everything I hear. Want to change the way people invest in you? Work with me—I travel worldwide.

Meet Lauren

Is your headshot sabotaging you? Bad headshots vs good headshots

Tips & Tricks

Good & Bad Headshots

What makes bad headshots vs good headshots? Is yours actually preventing you from making big moves in your career?

Does anyone even care? (Well, yes, and those people are out there killin’ it in the business world right now while the rest of us convince ourselves that no one wants what we have to offer).

See, it’s not that you’re not the perfect candidate for that position you’ve been stalking, or that you’re just lacking the skills (after all your experiences? you’ve got everything you need!). It’s just that you’re not positioning yourself out in the world so the right people can see your genius and that you are their dream come true.

You, my friend, are the perfect fit, and if you’re serious about getting your dream gig, I’m going to show you the first step to getting in the right people’s field of view—your headshot.

In this video I cover:

0:20 | The one person who steals 5 minutes of your time & why you want to be that person

1:19 | How to tell if your headshot is crappy & sabotaging you

2:06 | What 3 things make the recipe for a good headshot

2:42 | The thing about good headshots that makes your people flock to you, effortlessly

3:23 | How to brand yourself in your headshots to save you time, rejections and heartaches

4:43 | How to not get lost in the crowd…or your own photo

5:12 | The 1 overly-simple thing you can do right now to help you find your headshot style

5:31 | How to find the perfect photographer for you to help you achieve this

Since your headshot is only what gets your foot in the door, you’ll want to dive into how you don’t need to be the best to be valuable or successful next. Then you’ll be able to match your confidence to your headshots.

What makes bad headshots?

Well, you actually know pretty instinctively what makes bad headshots vs good headshots. If you’ve ever scrolled through any social newsfeed, you know you’re constantly scrolling past a million pictures. They’re clearly not catching your attention.

They’re the ones where the person’s in a traditional suit & tie with an overly forced smile on their face. There’s nothing wrong with a traditional suit & tie—but paired with a forced smile, these photos show zero personality, don’t give any insight into what that person’s like, and certainly don’t make your eyes linger for more than a moment.

So, what’s are good headshots like?

#1 — It captures your energy.

A good headshot shows what it’s like to work with you.

Are you the outgoing person in the office who’s always laughing, or are you the one who’s more reserved and focused on getting your work done?

Both are totally fine. But! You will save so much heartache, rejection and time if you depict your specific energy in your headshot.

See, by showing your personal nature in your profile picture, it’ll make people do 1 of 2 things:

  1. They’ll instinctively think, “Hm, not sure if they’d be the best fit.” or
  2. They’ll say, “This person looks like they’d be GREAT to work with!” and then precede to go talk about you to everyone else in the office.

And I’m living proof of this being the #1 thing that makes good headshots vs bad headshots!

Because mine is of me laughing, owning my tattoos and glasses in a simple red t-shirt, everyone who approaches me says, “I can just tell you have such a radiant energy because of your picture!”

#2 — It connects you to your niche audience.

People connect to people, not job titles.

Don’t believe me? In 2018, Forbes released an article stating, “…the vast majority of employers (88%) are looking for a ‘cultural fit’ over skills in their next hire as more and more companies focus on attrition rates.”

(P.S. If you don’t know what attrition means, it basically means being worn down.)

So what does this mean for your headshots?

It means dressing for the job you want, not the one you think everyone wants you to get.

So here’s a simple way to connect to your niche audience through your headshots:

• Really think about the kind of people or work environment you’d like to work with/in. (You have a choice! Really!)
• Wear clothes that match that and still truly represent you and your personality

You are your own brand, and confidently owning that that is what makes you indispensable.

#3 — It stands out.

The last thing you want your headshot to do is make you blend in with a bunch of trinkets or foliage so no one can really tell if there’s a human in the photo.

Now, you can have a headshot that uses those elements in a way that adds to the photograph, but you need a professional photographer who knows how to achieve that look.

So make sure you are the center of attention in your headshot.

Sounds silly and obvious, but a lot of us are afraid to really own who we are.

Here’s what makes your headshot stand out powerfully:

• It’s simple
• Your face is the main focus
• You have 1-2 eye-catching colors involved

And since we’re talking about being your own brand, why not make those colors your favorites, or ones you look best in? They don’t have to be bright red and blue to be eye-catching.

How do you achieve this when having photos taken is so damn uncomfortable?

I’m glad you asked, my friend.

It’s crucial that you find a photographer that:

  1. Specializes in headshots (would you go to a foot doctor to perform heart surgery?)
  2. Vibes well with you (so you trust them and can relax at your session) and
  3. Matches a style you’re interested in (because you will both be disappointed if you try to make a photographer recreate a headshot you saw on Pinterest that doesn’t match their own zone of genius)

And that’s all there is to bad headshots vs good headshots!

Final tip: bookmark this page and have it on hand the next time you update your headshots so you don’t waste your money on the wrong headshots or feel like you can’t take a good picture!

All good things,

P.S. Did someone come to mind while reading this who, when you see their headshot, you’re like “GIRL. That is NOT you”? Yeah… share this with them. They’ll thank you for it later.

Lauren is a personal branding photographer between Baltimore and Philadelphia in York, PA. She takes killer high-end headshots that make you say, “That’s me?!” and “That’s me.” at the same time. If you’re looking for candid event photography for your Baltimore- or Philly-based business, or other commercial photography, take a moment to browse!