The quality of a professional headshot that one chooses to display on their social media profiles and business website are equally as in important to the content describing the profile and company website itself. The professional headshot matters. As a career confidence coach, I often find myself reminding professionals and entrepreneurs to be mindful of the headshot that they use to portray their professional image. Truthfully, once your headshot posts onto social media platforms one never knows where their photo can end up. Take a moment to review and analyze your social media headshot profiles. Is the photo clear and easy to view, tasteful in attire, what personality trait does it promote?

At FLBlogCon 2014, I had the opportunity to have a photo shoot with Jim Hobart. We had an insightful chat that turned into the feature interview below about the importance of a good professional headshot and the photographer’s perspective of capturing the perfect professional headshot.

Jim Hobart provides professional portrait services through Macbeth Photo. Macbeth Photo has two locations, one in Orlando and the other in New York City. Take a moment to visit their website to check out their upcoming events and portfolio.

Career Tipper: What are the elements that contribute to a quality professional headshot?

Hobart: A good headshot needs to do a lot of work. First of all, it should be technically perfect… that’s a given. Exposure, composition, and focus must all execute effectively. Once accomplished, a portrait needs to convey something of the person’s character or personality. It should also evoke a desired combination of emotional responses, such as confidence, competence, approachability, candor, honesty, trustworthiness, skill, capability, decisiveness, etc.  It is my job first to learn what the subject needs to portray, and then figure out how to bring that out of him or her. Everyone brings a different combination of physical appearance, style, insecurity, humor, and confidence, and it’s up to the photographer to synthesize a genuine, but carefully crafted portrait.

Career Tipper: Why should professionals be mindful of what image their headshot portrays of them?

Hobart: The majority of my commercial clients are in a business that requires great personal trust.  Realtors, financial advisors, accountants, life coaches, bankers, bloggers, and many others depend on the fact that their clients BELIEVE what they say is the truth. Their goal is to provide their clients with reliable and trustworthy information for them to base and make important business decisions.  A good portrait can do wonders for the business of a person who requires that potential clients feel he or she can be trusted to give honest, valuable, and carefully considered information.  If you trust the face on the website or business card, you are more likely to trust the person.

Career Tipper: Jim, it is fascinating how you’re accurately photograph and capture a stranger’s personality within a few minutes of meeting them. What has been your path to success to develop your evident photography passion of becoming an industry expert?

Hobart: Getting the technical aspect of portrait photography right is a given; it’s the cost of admission.  But the thing that sets an average headshot photographer apart from a great one is a psychological component. The hardest part of what I do with my subjects is to get them first to relax and let their guard down, and then to take a risk with me and give me a little of themselves. It is a two-way street, and as a photographer, I have to meet them halfway. First I have to ask lots of questions, establish some trust, and let them know that they are in a safe, judgment-free zone.  There are not penalties for goofy expressions, and anything not liked can be deleted. Once the client realizes that we’re on the same side, and my goal is to make a portrait that they love, we’re well on our way.  The greatest gift a client can give me is to say “I love this photo, I’ve never seen myself this way before.”


Photo Credit: Macbeth Photo