The fabulous Laura Pearman was recently a guest on the Go With the Pro Twitter Chat and what a guest she was!

Laura is a specialist in professional headshot photography and her background in marketing means that she implicitly understands the power of creatively branded shots.

Laura is the go-to photographer for personal brands and speakers at conferences all around the world. She’s currently working on her first pro exhibition and is developing her own Online Selfie Skool, a place where people can hone their selfie skills and confidence at the same time.

In this blog we share Laura’s advice from the Twitter chat on getting a great headshot. Our growing community found it invaluable and we hope so will you.

How can having an on-brand headshot benefit your business?

I start every shoot with two key questions: “Who the hell are you?” and “Where the hell are you going?”

Good headshots will detract the wrong people and intrigue the right people! You want to give people a sip of your delicious cocktail and whet their appetite!

Having a headshot that supports your brand really levels you up, sets you apart and shows you in your best light. Your headshot should be the shining star on top of your social media feed.

What do you need to consider before getting started?

If you can, interview at least three different headshot photographers, before you take the plunge.  

Having your headshots done puts you in a vulnerable position. You really need to trust your photographer and make sure that they understand you and your business goals.

Once you have narrowed your selection down based on each photographer’s style, their style of service and the all-important ‘feels’, you’re good to go!

Have a spring clean of your branding too.

For example, If you have a bright green logo, a website full of garing colours and funny taglines, yet you show up to do business in very formal attire, and you are no good at on the spot jokes, your brand is basically in a hot mess as it’s so inconsistent.

Giving this as your branding brief to a photographer will result in headshots that match your brand. Sure, you might look cute, but as your business messages are all crisscrossed, chances are your headshots will be another needle in that haystack.

How can you amplify your personal brand with a great headshot?

It’s important to recognise the power of personal branding and the fact that people want to know what you stand for and even what your home life is like – these personal things now affect buying decisions.

Curating the right personal brand for you and your life is how you do this in a beautiful and controlled way. The wonderful thing about personal branding is that it’s about your whole life – we’re all pursuing the laptop lifestyle.

Put your graphic designer, web person, podcast producer, copy editor and VA all in touch with each other. Letting creatives be creative together on your behalf results in some serious magic.

I really love it when I can get headshots inspiration from existing suppliers like this. We then love reporting our unique wild ideas back to our shared client. Rolling like this makes you a CEO, Boss-a-Tron of all your suppliers!

What are your tips for briefing a photographer?

To really take your ideas and direct them into visual magic, show your marketing plan to your headshots photographer.

To demonstrate how powerful this can be, imagine you’re planning a Christmas campaign. By sharing this, and other plans and campaigns you have, with your headshot photographer, you can plan to have some seasonal variations captured within your next headshots session.  

Maybe you are delivering a new webinar about leaping toward your goals? Why not get some shots of you doing some leaping! Headshots that are created from a context will serve you so much more powerfully.

Share your brand guidelines too. All creatives need boundaries and I personally love nothing more than consuming a good brand guidelines document!

Your graphic designer should give you this when designing your logo. I use this as a base for making sure all my ideas fit round my clients’ brand.

Practical briefing helps as well. For example, do you need panoramics? Do you need portraits or close-ups?

Start a secret pin board too and squirrel up your dream headshots. This is sooo helpful to your photographer!

Why do people struggle with getting a beautiful on-brand headshot?

A lot of the time it’s down to last minute planning. Either that or they try and cut corners. Perhaps their brother has got a decent camera and they just think, “well, that’ll do, it’ll save some money”. Unfortunately, this is a false economy.

You need a photographer who understands marketing, branding and does headshots exclusively. So spend time researching the right photographer and avoid Jack-of-all-trades photographers.

When you hire a photographer who also shoots product, animals, babies, families, weddings you will be getting a watered down version of what you need.

You need a headshot that is on brand and will convert for your investment. When any creative spread themselves too thinly like this by offering a lot of specialisations, guess what? They are no longer specialists!

Once you’ve invested in a headshot, how should you use it?  

They should be the first thing people see when they land on your website. Their job is to explain (visually) what you do.

Try and rotate your headshots about once a quarter but have them match. This makes you easy to find on social media profile searches. 

Promotion is key and you should actively use your headshots as part of your PR strategy.

What’s next?

For more tips, download Laura’s checklist for maximising your headshots return on investment.

Why not join our free Facebook group and continue the conversation?

#GoWithThePro twitter chats are every Thursday at 8 pm GMT, our chats are full of advice with fabulous guests aimed to help small businesses and freelancers grow and market their business #LikeAPro.

Now enjoy some of Laura’s headshots of our very own Cathy!