Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but people are judging you for your headshot. As a small business owner, your face is the face of your business. Your headshot tells potential customers about your company and your brand.

Are you still using a headshot that was taken in 2005? I’ve seen that. Are you using a photo of you at a party with booze in your hand and your friends’ bodies cropped out? I’ve seen that, too. Are you one of those people that never bothered to take a headshot? Please don’t be these people.

Your headshot communicates with your customers. When you have an old, grainy headshot, you are communicating to potential customers that your brand is outdated. When your headshot is you at a party, you’re communicating that perhaps running the business is not your top priority. When you have no headshot at all, you are communicating that you are lazy, cheap or technologically challenged. When you (the owner) has a professional headshot on your website, but none of your key employees do, you are communicating that you are a bit egotistical.

Yes, people are judging you for your headshot. Let’s make sure those judgments are positive. Your headshot is a great opportunity to show your brand image.

Once upon a time, I worked for a company called Voyager Bank. It was a community bank with a fun spirit. At Voyager, most employees got professional headshots. The photographer was instructed to use solid color backgrounds in a few pastel colors selected by the company (blue, yellow, green). Each employee got to select their preferred background (with the photographer’s blessing to ensure no major mismatch with clothing). In each photo session, the employee was instructed to pretend to be meeting with a client and to look slightly away from the camera rather than looking directly into the lens. The result? Photos that were consistent, up to date, friendly, and made employees proud.

If your company has a fun vibe, have a fun photo. If you’re serious, be serious. Headshots do not need to be boring.

Make a good first impression by ensuring that your headshot is professional, welcoming, and up to date.

4 Oranges is committed to bringing you weekly tips in the form of To-Do List items that you can complete in an hour or less. These tips were generated from reviewing best practices from the hundreds of businesses I’ve worked with over the past 15 years. I expect you’re already doing some (but not all) of them. Improve your business by making quick fixes that have long-lasting results.

© 2019 4 Oranges