Company headshots. You show up at your designated time. Most likely begrudgingly. To face a photographer who has been instructed to capture you the way your company instructed them to in the photographer’s brief. One thing is certain, finally, you have a photo! Regardless if you like it or not, you have an image for LinkedIn. But what about Facebook, your personal page, your own branding, or even a gifted image of yourself to your family? You can’t use your free company headshot for any of these platforms. Here are a few reasons why you should invest in your OWN headshot separate from your complimentary company portrait.

The Role You Play

Your Company Headshot: The role you play in your company or organization can vary greatly from the role you play outside of it. The company-provided headshot photo is to establish your company’s trust in your abilities and alignment with your company’s brand and values.

Your Personal Headshot: This should show your individuality and personality. Something versatile across social media platforms, your website, etc. This is also useful for those who are in between jobs or who wish to create their own business with their own imagery.

The Audience

Your Company Headshot: Typically your company images are used for their websites, annual reports, and networking platforms such as LinkedIn. These are pretty standard in style with conservative poses and expressions with a neutral background that is shared with your other colleagues. Companies have a goal of showcasing their professionalism and competence within their industry. You play only a part in that branding.

Your Personal Headshot: You have more versatility on where to post: websites, social media profiles, and creative projects. They can be relaxed and personal. They can also include a more relaxed attire, background, and poses that reflect your personal style. You are the focus of the branding.

Conveying the Right Professional Image

Using your company headshot image on all platforms can limit how you are perceived outside of your immediate professional circle. If you’re leaving your corporate job to pursue your dream of being your own boss as a service provider or creative, using your company headshot may be too formal and might not resonate with potential clients.

Flexibility in Styling

Additionally, company headshots can often be unwavering to maintain consistency across the organization. This can be very limiting if you want to stand out or express individuality. A personal headshot can allow for more creativity, flexibility, and experimentation. I had a client who in his heart felt that he was not shining through through his company profile. The firm is a very well-known firm and deviating from that all-too-familiar company brand was his way of standing out and NOT letting his company speak for him. Because of this, we put together a session tailored to him!

Updates and Relevance

I can’t tell you how many clients have contacted me about having new headshots done because their current ones were taken 5, 10, 15 years ago when they joined their organization! It’s rare for companies to have annual headshot sessions, tempting employees to hang on to their headshots for years on end. Through promotions and life changes, their company profile remains unchanged. Personal headshots can be updated as frequently as you choose, ensuring that your online presence is up-to-date and reflective of your current self.

Ownership and Use Rights

Typically, company headshots are owned by the employer. This can restrict how and where you can use these images. With a personal headshot, you own the image and can decide where you would be able to use it for speaking engagements, publications, or personal PR.

Yes, a company headshot is fundamental to your professional toolkit, but it shouldn’t be the only image at your disposal. Having a personal headshot offers a level of flexibility and personality that your corporate image simply cannot match. Having both sets of images will enable you to navigate various personal and professional spaces more effectively, ensuring you are always presenting the best version of yourself to the world.

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