Why I’ve Updated My Headshot – And Why You Should Too

“You’re a wizzywig.”

“Excuse me!?!?” 

“You’re a wizzywig.”

As I stood with a confused (and potentially insulted) look on my face, my boss decided to enlighten me. 

“Wizzywig. You must have heard of it. It stands for ‘What You See Is What You Get’ – WYSIWYG.”

The penny finally dropped and I told him I was indeed a wizzywig – and proud of it. 

Because, as far as I’m concerned being myself, with my personal brand clearly communicated and in plain sight, has played a huge part in people buying into me – and as a result, buying into what I offer.  

But recently something had been niggling me

Before the pandemic, my brand image was more on the polished side: sleek hair, smart clothes, bold make-up.

But post-pandemic I’ve taken a less formal tack (as have many people): I’ve embraced my naturally wavy hair, started to wear more relaxed clothing and softened my make-up. The trademark red nails and lipstick are still there (I’ve not changed entirely) but my look has definitely changed.

That was what was niggling me.

The Jennifer I was portraying online, through my website and LinkedIn, didn’t match the Jennifer people were seeing delivering keynote speeches, webinars, workshops and coaching sessions. And that was contrary to my wizzywig beliefs.

I took my own advice

I decided to walk my talk, dropped a line to Yolande De Vries (the photographer who’d taken my last headshots) and set up a date to meet. The result is a series of photos that match who I am on screen with who I am in person. Well…with a teeny bit of Photoshopping to correct some lighting and get rid of a zit I had on my forehead!

I’ve used them to update my website, my LinkedIn profile, my email signature – and anywhere else I show my face virtually. I’ve also recorded new videos for my homepage and LinkedIn, so it’s consistent across the board.

Consistency is key

That’s the nugget of what this post is about: consistency. Because if ‘What You See Is What You Get’ you feel confident in what you’re buying and trust what you’re getting.

The same goes for your personal brand. If how you look, sound and act online is consistent with how you look, sound and act in person, people can feel confident in what they’re buying and trust what they’re getting.

Rule of thumb

As a loose guide, I’d say that if your online photo is more than two or three years old, you should consider updating it. Of course, if you’re a modern-day Dorian Gray and look pretty much the same now as you did then, feel free to keep it.

But if there are any significant changes – maybe to the colour or style of your hair, the addition or deletion of a moustache or beard, a significant gain or loss of weight, plenty more wrinkles on your face – then do yourself and your brand a favour and get back in front of a camera.

It doesn’t have to be a professional taking the shots. You can get some great results with your mobile phone. But whatever you do, make sure your brand comes over loud and clear.

How closely does who you portray online match who people experience in person? When was the last time you updated your profile photos? If you’re happy to share your answers, there’s a comment box below ready and waiting. Thanks!

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3 responses to “Why I’ve Updated My Headshot – And Why You Should Too”

  1. Jeff says:

    The face on my author website is four years old and hadn’t changed much until Monday last week when I copped for a dose of Norovirus, something I’d never before heard of. For a while I saw reflected in the mirror one of the undead on an off-day. Norovirus effects last up to a week but as there is no cure, a call to the local quack is pointless. Hope you never get it. Looking on the bright side, you would at least save money on food and wine since you wouldn’t be able to keep anything down. In the new year I’ll be plugging: http://www.falconfoto.co.uk

  2. Denis Kaye says:

    I’ve never understood why so many people display photos of themselves that were taken years ago. Who are they trying to delude? The purpose of the photo is to provide an image of you, the person they are going to meet or with whom they’re going to speak. Why start with a lie?

    • Jennifer Holloway says:

      Absolutely! What I understand even less is when it’s someone who specialises in personal branding who does it. I know of one person whose profile photo is definitely not an accurate representation of how they look.

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