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A couple of days ago I started working on a project. My thoughts were, headshots are just one part of a persons working career. There are two other parts that are just as important. The first one is a really good resume. That's a given. The second part is sort of new. It's the digital footprint that each of us has. Each of those parts has components that make the whole and failing on any of those smaller parts spoils the whole batch.

I put all three of these components, the headshot, the resume and your digital footprint all on the same level of importance. They all need to vibrate at the same frequency. If one is off, the other two can't really make up for it. So that got me to thinking

I produce some of the best headshots in Toronto, so that part is taken care of. What I'm not good at is writing resumes. That's a skill unto itself which not only takes someone with a love of writing but also years of experience in writing for a specific niche, resumes. So I started the long process of finding the best resume writer and LinkedIn profile creator in Toronto.

I started off very much like how many of you found me, a Google search. I put together a list of resume writers that I wanted to get in touch with and started calling around and this is where it got interesting.

The first place I called specialized solely in resumes and appeared legit. They had great messaging on their site and it peaked my interest. As luck would have it, I managed to speak to the business owner directly on my first call. I proposed my idea on how we could work together for each other's mutual benefit, but what he said back to me shocked me.

"If you think that the places you've applied to lately haven't checked your Instagram, guess again."

"We don't believe in headshots, in fact, we tell our clients to not post any pictures at all". That floored me. These guys were clearly out of touch with the realities of today. While I can understand their stance in that employers can't hold anything against an applicant such as race or gender or religion. The truth of the matter is hiring managers and placement agents routinely review applicants social and professional profiles online. If you think that the places you've applied to lately haven't checked your Instagram, guess again. And as it happens, all of those profiles have pictures on them, it's unavoidable. In the case of Instagram, that's all it is, pictures of you and your lifestyle. If it's unavoidable, why have a mediocre headshot or even worse, why have no picture up there at all?

On LinkedIn for instance, profiles with a headshot have 40% more views than profiles without a headshot. There's a general consensus among the people I have spoken with that a LinkedIn profile without a headshot leaves them with doubts about a persons professionalism and reliability. As well, a profile with a bad headshot has swayed the reviewer to put the applicant in the reject pile.

So keep your eyes open and pretty soon I'll be announcing the co-operative project where you can get an awesome headshot, a kick-ass resume written and a LinkedIn profile worthy of a fortune 500 CEO.

 

PS. If you're shopping around for a resume writer right now, make sure you ask them where they stand on headshots and LinkedIn profile pics. If they're against them like the guys I spoke with, they're out of touch with what the market wants in a resume so keep searching.

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My-HeadshotI'm a kick-ass professional headshot photographer in Toronto specializing in headshots based on psychology and human interaction. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current headshots and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at 647-728-7971. Let's show them the best you.

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Yup, Without Even Knowing You're Doing It

Why is it you still breathe when you're sleeping? I know, an odd question to ask. Well when I was younger, these kinds of questions popped up now and then. I've always been interested in why we do the things we do. Better yet, why do we do things without even thinking about it all the time.

Enter The Reptilian Brain

The subconscious, also known as the unconscious mind as labeled by Freud, is pretty powerful. Its roots stem in part from our genes but mostly by our experiences as we were growing up. These experiences as we grow, determine how we see the world and our place in it. These preconceived ideas dictate how we react to situations and it happens faster than the blink of an eye. Some call it a knee-jerk reaction.

The unconscious, however, can be primed to react certain ways. Take for example a study performed at Yale University where students were manipulated by a stranger prior to answering a question. On route to the study, students were bumped into by a laboratory assistant who was holding textbooks and a coffee. Some were holding a piping hot coffee, others were holding a cold iced coffee. The student was asked to hold the cup of coffee while the assistant picked up the books from the floor. Later in the study, the students were asked to describe a hypothetical person they simply read about. Interestingly enough, the students that held the iced coffee described the hypothetical person as being "colder, less social and more selfish" than the students that had momentarily held the hot cup of coffee.

So how does this all apply to headshots you ask?

The first thing you need to understand is your headshot isn't actually for you. It's for the viewer of it. So you need to create your headshot with the viewer in mind. Have you heard of the term "bitch face"? Have you ever walked down the street, a person walks past and You jump to the side and think, "whoa, she's not having a good day!" or, "Geez, I'd hate to bump into him in a dark alley!" These are all examples of your brain's unconscious kicking in and applying an emotion or feeling to what you are looking at. With headshots, we want to take advantage of that knee-jerk reaction but instead, evoke a specific reaction that positions you to your favor.

Here's The Best Part

That reaction is a fine balance of emotions where you appear both confident and approachable at the same time. If you are too skewed towards confident, they'll sense a bad attitude or standoffishness. If you are too skewed towards approachability, they'll sense inexperience or unassuredness. All without speaking or meeting you in person yet.

Before I go, do yourself a favor and take a look at your headshot. Show it to friends and family and ask them to describe the emotion they feel from it. Really get them to think about it, "it's a nice picture" isn't going to cut it. Ask them for an honest emotion. A single word will do.

If you'd like to read more about the unconscious mind and how amazing it is, go check out this short article.

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My-HeadshotI'm a kick-ass professional headshot photographer in Toronto specializing in headshots based on psychology and human interaction. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current headshots and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at 647-728-7971. Let's show them the best you.

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I've had a lot of time thinking about what makes a headshot work and the experience to solidify all the little pieces that go into building what I like to call, a successful headshot. But first, let's talk about what the big deal is about headshots. I mean, do you really need one? Is it really that important that you pay someone to take a picture of you? Let's look there first.

Do me a favor and go grab any magazine that's close by. I'll wait. Got one? Good. First, turn to an ad in the page that has a picture of a person. Got one? OK, great. Look at that picture for a minute or two and think about where that picture came from. Now, let's ask the question. Do you think that someone popped out their iPhone and snapped a pic of that person? Do you think the company that is being advertised just told their marketing department to go grab any old picture of a person and make it a full page ad in the such and such magazine? I seriously doubt it.

No, here's what most likely went on there:

All these people were involved in making that advertisement. For what? To get you interested in what they have to offer you.

Let's take another look in that magazine. Flip through and find an interview article. Got one? OK, great. Now, that first page of the article, the picture of the person the article is on, let's look at that picture for a minute. Now ask yourself, was it a picture of that person at their cousin's wedding last summer - with their significant others arm draped on their shoulder - but he's not in the shot - because he's been cropped out - because he’s, as it were, “not in the picture anymore”? No, no, no! It's most likely an amazing shot of them in a cool studio somewhere looking fantastic, right? Again, it wasn't just a picture of the person snapped at some random moment. It was a carefully planned photo shoot designed to present that person in a way that makes you want to read the article. It was designed to evoke a certain feeling in the viewer. A feeling that might make you want to get to know that person more or even, silly as it sounds, be that person.

So, now let's chat about your headshot, and if you really need one. Let's see, your current headshot, is it a snapshot taken at a family or friend's wedding? Is it a picture of you when you were on holiday in Greece last year? Ok, I know, it's a picture of you at graduation five years ago. Am I right?

Here's the tie-in. You don't have to be in a magazine in order to be considered marketing yourself. You're marketing yourself all the time. If you're part of the corporate crowd, you most definitely have a profile up on LinkedIn. That profile is going to have a picture of you up there. That job you applied for a week ago, yeah, they looked at your LinkedIn profile, and what popped right up the hiring managers face? Your profile picture, that's what! Did you know that hiring managers and talent scouts take 20% of the time reviewing a LinkedIn profile looking entirely at the profile picture? Considering it's only seconds that are spent reading a profile, 20% is a lot of time and attention taken away from reading your skill set. It's become more commonplace these days to hire someone based on the personality of a person and how they would work in a team, not necessarily their skill set. You can gather a lot more information on someone's personality from their headshot than you can from a list of skills.

Bottom line, when it comes to your online presence, understand that you are always marketing yourself. You need a headshot that presents you in a positive way. While any headshot photographer can take a picture of you, just any old picture won't do. There needs to be a certain quality to the shot. One that is hard to put into words, but you'll know it when you see it. I've seen a lot of headshots in my time, and many of them are just plain terrible. Yeah, the person may be smiling and their makeup is done. But is there life to the shot? I've seen so many headshots that look like there's nobody home! Maybe an example might help illustrate what I'm talking about.

Nobody's Home!Now There's Character!

It's a subtle difference, but it's a difference that makes a huge impact. Most people discount it because they don't realize. It's all subconscious. But that's a whole other article that I'm working on. Til then, check your social and professional profiles and look at the headshots you have up there. They could be sabotaging your successes.

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I'm a kick ass professional headshot photographer in Toronto. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current headshots and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at 647-728-7971. Let's show them the best you.

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I'm sure you've seen at least one or two of his shows at some point in late night TV, that's if you're not already an avid watcher. But Jimmy Fallon has shared a little throwback to his early days and posted hi first ever acting headshot for us all to have a little giggle with.

Before landing the Late Night gig, which came from his stint on Saturday Night Live. Jimmy was an actor looking for work just like a lot of others trying to make their mark.

Fallon, now 42, recently shared his first ever acting headshot taken in 1992 at the ripe old age of 18!

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I'll admit, I don't watch a whole lot of TV. I am more of a movies kinda guy -well that and too much Youtube. But I do remember the first bit I saw of Jimmy doing a Lip Sync Battle with Emma Stone. I just could not stop laughing at how badly Jimmy was and how Emma completely killed Blues Traveller!

Here it is if you have some time to waste.

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My-HeadshotI'm a kick-ass professional headshot photographer in Toronto specializing in headshots based on psychology and human interaction. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current headshots and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at 647-728-7971. Let's show them the best you.

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My business as a headshot photographer has me work with a lot of people and after a while trends are very apparent. One very popular trend upon meeting people for the first time is that they apologize, they apologize for not being very photogenic or that they just don't look good in pictures so it's ok that these headshots won't turn out good. They don't just say that out of jest, they actually mean it and believe it!

I have never had a client come in and not have a great turnout. Ever. Why is that, because we all are great in our own way and it's about time that we all stop stomping on ourselves and others. I came across this video a while back and was recently reacquainted with it by a friend. It's touching, eye opening and makes you stop and think.

We are our own worst judges, we torment ourselves more than legitimate enemies do. We talk to ourselves in such a negative way every day over and over again. Well, it's time you stopped doing that. Imagine how amazing you would be if all that negative self-talk was replaced with positive self-talk. What would happen to your confidence, your abilities, and your happiness?

Give this video a watch and understand that the people you meet don't see the physical flaws that your laser guided eye site has latched onto when you look in the mirror. They see you, beautiful you.

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My-HeadshotI am one of the best professional headshot photographers in Toronto. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current profile picture and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call. Let's show them the best you.

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ATTENTION - ALL  - ACTORS!!! Here it is from the horse's mouth. What do they really look for in a headshot when casting a role.

It goes to show that it is so important to think ahead of your shoot and decide what you want to show. Which character are you? Are you the bad guy? The good guy? The shy guy? The funny guy? Whoever you are targeting for the shoot deserves as much attention and rehearsal as if you were preparing for an audition. WHen you get to the studio for the shoot, talk with your photographer before you start so that they know what's up.

I always talk to my actors that come in and work with them to find out who their character is. What you do with that character is what makes it unique to you and becomes your brand.

Sit back and grab some popcorn and a drink. This isn't a short ride as there are a few opinions being shared here and they don't always agree with each other. When you're done, pick up the phone and call me right away, eh hem, I mean after you rehearsed your character that is.

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My-HeadshotI am one of the best professional headshot photographers in Toronto. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current profile picture and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call. Let's show them the best you.

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There's something lurking around the corner, it's close. Closer than you would like it to be. It has the power to cause panic the likes of which you have never felt before. And it can make you do almost anything to get away from it when it does come calling.

In all seriousness, if you're an avid traveler, there is a little bugger waiting to rear its ugly head. I noticed it a little while back getting ready for a trip abroad. Passports have an expiry date. I know what you're thinking, "no shit Sherlock" but hear me out on this one. Most countries require a passport that still has 3 months before it's posted expiry date. So while your passport is still valid in your country, it may not be in the country you are heading to. It could also mean your trip is over before it's even begun if you didn't catch it in time.

I've lived through the mad scramble to get a passport replaced in time for a flight. The rushing around getting passport pictures taken and extra fees charged to rush the process through the requisite red tape, bottom line, it's a nuisance.

So the last time I went through this I had an idea. I use Gmail for all my email and calendar scheduling -as I am sure millions of others do too. I simply popped open Google Calendar and set an appointment 3 months before my passport expires. On that day I'll get a notification of it expiring and I can take action well in advance of impending doom.

 

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My-HeadshotI am one of the best professional headshot photographers in Toronto. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current profile picture and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at  647-728-7179. Let's show them the best you.

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I know most of you haven’t given it much thought but if you stay with me for a few minutes I hope I can help you understand just how important this matter really is.

First, let me ask you about your LinkedIn profile. How’s it doing? Is it completed with all your history and accomplishments listed? Are you getting head-hunted out of the blue at least once a month? Does LinkedIn say your profile strength is at an All-star level? That’s awesome! Good for you! Hold up a minute though, there’s one thing LinkedIn’s fancy algorithm just can’t determine and that is just how horrible your headshot really is. All it knows is that you have one. You could have a shot of Homer Simpson up there and it wouldn't care. The truth is it really does matter, a lot.

Having a profile picture on your profile is important but even more important is having a professional headshot. Anyone can grab a picture of themselves from their buddy Larry’s wedding reception, crop it down to just their face and slap it up there. I've seen this over and over and over again. The wedding shot is actually one of the most popular sources of LinkedIn profile pictures. It’s amazing how many I see up there. I've even seen people put up a picture of themselves practically wasted smashing beer cans on their head (yes, it’s posted below). With that image in your head, ask yourself this question; if you were the owner of a new start-up and you were looking for skilled talented people to add to your company and this guy applied, would you actually short list him and arrange an interview?

Would you hire this guy.........for any role?

I'm sure you've seen on the news a short while ago about the news reporter that was verbally assaulted on the air. It’s become known as the “FHITP” scandal. The reporter, who had had enough of that treatment on the daily, took it upon herself to confront the people that made the comment and those in the area that were involved with the prank. One such person embraced the attention but instead of owning up to doing wrong, made it even worse by enthusiastically supporting his friend's actions. All the while the camera was rolling and it captured his spirited opinion. Well, the guy was recognised alright, recognised by his employer and they unceremoniously fired him. Poof, a six figure job gone. Why? because of his behaviour and how that represented his employer. It was the image that held enough weight for him to loose out.

Why do I mention that story? Well if an employer can weed out undesirables before hiring them in the first place, there are potentially fewer headaches later on. Your headshot speaks volumes about you personally and people base decisions on that initial visual perception. Your profile may talk up how skilled you are in your field of study but your profile picture says a lot about your personality. It says how you present yourself to others and especially, to the employer's customers. Recruiters are doing the same thing. Employment website, TheLadders, who describe themselves as “a comprehensive career resource dedicated to advancing professionals' careers” and who specialize in “helping job seekers and employers connect to fill $100K+ jobs”, recently ran an eye tracking study and discovered that recruiters and hiring managers spent nearly a fifth of their time, (19 per cent) on a LinkedIn profile looking at the profile photo.

So what makes a good professional headshot?

OK here’s the quick in and out list of what your profile picture should look like. I’ll put it down to two lists, the simple do's vs don'ts approach.

DO'S

DON'TS

It’s a short list I know. But trust me there is so much more to it than just what’s listed here. A professional headshot photographer taking your profile picture will be a very smart investment in upping your profiles polish. It’s an investment that you’ll use for at least 5 years.

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My-HeadshotI'm a kick-ass professional headshot photographer in Toronto specializing in headshots based on psychology and human interaction. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current headshots and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at 647-728-7971. Let's show them the best you.

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I am, hands down, one of the best professional LinkedIn Headshots photographers in Toronto. I realise that's a pretty bold statement but it isn't me that's saying it, my clients do! Why do they say that? It's what I do for them.

I'm on a mission. A mission to fix the LinkedIn Headshots of Toronto!

It's surprising to find out that with 130 million profiles on LinkedIn, less than 30% have had a professional headshot taken. Even more surprising is seeing some of the pictures the other 70% are using!

Image is everything. You make decisions every day based on what you see. From which shirt to wear for the meeting that morning to which sandwich you pick from the cafe at lunch. You decide things based initially on how they look. It happens incredibly fast and psychologists call it Thin Slicing. What kind of things have people decided about you in that short period? Here is a short list of 9 things within seconds of meeting you. I feel many of these knee jerk decisions are also made when first seeing a picture of someone. Your picture that you have up on LinkedIn.

We're going to use your imagination here for a bit. Imagine you've invested countless hours into your start-up business. You've worked on building it up in your spare time after work and on the weekends. You've reached a point where you've grown enough that you've quit your full-time job. You've invested all the money you had and added more money from family and friends. This is your baby, your dream. But you need staff in order to expand, to build, to see your dream take off and become what you've envisioned. You post an ad for someone that can jump in and wear a bunch of hats. Someone that that is going to be as passionate about this company as you are. You get some resumes in response to your ad and since 91% of employers check social media, you decide to check out your applicants online before you call them in for an interview. You pick your top choice and see them heading your sales team, interacting with your customers and taking care of their needs. Working with the other sales reps to build a clientèle base that will propel the company to the next level. You pull up his profile on LinkedIn and the first thing you see is this.

Now, be honest. What was the first thing you thought of when you saw this LinkedIn Headshot? Did you see the new head of your sales team? The team responsible for ensuring your new businesses survival? I'll tell you what I saw, I saw a resume that is going to the pass pile.

Resumes are fudged and polished all the time. People's behaviour is inherent. People are who they are. This picture tells me that he doesn't really take his career that seriously. He also doesn't really care very much about his self-image. If he doesn't care very much about his own personal business how much care to you think he'll have for your dream?

Your second choice has all the requirements you need. Their experience speaks confidence and competence. You open their LinkedIn profile to take a peek just like you did before and the first thing you see is her LinkedIn Headshot.

Did you get a better feeling this time? Did you her greeting your customers with class at the conference in New York next month? Did you see her holding a sales team meeting in your new office boardroom and empowering her people? I sure did. Her profile picture caught my attention and urged me to learn more about her. It didn't drive me to run to the hills.

The decision was practically instantaneous, her LinkedIn Headshot gave me the go ahead to look further into her profile. That is the power of having a professional LinkedIn Headshot. In fact, it's not just about a LinkedIn Headshot but all the other online areas where you do work. Skype, Twitter, Facebook, your companies internal messaging. There are countless places where your image will be the first place others will meet you. Today's reality is that many people will meet you through your online presence before they meet you in person.

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My-HeadshotI'm a kick-ass professional headshot photographer in Toronto specializing in headshots based on psychology and human interaction. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current headshots and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at 647-728-7971. Let's show them the best you.

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Social media is prevalent in so many things that we interact with every day yet often remains under the radar when we are creating an online image for business. A professional headshot on your social media accounts can mean the difference between it being a boon or a bust.

Whether you are the CEO of your own company or starting out at the bottom rung of the ladder, in this day and age having an online presence is de-facto standard and so should having a professional headshot. LinkedIn jumped on this a few years back and built a social platform solely for that business purpose. It is common practice now to find recruiters and hiring managers scouring LinkedIn to find suitable staff to fill business requirements and it's a tough job. But LinkedIn is not the only resource. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Skype etc, there's just so many out there. Take them seriously!

The Ladders,  a comprehensive career resource ran a study just last year and tracked 30 professional recruiters over a 10 week period. This study, an eye tracking study not only determined that on average, reviewing an individual candidate's resume took no more than 6 seconds. In those six seconds, 80% of their time was spent reviewing the following.

That's a total of 6 points that are checked within 80% of the 6 seconds review time. That's 0.8 seconds per point. It's hardly a glance. What took the remaining 20% of the review time? It went to the profile picture! The profile picture took a total of 1.14 seconds of the recruiter's review time. More than any other part of the resume. That might not seem like much but it trumps education! 1.14 seconds is ample time for thin slicing to occur. And thin-slicing can be the boon or bust I mentioned.

Now LinkedIn and online resumes are not the only places recruiters go to research potential new hires. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and others are all places recruiters will go to find out everything they can on applicants. It is amazing what people will put up on social media sites without any thought given to the ramifications. Including their headshot. Twitter is also a great source of personal information about an applicant as well. Entire personalities can be gleaned from these sources telling a lot about how an individual interacts with those around them.

Reppler, a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image across different social networks recently conducted a survey of 300 professionals in the hiring process, recruiters and hiring managers included. In that study, it was revealed that a whopping 91% used social media outlets to vet applicants. Facebook was the heavy hitter here attracting 76% of the attention, Twitter garnering 53% and LinkedIn the remaining 48%.

Shockingly, it was asked if any candidates were rejected from the list of candidates and if so, the reasons for the rejection. Posting inappropriate photos was only beaten out by lying about qualifications and not by much.

Before you scramble for a New Year’s Eve photo from 1992 and crop it down for LinkedIn, listen to this and listen good: you need a professional headshot taken. It is simply not acceptable to use words like “leverage” and “proficiencies” in your online resume and associate them with a picture that includes:

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My-HeadshotI'm a kick-ass professional headshot photographer in Toronto specializing in headshots based on psychology and human interaction. If what I've talked about here is making sense and you've looked at your current headshots and realize that it could use an update from a pro, send me an email or give me a call at 647-728-7971. Let's show them the best you.

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