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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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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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