Posed Professional Headshots are a Buzzkill

I must preface this article by saying I've used overly-posed professional headshots for various online profiles before. I know, I know. You're thinking,

Kayla, drink your own Kool-Aid.

You're right. I drank it, and this what I found.

When I went through my rebrand, I decided to change my social media photos. I was reinventing my brand so I could speak more to creatives than just PR professionals. My photos had to reflect this change too.

Besides, which photo looks more authentic of these two?

Definitely the one on the right. I'd much rather have a long conversation with her over hot cocoa. Just saying.

After making the switch, within the first few hours I received over a dozen mentions saying how much they loved the new picture, and I doubt it was because of  red lipstick and flannel.

It was because my picture was more genuine.

People who had connected with me through different social media platforms knew this photo fit my personality much more. It even started more conversations. That's a win-win if you ask me.

So why are so many people using stuffy, posed professional headshots on their social media profiles and elsewhere? Are we so focused on fitting an image of what we should be for our employers that we forget to showcase who we really are?

Yikes. That is not an online world I want to be a part of.

There are others besides me fighting the need to feel unnaturally posed. These folks got it right with their Twitter avatars.

Karen Hammons | Melyssa Griffin | Jessika Hepburn | Cydney Irby | Danielle LaPorte

Allison Vesterfelt | Zhenya Hutson | Ali Bee | Kevin O'Gara | Whitney Blake

After seeing these photos, I would want to have a conversation with each one of them because the picture speaks to who they are. Isn't that what online communication is all about?

When we start to censor ourselves online, we take away our authenticity.

Sure, keep a professional headshot for LinkedIn, but then file it away. We (aka all of us on the interwebs) want to see what you really look like.

So replace your posed headshot with one that speaks to who you are. Let's be real online.


Which do you prefer to have online: a posed headshot, candid, selfie, or other? Let me know in the comment section below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Kayla Hollatz