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First Impressions: Why You Need a Good Headshot.

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

First impressions set the stage for your success.


According to a 2018 paper by Irmak Okten published in the Association of Psychological Science, people make split-second decisions about other’s character, such as trustworthiness and competence, based solely on their facial appearance.


According to 2016 research on first impressions, two Princeton researchers found that people judge one another based on one’s appearance within the first 1/10 second of meeting or seeing them.

This validates my opinion that your professional headshot is either helping you or hurting you. There’s no middle ground in our online-driven world. You really do only get one chance to make a first impression. If that opportunity presents itself on LinkedIn, your company website, or a press release, your headshot is doing the job for you. If you’ve got a great headshot that shows you as a confident approachable professional, you’ve got no problem.


However, if you’re using a bathroom selfie or a cropped snapshot from your cousin's wedding, the message that is being received by the people seeing you for the first time could be that you’re stuck up or simply not serious about your career.


African American Man's company headshot
Jerod Ewell, Architect

Personal branding image, headshot of African American architect with a unique sense of style


You can’t control how others judge you, but you can influence other's opinions of you and open the door to new opportunities by making a great first impression with a good headshot.


If you want to make a good first impression so the opportunities won’t pass you by, you need to invest in a good headshot. I’ve never heard of anyone being put down for having a great headshot, but I’m sure we’re all guilty of “swiping away” so fast we burn our fingers without looking twice because of a bad photo.

Dean Birinyi-


Dean Birinyi is an award winning photographer, founder and owner of Professional Headshots Palo Alto. He specializes in expression coaching to guide his customers on presenting themselves as confident, approachable professionals ready for the next opportunity.

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