Voter Pamphlet Headshots: What do they say to you?

As a portrait and headshot photographer, of course I think it’s important to present the best image possible when representing yourself in headshots. A headshot should be an accurate, polished, professional picture of yourself to give your readers a great first impression.

I cracked open the voter guide today and a quarter of what I saw (38 out of 150) for pictures were nothing short of a headshot 9-1-1.

Our first impressions have a lot to do with how we view a person’s appearance. Or more correctly, how they choose to present themselves for us to meet.

Of course I’m not voting on looks alone, but if I am stuck between a choice of two candidates with similar qualifications, I’m not going to lie, the disqualifier is going to be who put the least amount of effort into a winning photo.

Online or printed, photos carry a lot of influence over our decision making. But how much influence should be resting on this still image?  

Here are the FIVE key points to create a great headshot to give a positive influence.

  1. Start with good grooming.
    • Hair style should be tamed and fresh
    • Facial hair neat and trimmed
    • Makeup the way you would wear everyday
  2. Dress for success
    • Dress for the position you are seeking.
  3. Do not use a selfie, esp. not a seatbelt selfie.
  4. Do not use your phone camera, the lens is not a portrait lens, it’s a wide angle so you will look distorted.
  5. Use a studio. Outdoor images are nice but do not make good headshots. The background competes with the person and can look cluttered esp when converted to black and white.

Pro Tip: The image should be clear from front to back, use f8 and clamshell studio light. When you use the right lighting you get a crisp image that converts easily to black and white.

Flipping through the pamphlet, each 2 page spread shows 4 candidates. By page 53 the Republicans had little competition for who could submit a worse headshot but there was at least one Libertarian and one progressive in the running. By page 54, the Democrats started to lose their edge on having a good record for better headshots. To be honest, by that point, the rest of the pamphlet was mainly Democrat and it was one out of four on each two page spread.

For a funny summary using a few of the images for a glimpse of what I saw and the thoughts they triggered as soon as I saw them.

What does your headshot say about you?

Don’t forget to vote!

Your ballot is due in by Tuesday, August 4.

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