Monday, June 22, 2015

Does Your Headshot Make You Look Competent, Likeable or Influential?

By Megan Quinn

I recently tested out my professional headshot through a web service called “Photofeeler.” This photo comparison website has been gaining traction lately as a tool used by professionals - and even for Tinder or Facebook users - to see if their photos are attracting the right audiences for business, dating or social purposes.

This website allows users to upload profile photos for those three categories, and receive feedback on the effectiveness of each photo. Users can vote on the photos of other participants to gain virtual credits to use in turn for their own photo comparison analysis. A brilliant, endless feedback cycle!

I chose a headshot that is on our company’s website and my personal LinkedIn profile for the “business” section without hesitation (and when I had time) proceeded to vote and earn 40 credits. Votes are cast on a 0-3 scale of whether the photo communicates a sense that the person is “competent,” “likable,” and “influential.”

The rankings are a comparison between your photo's score and all the rest that have been tested on the Photofeeler site given as a percentile. So, for instance, a score of 71% means your photo did better than 71% of photos tested on their site.

I guess I can give the influential category some leeway since I am at the start of my career in public relations. Even though I may not have received the kind of numbers I was hoping for in that section, overall, the voting style is very classy.

After casting a vote, you may also submit constructive feedback on a user’s photo. There are no write-in comments, instead there are options to choose from such as “a little too blurry,” or “would like it better with a different background,” to say politely. Some users commented that my photo is great and for this I have Allure West Studios to thank!

The biggest takeaway from this experience has been realizing how much a person’s photo can count as a first impression. Since many of us probably have our photos online, it’s important to remember that our photos should be sending the right messages. For example, a professional traveler isn’t going to be wearing a suit in an office setting for their headshot. There really isn’t a cut and dry method!

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