Full disclaimer--the man pictured above is not a jerk, but he is an attorney!
Recently I have been pursuing more headshot photography in my business and I came across a website that rates profile headshots. So, I thought I'd give it a whirl! And, I was actually surprised at some of the insights it provides--mostly very good market-analyzed, focus-group analysis, blah, blah...Boring, I know! But, one of the categories sparked my interest. It was "Likeability." Apparently, you're supposed to smile in pictures. Who knew?! You can ask anyone who knows me if I'm a rule follower, and they'll probably laugh because I'm not known for my conformity. It's been said that rules were made to be broken, which makes no sense at all, but many photographers will tell you that you need to understand why a rule exists before you break it. Almost all rules SHOULD be broken, but you need to have a good reason for breaking it. You need to be intentional.
So, do you smile in pictures or not? Well, smiling in pictures is not a rule that I follow generally, but that is a topic for another blog post. According to this website, however, smiling makes you more likeable, which is probably true. So, should all headshots be smiley and is likeable always what you're going for in your professional look? I say NO! At least not always. I have had a career in sales for many years, and I can tell you for certain that people do business with and refer business to people they like. By all means, most people will want to portrait likeable, approachable and caring traits in their profile picture and should have some measure of smile in their headshot. On the other hand, some professions market their toughness and competence over likeability. Attorneys and company executives come to mind. Personally, I try not to shop for attorneys too often, but if I needed one, I think I would find the toughest looking one who I thought was a win-at-all-costs type of person to represent me. I would hope when I told people he was representing me that the response would be a resounding "I hate that guy (or gal)...what a JERK!" To which I would just smile and say "he may be a jerk, but he's my jerk! Your face says a lot--make sure it's speaking for you!
Cedar Mountain Photography
Located in Northeast Birmingham, AL