Professional Headshots – Worth the Expense?

May 25, 2016 | LinkedIn, Personal branding, Social Networking

The photo on your LinkedIn profile is eight years old – you know you need a new one. But what’s the best way to get it?

Here are the most popular options, with the pluses and minuses of each…

Mall Photographer

Going to Picture People or Glamour Shots is a good choice for many people. You get a professional photo, usually with a handful of poses. It’s easy to schedule, easy to get to, not intimidating. Expect to spend less than a half hour.

The cost is usually less than $100, even with retouching, and you can often find coupons or discounts that bring the price down below $50. A number of our clients – sales executives and professionals – have told us that their company will reimburse the expense, which makes this option even more attractive.

The downside is that while these are professional photographers, their skill can vary. So you may get a good photo, but not a great one.

Professional Photographer

Scheduling a shoot with someone who has their own studio will give you the highest quality result. You’ll be working with a photographer who is skilled at drawing out your personality and can help you express the image you want to portray.

These shoots can be fun. You’ll spend 30-90 minutes moving through a variety of poses, possibly in several locations, with changes in clothing. Your photographer may provide makeup and hair, so you look your very best.

Expect to book at least a week or two in advance. You will spend at least $300 and up to $1000 for your shoot.

Take Your Own Photo

The least expensive and simplest solution is to have someone you know grab a camera and take a photo of you. This can work well, because you’ll be relaxed and in your natural environment. Free and fast have value too.

Crop an Existing Photo

You don’t want to take a photo that has other people in it and crop them out. This rarely works well – you can always see someone else’s hand or shoulder in the photo – it looks sloppy and unprofessional.

Which Should You Choose?

I highly recommend a professional photographer for any CEO, senior executive, public speaker, author or senior sales executive. For professionals who are job-seeking, a mall photographer will work well. If you have no photo currently, just take your own photo and put it up on LinkedIn until you can get to a photographer.

I’m a little prejudiced, of course, because my dad is a great photographer and I love working with photographers. But if you need convincing, take a look at my photos and I think you’ll see the difference the photographer makes.


My old photo, taken by my dad, which I love, but is five years old.

My old photo, taken by my dad, which I love, but is five years old.

A photo taken at a conference.

A photo taken at a conference.

My new photo, taken by Mary Gardella, the photographer we partner with and recommend.

My new photo, taken by Mary Gardella, the photographer we partner with and recommend.

Who else should read this? Please share!

Recent Posts

A Post-SaaStr Report: Braindates, After Parties & Uber Rides

CEOs of SaaS companies: Did you attend SaaStr last week? I did, and it was an amazing experience.  I shared my game plan and expectations before the conference, and some things were even better than I anticipated. A few were not ― or simply were different. Here are my...

25 Ways CEOs Can Build Trust Faster Using LinkedIn

Trust. It opens so many doors, doesn’t it? But trust has to be built; it cannot be demanded. And building trust requires that other important T word . . . time. It takes time for people to get to know who you are. They watch how you behave in different situations, how...