There are needs and then there are wants. Clients often come to me needing professional headshots for press releases or for their company website. I also have clients that need to improve their personal brand to help them get noticed on LinkedIn. So, let's see if I can help you answer this question!
Headshots are essential business tools.
Headshots are not just profile pictures used on LinkedIn, websites, blogs, emails, and press releases. Headshots are an asset to promote your company and personal brand. They humanize your digital identity in this social media-rich economy.
When you do business with someone that you have never met, sometimes it is easier to disregard that person. You have no idea what they look like or what their personality is really like. I'm sure you have been in a similar situation before where you have formed a idea in your head about a colleague that you have worked with for a long period of time, to only meet them to learn that they were nothing like what you imagined. It is in our human nature to create biases on caricatures we create in our imagination.
Headshots help to create a humanized connection when we are not able to meet with people face to face — triggering empathy. Clients and business partners want to deal with people, not businesses. A good corporate headshot gives the impression that you are a confident and skilled expert in what you do. Depending on your brand it can also show that you are friendly, serious, fun and/or creative.
Why you should hire a photographer.
You may have a friend that takes great pictures on their phone. You like the photos they take of you! Why bother paying someone to take your headshot when you can have one done for free? Some people are naturally talented at taking photos with their phone, but not everyone knows how to create a great headshot or know what to look for.
Do you want to gamble with your personal brand? A professional corporate headshot photographer will help you choose the right wardrobe, coach you into flattering poses, make you feel relaxed, give you confidence that will show through in your headshot, find your best angle and do it all in flattering lighting against a non-distracting background. The photos will look "professional" as you should be branding yourself as. And some (like myself) can also retouched your headshot so you look like yourself, but on your best day. Invest in yourself and hire a professional photographer that will add value to your brand.
I hope you can now answer the question, "Do I need a professional headshot?" We all ask questions, but in the end, it is you that must make the decision.