Recent Epic Mistake
When I started my voice over business years ago I had headshots done for my website. While a long time ago people used to say that voice actors did not need to show their face, as the VO industry has continued to evolve and we, as talents, now have to bring in the bulk of our own work, it is on us to run our business like a business. If we want our clients to connect with us, having current pictures is a must. So, about a year back, I was presenting at an online eLearning conference and I was super excited. When they asked for my head shot, I became for cognizant of the fact that the photo no longer resembled me. I was thinner, my hair was shorter, I always wear glasses… the list went on. I decided to take new photos and update them. While my old headshots had been done by a professional, I took the new ones in my booth with an iphone. I loved them and was thrilled.
I loved the photos so much that when I did my website refresh and rebrand this January they were featured in the banner. Do you sense the train wreck coming. Well, middle-aged me does not have perfect vision. I failed to notice that in my main photo I am sticking my tongue out. I tend to be both silly and flirty, and apparently I stick my tongue out. Often. Worse, I could not see that my tongue is sticking out and this photo is everywhere.
Fast forward to this summer. I was accepted as a presenter for the OneVoice conference in Dallas. They asked for a headshot. I send them this photo. I was so elated when I was listed on the page of speakers. I clicked on my photo to make it bigger, and for the first time realized in horror that my tongue was out. Clearly the photo had to be replaced.
It’s amazing that even in the NY metropolitan area it is really hard to find a photographer to do corporate branding work. Further, it is amazing how much range there is in their rates. Beyond that, it amazes me how few were even willing to respond. There are so many things that i think about when interacting with clients: rates, making it about them, speed of response, and yet finding someone who got what I needed AND responded AND charged a sane rate seemed like the Red Sea parting. I was delighted when I actually got in touch with a photographer who had an entire corporate branding page and took the time to look at my website. She was kind and flexible and her work is beautiful. She was not easy to find and I’m so thankful that I did!
For me, I wanted these pictures to help instill brand awareness, so clients really know what it’s like to work with me. This meant:
- letting my personality come through
- choosing colors like pink and avoiding other colors
- including my kids and my dogs
- showing details of my home and office life
This is all a part of what I have built my brand on…
Chance for Clients to Get to Know You
For these headshots, I put together three looks: formal, fun, and business casual. As I work in different genres of voice over, and deal with people with differing job titles, different looks work for different people. A head shot that is ideal for radio imaging is very different than one that is ideal for corporate narration. But, I wanted my happy, upbeat, fun vibe to come through in all of these looks. I wanted my youthful, millennial personality to shine.
Face of Small Business
While I am a solopreneur, I do run my VO business like a business, and I had very specific thoughts about these photos and their usage. Having been in the voiceover industry for so many years, I knew just how I’d use these pictures and could already envision their placement as soon as I got the proofs.
Opportunity for Social media
I also wanted to have much better images for instagram posts. This was really important to me. I was really excited to see what Erica came back with, because I immediately felt inspired and had tons of ideas. From posts about social media, to life as a working mom, to booth life, these headshots will be in the mix!
How often should you update them?
Basically, you should look like your pictures. Your hair should be relatively similar and no one should have to guess who it is. Likely every 5-7 years will make sense. It it’s more than that you have to question if you are doing yourself a dis-service. In this world where we zoom so often, people expect you to look like your photo. Using an old, out of date, or air brushed photo is almost worse than not having a picture because it undermines the foundation of your brand: you. So keep your headshots up-to-date, and have fun with them!