The importance of a professional online image

Oliver Doran, Managing Director and Photographer at, offers his thoughts on why the significance of a professional portrait picture has never been greater…

First impressions are critical in the digital age; consumer and recruitment choices can be made in seconds based on your image

When I meet a client for a consultation, we talk about personality images and the various destination(s) of the final images – what emotion do you want to convey, and where is it going to be placed? Every profession is different, but on a basic level, ‘professional looking’ is a must. A creative person might want to project a more ‘fun and energetic’ image, whereas a business owner may want something more ‘confident and approachable’ – the simple fact remains that a professional photographer will be able to achieve whatever you like while maintaining a corporate edge. When taking company headshots for a team, the art is to reflect individual personality combined with a sense of consistency and brand identity for all staff members. Consistency is key.

Investing in professional imaging counts. First impressions are critical in the digital age; consumer and recruitment choices can be made in seconds based on your image – be it from Linkedin, the company website, company documentation or other social media. So you must question whether a photo from your personal social media accounts (eg. Facebook) is appropriate when putting together a professional online profile, even if it appears suitable to you.

If you care about your own brand appearance, the logical conclusion is you must care about what you do for a living. Both consumers and employers want to put a face to a name and are very likely to make decisions accordingly, as it’s the first step to building a new relationship. Headshots humanise a pitch and initiate a human connection, and the right image is the starting point for the reader to ‘carry on reading’. After all, in a market place, people buy from people, sell to people and employ people.

From a technical point of view there are two types of portraits – the straight headshot and environmental portrait. Environmental portraits include your work environment within the photo, and the headshot is purely head and shoulders photographed in a studio environment with a simple white, or grey background. Both have their advantages. The choice of different lighting techniques and posing are massively important in reflecting different messages and making flattering, professional photos.

The photography you use is synonymous to your individual image as well as your company’s image, and is a marketing investment that will represent your level of professionalism. A brand needs a well-designed logo, and the human face of a company also needs the same image strength. A serious company would never consider delegating the logo design to anyone other than a graphic artist, and in my opinion, it’s less detrimental to have no photo than a poorly taken one.

Don’t let your first impression be your last!


Oliver Doran is Managing Director and Photographer at Follow him on Twitter @Photosol or visit

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