Headshot Tips: Why do we put our pictures online?


Why in the world do we even have photos of ourselves on our websites and social media feeds? What’s up with that?

Don’t you just hate it when you’re stalking someone online and they don’t have a profile pic, that drives me batty.

If you’re on LinkedIn though, you probably have a headshot on your profile. And, while I’m gonna give you a bunch of great headshot and personal branding tips in other videos, I wanna take a look at why, why in the world is there even such a thing as headshots in the first place? Way back when, say about 20 years ago, before LinkedIn, nobody had headshots, except actors and real estate agents. Actors gave out eight by tens and real estate agents handed out business cards. But the rest of us, not so much.

Back then, only if you wrote a book or wanted to put your smiling mug on a billboard, would you get a photograph taken. But now, it’s a little different, way different. Many business professionals have already added a great headshot to their LinkedIn profile, which is good, but why do we do it? Those actors and real estate agents were looking for work. Are we doing the same thing? Well, yes and no. Ultimately, we’re probably looking for work in some form, but the road to getting paid is different these days.

Matthew Lieberman, a professor at UCLA has done research on the topic, and found that us humans are hardwired to connect with other people. He says that evolution has treated social connection like a necessity, not a luxury. Our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic than our need for food or shelter. So, as we bop around online, we have this real need to connect. At no time in the history of business has anyone said, we like to do business with logos or words that we know, like, and trust. It’s the people, of course. It’s almost always the people.

Still, why headshots? I mean, we’re probably going to meet the person in real life, right? Well, oftentimes not. These days, we all have lots of contacts that exist solely online, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. So, we use that headshot and other pics online to give us some idea of what this online acquaintance is like. Are they friendly? Are they professional? Are they easy to work with? What we’re really trying to do is figure out whether, and to what extent we want to connect. It’s really that simple and complicated.

Because humans are hardwired to connect, and are visually oriented by nature, when we land on that profile or about page, the very first thing we do is look at the picture of the human on the page. We really can’t help it because we have a human-centric approach when interacting with our environment.

So there’s a justifiable reason rooted in our own evolutionary biology, why we need to have those profile pics and other photos of ourselves on our websites and our social media feeds, and it’s because other people need to see them. They’re hardwired to actually want to see photos of us.

So don’t disappoint those connections or potential clients. Make sure you have great photos of yourself on your social media feeds and also on your website, so they can see just how amazing you are. You are amazing, aren’t you?

I really hope these insights help you connect better online. See you next time.

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