Who doesn’t love a good selfie! They are fun and easy and a great way to document memories. They also make great profile pictures on social media, but can they work as headshots?

According to the Cognition and Emotion Journal, you make your decision to trust someone within 100 milliseconds of first seeing their face. That’s not much time to make a good first impression! A good headshot therefore, can go a long way toward showcasing your credibility and professionalism as well as your personality.

Professional photographer, and owner of Pure Natural Portraits, Stephanie de Montigny says, “In today’s world, people research businesses online before they become a client and can unfairly judge your abilities based on your portrait. An outdated or unprofessional business portrait can disqualify you from getting business you deserve.”

Stephanie recommends going with a professional for business headshots whenever feasible. “The short answer is that a professional portrait is always better for your business. On your personal profile? Go for it; it’s for your friends and family. On your business page or professional networking profile? Stick to the business portrait from the professional photographer.”

Professional headshots may be the best way to go but they can be expensive, especially if you’re just starting out. If you can’t afford an accredited photographer, Stephanie suggests finding a college graduate looking to build their portfolio. “You’re going to be upgrading your portrait next year anyway (rule of thumb is to change your portrait if you change your appearance, or every 1-2 years) and you can save up for your preferred choice of a professional with years of experience with flattering lighting, posing, composition and angles, and the skill to efficiently direct their subject,” she says.

If this still sounds intimidating and you want to go with a selfie for your headshot, consider these tips:

  • Look professional. Make sure your clothes are wrinkle free and stick to solid colours.
  • Try to have a static background. You want your face to be the focus of the shot.
  • Make sure the lighting is right. If you’re outside make sure the sun is on your face (but not blinding you), not behind your head to stop any shadows. If inside, try to be in front of a window or light. Experiment with a few different settings to get the perfect light.
  • Be happy! You are not taking a government issued photo where you can’t crack a smile. Build trust with a friendly smile.
  • Once you get a good headshot be consistent and use it everywhere!

For more tips on business portraits watch Stephanie’s series on Instagram.