Since the advent of social media profiles, especially LinkedIn, the importance of professional headshots has led to an exponential growth in headshot photography. Especially in the USA, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Google trends over the past five years for headshots. In Australia, there’s more interest in Brisbane than other Australian states for the term headshots.

The popular use of the word headshot started around the 1930’s. Back then these portraits were mainly “head and shoulders” pictures of actors. Prior to the 1930’s the word portrait referred to any type of photographic portrait. Some photographic studios described what we now call a headshot as a bust. Earlier than 1930 if you mentioned taking a headshot, you’d probably be referring to having shot a wild animal. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century the term headshot slowly infiltrated more and more genres of portrait photography, from school photography to professional headshots for business.

Headshot photography has come into it’s own during the last ten years. Professional photographers noticed a rapid increase in the take up of professional headshots for individual branding, especially with the growth of Linkedin. Two or three years before LinkedIn launched in 2003, most professional photographers had swapped film cameras for digital cameras, making it easy to create files for the new digital world. From there both stories have had a similar upward trajectory. In the 90’s demand for professional headshots was strong, yet it was mainly companies engaging professional photographers for business headshots. Once LinkedIn and other social sites kicked off, a good digital headshot became essential for anyone with an online profile.

With LinkedIn reaching 90 million members in 2010, Google Trends shows searches related to “headshots” becoming increasingly popular, especially in the last five years. Some examples are

  • Tinder Headshots (breakout)
  • linkedin headshots +1,350%
  • headshots meaning +300%
  • professional business headshots +300%

Portrait photography and headshots, over time searches relating to headshots are on the rise.

You have one chance to grab the attention of anyone searching your profile. Your headshot photo can work for you or completely against you if you get this wrong. Whether you are building out a new website, searching for a new job or a myriad of other reasons, a great professional business headshot can give you an edge over the competition. One advantage you’ll have is there are so many profiles where the person has used a selfie, there’s no headshot at all, or they’ve cut a small portion out of a wedding photo or holiday snap.

Some online profiles show pictures taken years ago, when clearly the headshot needs an update. In this case a professional photographer can create a flattering image even if you can’t convince yourself that it’s possible. Some photographers will offer a reduced fee for a headshot update each year, making this an easier alternative. Regular headshot updates can be a lot of fun, the key is finding the right photographer, then you’ll look forward to every new session.