When Should I Update My Business Headshot?

As a business professional, having an up-to-date headshot is a necessity. As we’ve discussed before, there are valid reasons to make sure that your business headshot reflects the image you wish to portray.

Most image experts recommend having your headshot updated every 2 years, or whenever you have a life change that alters the way you look (weight loss/gain, corrective eye surgery, etc.).

But what about when you switch employers? Should you update your headshot, or is it acceptable to use the same one again? Here are my thoughts:

The Pros:

Keeping Your Existing Business Headshot When Switching Jobs

  • Cost effective
  • Image may be current
  • Saves time

Your employer may have paid for the headshot and have arranged for full rights for the photos, therefore, given you permission to use your current headshot – then repurposing this photos is cost effective for you.

If your headshot was taken recently, it can seem unnecessary to update it simply because you’ve changed employers. Your look hasn’t changed, so why should your picture?

You’ve got a digital file of your old headshot saved on the computer that can be used instantly. Save yourself (and your new employer) from having to use “Image Coming Soon”  icon in your new company directory with a few quick clicks.

I understand that those feel like valid reasons for reusing your headshot when switching employers, but are there reasons why you shouldn’t reuse it?

The Cons:

Keeping Your Existing Business Headshot When Switching Jobs

  • It was used in the previous company’s marketing material
  • Reflects the corporate message of previous company
  • It is 3+ years old

One of the most compelling reasons to avoid reusing a headshot is if the shot was used for a company’s promotional materials. If your headshot was featured on the company’s “About Us” page, posted on staff bulletin boards, or otherwise used to promote your employment with the company, it should not be reused. That image associates you with the organization, and while your employment with them may have ended, you will remain as part of the company’s history.

Many companies have specific guideline for their headshots, creating a unified and consistent message for their brand. Lighting, wardrobe, positioning of the shot are all done according to the overall image that the company wishes to portray, and help to identify the company (and its employees). Using a headshot from a previous employer will reflect their brand and may conflict with the branding of your new employer.

Standard business practice is to update your headshot every few years (ideally every 2) to keep your image looking fresh and current. Even if your looks haven’t changed much, fashion trends such as clothing styles and hairstyles do, so an outdated image stands out quickly. Use the change in your employment as an opportunity to freshen up your personal branding.

Landed that dream job? Made partner? Started your own business? Contact the professionals at The Donna Santos Studio to schedule your new business headshot shoot today.