How often should I update my headshot?
It really depends on the individual, and your work. Several sources online state you need to update every 1-2 years. These sources happen to be headshot photographers, who would love your repeat business sooner rather than later! And then others copy the same idea, and now it’s so widely parroted it’s widely accepted without any reasoning behind the timeframe.
In reality there are many factors that push you towards updating your headshot. We’re talking about the head & shoulders shot. Remember your headshot is your first impression, the who you are that grabs attention in a search result.
You need to change if you change your hairstyle, glasses, or anything major about your appearance. It also depends on your industry and work. If you’re an office worker for a business, a good head and shoulders headshot can last for 3-4 years. If you’re in marketing & sales, maybe you should aim for 2-3 years at most. More active professionals update yearly to keep their brand fresh and dynamic.
It also depends if your clients hire you for you. Eg if you’re a restaurant owner, your customers don’t care if your headshot is updated – you’re not even the one cooking their meals. If you’re an accountant, then your clients deal with you directly and your headshot should match who you are right now – or there will be trust implications.
Most of our clients have a number of headshots and profile photographs from a session already, and are using different ones depending on context. You have a serious one for LinkedIn, and a more friendly one for your own website. You may be on different directories, as a service provider on one, and as a mentor/leader on another. They would use different expressions, and maybe different backgrounds.
You may have a few looks for each target audience, that are consistent in style but slightly different. Then every few months you would just swap in another headshot, to keeps things looking fresh.
Personal branding photographs, however, are half and full body length portraits. They also paint a picture of your work style and direction. Apart from your expression, your posture and hands send a distinct message which can be very versatile. Whenever your direction changes, it is important to update your branding photographs to maintain a consistent message shown to your clients.