Today I received a call from a potential client looking to get a new headshot made for her real estate business. As we delve get into the conversation, we’re talking about a specific look she would like in her new photograph, and the approach that I would take to achieve that goal for her.

After explaining the details she had asked for, I then proceeded to give her the price (one seventy five for her specific request) for my services, and she immediately said, “oh my god that’s so expensive”. So I asked her what she was expecting to spend on a really good quality headshot like the one she described to me, and she said, “fifty bucks”.

Not being surprised by what her perception of what really good headshot photography costs today, I proceeded to tell her that I didn’t know a single professional photographer with the knowledge, experience, and the expertise necessary to create that type of headshot for her at that fifty dollar price point, let alone twice that much. Like many business persons, she had no concept of what really good photography costs are and what the value actually is.

At this point I decided to give her a short lesson on what to look for when shopping for a headshot photographer (I explain these details in some of my other postings here in my blog if you are curious). I gave her this knowledge freely without any obligation whatsoever because I knew she would be calling around to try and find someone for fifty dollars, and quite frankly, I knew she would fail.

Before hanging up, I explained what the added value of the business headshots I create are, and how to make that headshot work over the next 2 to 3 years or beyond.

She now understands what it takes for a real professional photographer, not a friend who has a camera at home in their closet, to take a great professional headshot that will garner the intention necessary to help that individual brand themselves, and connect, or as I like to say, “CLICK” with every person who sees it.


Whether you are in Real Estate sales selling homes for hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, or any other business that requires you to sell, don’t you think you should make this investment in yourself about quality and not price? A great quality headshot is priceless and one of the most important things you could do for yourself and your business.

*Footnote: I received a call-back from this same person within an hour to schedule her session.  Business Headshot sessions from $125.00.

“Choose wisely you must, young padawan” – Yoda (Star Wars)  


Joe can be reached @ (904) 425-5135






You may be asking yourself, “Why is having a headshot so important?”

The answer is: the internet.

Lets face it, almost everything we do in our daily lives is now done online. Social media has shrunk the 24,000 plus miles around the globe to the size of your mobile devise, laptop, or desktop computer. Whether you want to make a purchase, search for a new job, make dinner reservations, or just find out what’s going on in the other side of the blue planet, we’ve become a society that relies heavily on the internet.

That means that the success of your business is dependent upon today’s fast-paced world of online marketing. Whether you are a real estate agent, financial advisor, mortgage broker, doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur, human resources manager, or even a personal trainer, potential clients will first find you through the internet. More importantly, your face becomes the face of your company. You virtually are the product you sell or the service you provide. People will identify you, and not necessarily the company you work for. It’s more important that potential clients see YOU more than even your logo.

So, whether you like it or not, and whether you work for a fortune 500 company, or run your own small business, to your customer, YOU ARE THE BRAND and your headshot says a lot about you and your that brand.

The question is – how will you be perceived in a social media instant?

Some individuals out there think they can get away with using a simple selfie taken with their cell phone or computer camera and that it will be sufficient to accomplish the task. Some of you may even remember doing this for a friend or coworker. They thought:

“I’ll just pop it onto my LinkedIn page and it will be fine.”

Or, “Nobody will care about what my picture looks like.”

Or even, “I don’t need a photo at all.”

Not so.

What you do not realize is that your headshot photo tells a much bigger story. That image is the largest part of your digital footprint on the internet. Just Google your name, what pops up? I would bet there is at least one photo of you there, if not a portfolio full. And I would also bet that you are not being represented by a really good professional image.

Here’s how it works: your visual image sends a strong message, sometimes stronger than what’s in your bio. It’s a first impression, and we all know how important it is to make a good first impression. It’s our face that communicates to others if we are approachable, trustworthy, professional, confident, scary, or just out there for a good time. If you are serious about who you are and what you do in your business life, then a great headshot is necessary. It shows you care enough to put your best foot forward and that you deserve your client’s business. It is without a doubt, your most powerful tool in your business arsenal.

If you do not have a current an up-to-date, professional headshot that is communicating the right message, it could be hurting your business. Think about it – there are over 7.5 billion people in the world, and a large majority of them are searching for your product or service via the internet. That’s a lot of potential first impressions, don’t you think?

Putting a face to your name makes potential clients in need feel secure and confident in what you have to offer. Your headshot, if done right, makes that first impression for you. Your image forms an instant connection with each person who sees it. After all, people want to do business with people they connect with and with the internet being such a key component in today’s world of marketing, you can have the ability to reach billions of potential clients. Why would you risk not making thousands, maybe even millions or billions of possible business boosting connections by using an inferior headshot?

In summary, your headshot puts your face to your business. It’s your unique visual signature. Whatever face you are putting out there for the entire world to see, it better be the best of the best. It’s a small price to pay, regardless of the cost. Don’t make the mistake of going cheap on a headshot. Make the necessary investment and get the best professional headshot that you can by an experienced photographer who specializes in great headshots.


Joe has created thousands of great business headshots, actors headshots, and commercial photographs for his clients for more than 25 years. Learn more and see more of his work here: JOSEPHANZALONE.COM

Interested in a new business headshot?  Mention you read this article and ask about my $20.00 OFF limited time offer.  Expires soon, so don’t wait!


Coffee and Headshots

So what do coffee and headshots have in common? Nothing. But there is a point to this.


I am often told by the window shoppers and tire kickers out there that after looking at the quality of my work, they surmise that I may be too expensive for their budget, so they opt to pass on communicating with me and in most cases, they opt to shop the price point over the quality of the work. Bad decision.

When given the opportunity to actually speak to one of these tire kickers (because today in this text generation world having a verbal conversation is almost unheard of), I explain the actual process of what it takes to create a fabulous image for them, and that this fabulous image is a HUGE part of their brand.

Ahhh, the brand, I digress. I can’t tell you how many individuals in business overlook this point. People, IT IS ONE OF THE, OR THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT YOU; YOUR IMAGE!

It could be the sole reason for someone reaching out to you, and you making a GREAT CONNECTION.

Getting back to my topic, when I’m given this opportunity to “communicate” some of these very important points to my potential new client, a light goes off and there becomes a new understanding for why a high quality headshot image is almost priceless.

Now, here’s where the coffee comes back into the conversation.

Those who know me, know that I’m kind of an espresso junkie. Needless to say, after my morning brew at home, I typically stop at my favorite coffee shop to have a barista fix me a to-go dark brown elixir that carries me thought the morning until lunch. So for arguments sake, lets say this cup of go-go juice costs two bucks. If I buy only one cup a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, I just spent a cool five hundred bucks ($500.00). I totally enjoy drinking every ounce, but a few hours later, well I don’t think a need to draw a picture here, I think you know where this point is going (down the drain).

In comparison, using the same annual scenario as above, lets say you spend two hundred dollars ($200.00) on your headshot. That breaks down to eighty cents ($0.80) per day! But there’s more, that headshot you just spent two hundred dollars on having created of yourself, has a potential shelf life of two to three years! If my math is correct, over three years the annualized cost of your headshot is ONLY TWENTY SEVEN CENTS PER DAY ($0.27).

For twenty seven cents a day, using social media or any other form of marketing, you have the ability to put a fantastic image of yourself (YOUR BRAND) out there on the street working hard to help connect you to a potential big score!

Why are you shopping price over quality for one of the most important things you could do to advance your career or business?

My final point, twenty seven cents a day for a great headshot is money very well spent.

(Mention you read this article and ask about my $20.00 OFF offer).


Joe has created thousands of great business headshots, actors headshots, and commercial photographs for his clients for more than 25 years. Learn more and see more of his work here:

Organic Photos vs Stock Photos; Which ones are on your website?

When someone lands on your website are they seeing fake stock photos imitating your real life business or are you using original organic photographs that allow people to connect to you, your products, and your services?

Photographs should add a level of value to your website. Choosing to use stock photos could make your site look good, but in the long run might not be in your best interest.

Using original organic photos will help give people a better sense of what you do and help to make a connection to your products and services. Below are just a few reasons why your website should include real photos.

  1. Recent studies are showing that organic photos are better for engagement and traction of your visitors. Some of these same studies show that using real photos gives more relevance to you and your business, thus improving website conversations and conversions. It’s also been found that people are ignoring stock photography, they want to see the real deal.
  2. Duplication. Your competition could possibly be using the same images as you. If you have employees, show them, not fake employees from stock images. Again, the organic factor will pay dividends. What you don’t want to happen is that someone looking for your product or service ends up on a competitors website only to find your “fake” employees or facilities. When you are original, there is no dispute.
  3. Great photographs draw attention. This is extremely important and maybe the key to your conversions. Whether it’s your facility, employees, executives, or products, each one of these images is part of your brand and your marketing success. Make sure you are using the best of the best.
  4. Organic photos are great to tell your story. Stock photography is great, it’s cost effective, the images are good quality, they make your pages look pretty, but are they telling your customer who and what you are? Most likely the answer is NO.
  5. It’s not expensive, it’s priceless. Yes, hiring a professional photographer will be more expensive, but if you are not engaging your audience because you are not using photographs of the real thing, how much business are your losing to your competition who is?


Joe has created thousands of great business headshots, actor and modeling headshots, and commercial photographs for his clients for more than 25 years.  Learn more and see more of Joe’s work here:

21 Reasons To Suspect Your Headshot Is a Failure

Bad Headshot Example

NOT a good headshot!! Don’t Do This!!!

I would say more than fifty percent of the business individuals that I photograph say that they HATE how they look in pictures. Well if you’re like anyone in that group, welcome to the club. Don’t abandon ship just yet, there’s still hope for you because just about ANYONE can look impressive in the tiny image frame that is the LinkedIn or Facebook profile image.

Personally speaking, if you don’t have a photo of yourself on any social media page and request to connect with me, I won’t connect to you, even if I know you. One of just several reasons I won’t is, “If I don’t know who you are or what you look like, why would I want to connect to you?” Come on, you know who you are, stop hiding out there! You’re in the business world, people need to see who you are.

With the amount of headshots I create every year, I hear some interesting stories, and get to see to some “excellent failures”, many that I’m asked to fix.

These are just some examples of what I encounter as I check to see what my new client is currently using on their websites and social media pages and asking me to fix before my sessions with them start (and please pardon the sarcasm here, I’m just trying to make a point):

“What do you mean, I LOVE this photo of me.”

You may absolutely love it, even though your head is pushing up into someone else’s, and their ear, left eye and nostril covers about one quarter of the image space of which everyone on the planet can still see because you can’t crop a photo the right way and yet you’re soliciting me to hire you for your marketing or business services. Let me think about that one.”

The “Faceless” was here.

Ahh yes, the Alfred E. Neuman style stencil portrait. (Perfect!)


YES, I just love the way your nose looks 5 times larger than normal with your outstretched arm moving into my visual space. (Please, please don’t do it. Some of the absolute worst headshots are selfies. What does your iPhone or Android know about capturing you at your best? Absolutely nothing! I know they’re smart, but can they tell you turn a little more this way or smile differently?)

The “JC PENNY / SEARS Classic headshot portrait” circa painted background.

(You know, the one from your [plug in your year] yearbook.)

Ridiculous and strange looking background images.

(We’re all familiar with photobombing right? Why didn’t you get rid of that guy giving the photographer the finger, because you thought it looks cool?)

I LOVE black and white too.

However, if your B&W headshot was taken before the invention of color film, let alone a digital camera, well need I say anymore here. B&W needs to POP! if you’re to be taken seriously.

Several Classic Facebook and LinkedIn Popular Headshot Styles:

A.)”I just did two, three, four, who remembers how many beerbongs, who’s next!” (Good morning sunshine, this is LinkedIn! As awesome as it may be that you could chug that much brew, you are definitely succeeding in looking like a cast member of the movie “Jackass” on what we all know is a business networking platform.)

B.) “Isn’t my kitty pretty?” Hang on a second, I thought I was on your page to learn about your business accomplishments not your fur family. (I like cats and dogs too, so don’t think I’m not an animal lover here.)

C.) “No, I really don’t want to see what you had for dinner last night.” (Food and drinks as profile images, are you kidding me?)

D.) “Huggy, kissy face with my honey!” (Really, who really cares? Business people aren’t interested in your first date since your last break-up, or your umpteenth anniversary. They’re looking for a professional to do business with here!)

“I never smile, I’m a Tough Guy.”

If you’re going to promote yourself as a bodyguard or bouncer, go for it. But if you’re in sales, how many people are looking to do business with a TOUGH GUY.

The, I’m really an alcoholic smile.

Very nice first impression of you. Yes, I want to hire you immediately. (Snicker, Snicker)

“And the Oscar goes to.”

Sure you look like Brad Pitt, in your dreams buddy! (Why do people actually do this?)

The Full-bod day-off action shot.

(So that postage stamp size image of you posing on the beach in your favorite 2 piece with the sun rising behind you and waves crashing into your legs while you are in half silhouette mode. Who even knows it’s you?)


(Is that a soft focus filter effect you’re using, dirt on the lens, or is my vision just going bad?) A crisp clean looking image is a must.

Really, really bad lighting.

(Is that you lurking in all those dark shadows, George, George is it you?)

If the glove doesn’t fit.

You’re sitting there in a solid pink faded polo shirt and your gut hanging severely over your too tight pants belt. (Would it maybe be safe to say that you are possibly a “photo copy repair tech, or a plumber”? [No disrespect here]. My point being, next time it’s best to choose a tighter close up of your face, I really don’t need to know your a candidate for a popular TV weight loss program.) Dress for success!

The “Hotshot” look.

“Check me out social media world! I’m important!! I’m centerstage with a microphone and podium in front of all of you peeps out there. Are you impressed yet?” (Are you a tool or what.)

The infamous group shot.

“This is me, you know, the one on the right side, I’m the VP, along with three other people nobody else but their mothers know all scrunched up into this teeny tiny photo. (“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe”.)

“Oh yeah, a working action shot!”

And you’re talking on an antique corded handset no less, with your hundred dollar gold plated pen in hand writing out that next big deal you just got a verbal commitment on. (Talk about canned, how tacky dude or dudette! We’re in a new millennium now, bring it up to date.)

And this one is in my BEST for LAST category.

That photo that says; “Just look at how strikingly beautiful I look in my over-the top-glamour shot!” (Now my finger is inserted in my mouth forcing that gaging sound which results in something that smells really bad coming from the bowles of the gut.) Hello people, that look along with the pancake make-up went out in the 80’s!!

Trust me when I say, I too am critical of how I look in photographs, mostly because of what I do, not vanity (although we all have a little bit of that in us now don’t we). I make sure to keep my profile shot up to date and looking as good as I can (especially after seeing myself in the mirror every morning and saying, ugh).

Like me, most you would rather have a dental root cleaning, or have your fingernails yanked out by someone torturing you sooner than sit or stand for a photo session.

Well I’m here it tell you that it doesn’t have to be that painful. All it takes is a quick Google search; the internet provides ALL the necessary tools to find the right photographer in just a few taps of your mobile devise or clicks of your mouse.

The best results come from localized searches within your marketplace. The search engines are pretty smart these days and know your location, so if you’re in Florida like me, you won’t be seeing results from Seattle, Wa., but it’s always good to add your city in your search terms. If I were looking for a headshot photographer, I would search for: “headshot photographers Jacksonville Fl” as my primary and then maybe variations such as “best headshot photographers Jacksonville Fl” or “great headshots in Jacksonville florida”, even other search terms.

Now keep in mind, you will get sites in your search results such as “Thumbtack” that pop up. A word of caution; sites like these promise to have the best of the best, but not all the best photographers are on these platforms, and Thumbtack will only allow the FIRST FIVE respondents to the party, so if the BEST photographer you’re looking for is a busy one like me, they may not see that request until the end of the day, and most times that’s too late to respond because five others (possibly less qualified and experienced) beat that person to the response button. Ultimately and unfortunately through sites like these, you may never get the right photographer to meet your challenge.

Oh, don’t let me forget to mention that the photographers are paying a fee to respond to you for your attention. Again I say “trust me”, a really good, maybe GREAT headshot photographer that does a lot of work and is always busy is not going to be one of those individuals responding to a persons request they can’t even have the opportunity to speak or other wise communicate with from a website such as this unless they bid for the chance.

SO, what does that mean to you? Well it means that you may be getting contacted ONLY by photographers that are not necessarily busy ones, with less expertise in headshot photography, or for a variety of other reasons. Which takes me to the next important part of the selection process. ASK for referrals, or see if they have a “review page” like the one Google provides. The Google review page is authentic, when a review is left, Google identifies the person leaving the review, so it’s a relatively trusted resource (note: Google does not endorse any of the comments someone might leave on this page).

After reading reviews or talking with referrals from search, if the photographer makes you feel comfortable with the inquiry, chances are, if you hire them, you will come away with a new headshot of yourself that you will not only be pleased with, but one that will last for years to come.

Please keep this very IMPORTANT FACT in mind- Personal branding is no longer just for CEOs and entrepreneurs. Each and every one of you, regardless what your profession is, should look your best online, especially on LinkedIn. Your headshot is a huge part of your personal brand!

So, if your profile headshot needs a refresh (and my guess is at least 9 out of 10 of you reading this need to get that refresh), get to your favorite search engine and find a good quality headshot photographer in your market. If you’re having a problem finding someone in your region, let me know, I could possibly recommend someone I may even know that works where you are.

If you have any questions, or would like a FREE copy of my white paper “Tips To A Great Business Headshot”, just email me with your request here:

I would be happy to send you a copy and promise you will not be solicited, it’s totally without strings. Hopefully it will help you prepare for your next GREAT BUSINESS HEADSHOT!


Joe has created thousands of great business headshots, actors headshots, and commercial photographs for his clients for more than 25 years. Learn more and see more of his work here:



When you think of branding, you might think of the basics:
a fantastic logo, a clever tagline, a carefully chosen color palette. But in reality, branding goes way beyond your marketing “stuff”.


It’s the emotional connection you create with your clients.

In case you didn’t know it, YOU are your brand.

Here’s an explanation of what a brand is given by Seth Godin;
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service or over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

The only thing missing in that explanation is “or CHOOSE A PERSON”, and that person is YOU!


There’s a reason logos can cost on the order of up to $211,000,000 (that’s right, $211 million) or more. It matters. A LOT. So I’ll repeat again; YOUR HEADSHOT is your “personal” logo for your brand.


If you’re that person who uses a five to twenty or more year old photo of yourself thinking you actually still look like that today, that ship has sailed and you have completely exhausted this pictures shelf life. If that’s you, what do you do when you meet your potential client that thinks they are meeting the person in that photo and you show up looking different? Bait and switch??

If you’re not comfortable with what you look like today but are holding on to the “old” 90’s or early millennial version of you, do you think this will instill confidence from this person?

FACT 1: Every Facebook and social media page requires (well asks for) a photo.

It is vitally important to both your professional and personal life to portray yourself as you are today, not how you were. That being said, YOU need to look your best!

(ON A PERSONAL PERSONAL NOTE: I don’t connect with PEOPLE on social media that do not have a picture of themselves on their social media page. I need to know who you are or I won’t connect. Why are you hiding?)

FACT 2: In order to be associated with something, or a look, it usually takes having done or seen numerous times, and over a lengthy period of time, usually six to twelve months.

FACT 3: The more people see your headshot, the more familiar they become with you. The headshot photo you have posted will determine within 3 seconds whether that person seeing you will want to be associated with you.


Let’s be honest. Most headshots on the web are not flattering. And I’m not talking about your “attractiveness”. I’m talking about the quality of the photo. Attractive people can look terrible in photos and vice versa.

For example, I randomly find people using unflattering selfies, images of themselves from parties, snapshots with significant other or friends, their cat or dog, even their favorite foods. These are just a few classic examples of poor photos to use when trying to brand yourself. Sadly, there are a huge number of business people using something like these examples on their business social media pages. Seriously.


The importance of a great business headshot is that it is essentially one of the most valuable tools that you can use to build trust in YOU as an individual.

People connect with people. People hire people. Make sure you ALWAYS put your best image out there!

So Why DO YOU NEED a GREAT Headshot?

1. It shows dedication and commitment.
2. It makes you memorable.
3. It gives clients all the right feels about you.
4. It’s un-copy-able, period.
5. It permeates WHO YOU ARE.

A competitor can stalk everything you do, but they can’t recreate you because they’re not you. If your brand, more specifically your headshot is strong, people will remember you and identify you in ANY form of social media, on any website, or publication!

Your brand is more than just about the company logo — it’s the way clients perceive you, your business, and the likelihood they’ll think of you FIRST when it’s time to make a decision.



No matter what your position is in your company, you are either representing yourself, or the company/organization you work for. The images of your products, your company logo, and all the collateral marketing materials, are helping to brand your business.

But what about you? Is your current headshot representing you correctly? If not, do you think you are branding yourself properly?


If you do business, you should update your headshot regularly. If you get a new hair style, hair color, loose weight (gain weight), dental work, new wardrobe, almost anything that changes your appearance, you need to re-tool and get a new headshot. Even if these changes don’t apply to you, every two years is about the shelf life of that headshot.

If you’re an actor, you need to do this every six to twelve months religiously.

This small regular INVESTMENT in YOU will without a doubt pay dividends!


If you’re a Banker, Realtor, Financial Advisor, Accountant, Attorney, Car Salesman, or are someone in a service related business, etc., people are typically going to be spending with YOU or trusting YOU with thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of their hard earned dollars; do you really think your selfie, cell phone picture, or party photo bomb is going to convince them you are serious about what you do??

Joe has been creating great headshots for more than 25 years. Read more about him and see more of his work here:


Within the first 3 seconds of seeing you, people will make a judgment about you.

These days, with so much business conducted online, prospects, clients and potential partners are likely to “Google” you to see your online presence before they ever meet you in person! Google has become the new resume, because even if you do meet someone in person, chances are they will search for you online to learn EVERYTHING about YOU!

The more you are out in front and interacting with the customer, the more you are judged in human terms—that’s when trust and loyalty are built. A great headshot “immediately warms up any situation and puts down the roots of a trusting relationship. ONE great headshot photo equals INFINITE opportunities to make a positive impression – and promote your personal brand.

If everything was equal between you and your competitor, nine times out of ten people will choose the supplier with the best professional image. The world is a competitive place and you don’t want to be left behind. Do yourself a huge favor, invest the time, money & effort into updating your headshot regularly. When people see how much you invest in yourself, your business and your professional image, they will feel confident about hiring you. It is really a very small investment to make that will with huge potential for ROI, return of your investment.

In November 2015, these were the top 7 Most Popular Social Networking Sites as derived from eBizMBA Rank which is a continually updated average of each website’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.


At a minimum, these social media sites as well as your company website is where your headshot image should appear.

If you are using a 10 to 20 year old photo of yourself (sometimes 5 or more years as well) thinking you actually still look like that today, you are only fooling yourself.

When you meet your potential client that thinks they are meeting the person in that photo and they say, “that picture of you, how old is that or that’s not you in your profile photo,”, what will your response be?

If you’re not confident in how you look in your headshot, do you think this will instill confidence from a client?

Your online image is as important as your in-person image, what you need to create is an authentic, compelling and ATTRACTIVE representation of who you are that translates well to the digital world. A good rue of thumb is to have your headshot updated every two years, or if you have made changes in how you look now (ie: hairstyle, weight loss or gain, etc.).

No Selfies or cropped images from a party or event.
Don’t cut your hair 48 hours prior to your shoot.
Choose solid colors over prints.
Easy on the alcohol the night before, it tends to bring out a lot of red in the skin.
Make sure the photographer knows how to make you look “natural” in your image.
Don’t over-retouch your face, just enhance what’s there.

For more tips check this tip sheet out here:

Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, have an EXPERIENCED professional headshot photographer that can create a great headshot that reflects who you are, photograph you. It’s worth every dollar and more that you will spend to have that new image made.


FOOTNOTE: Joe has been creating great business headshots and commercial photographs for his clients for more than 25 years. Check his website here: