I’m the kind of person who believes in knowing all the facts and figures before making a decision, especially when it comes to spending money. I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching what car to buy, but it paid off. I love my 4Runner, it’s never left me stranded on the side of the road, and it’s still running well after 14 years and more than 300,000 miles.
Of course, I really didn’t do all the research myself. I don’t know anything about torque, or valves or much else about cars. I do know where to find people who do. I relied on information from experts who did studies and tests, and recommendations from people who owned 4Runners.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to find that kind of information about your headshots? Your friends might not tell you the entire truth about your photos, and if they do, they might not know exactly what it is you need from your headshots. You can’t exactly ask a bunch of strangers on the street which photos you should use.
Or can you?
Now there is a website where you can get objective opinions about the photos you’re using online, and ratings on traits people consider when they look at online profiles. The people who run the site are collecting that information and doing research with an Ivy League university about what makes a good headshot. It’s called Photofeeler.com. The researchers behind it are Stephanie Ann Peterson and Ben Peterson, and they've partnered with Princeton. They’ve collected more than 60,000 ratings of 800 profile photos and the resulting study is pretty interesting.
They looked at things you and your photographer are easily able to control about how you appear, like the expression on your face, what you wear, where the photo is taken and how it’s framed and edited. They looked at how those things affect whether viewers perceive subjects to be competent, likable and influential.
Take a look at the infographic to see what factors go into creating a great headshot.
If you're curious about how your own photo would rate, you can do it for free at PhotoFeeler.com. You can either buy credits to have your photo rated, or you can earn them by giving your opinions on other users photos. The more votes you have, the more accurate the results. Users can also comment on what they think would make the picture better, or whether they think it's good as it is.
I submitted three photos I use on my website and on different social media platforms. For each photo, I listed what I use the photo for, my title and my specialty. I got a comment or two on each photo, and I have to say, I can't disagree with them. This isn't a full-blown photo critique, but it can be helpful if you're trying to decide how to use your current photos, or if you need to have new photos taken.