You oughta be in pictures.

Published: March 3, 2013

It’s easy to think of professional headshots as something that only actors, models, and musicians need. Given that the only time most people really need a photograph of themselves is at the license bureau, it’s not surprising that massage schools don’t mention the importance of a professional photograph to their students. While it’s certainly possible to have a satisfying career in massage therapy without a professionally-taken headshot, why would you pass up such a useful tool that only takes a few minutes and hardly any effort to acquire?

Here’s what makes a professional photograph such a great marketing tool:

Real people trust real people.
Have you ever asked someone to look you right and the eyes and tell you something, to determine whether they were telling you the truth? We instinctively trust people whose faces we can see more than those whose looks are a mystery. Putting a photograph of yourself on your website and other marketing materials lets people know they’re dealing with a real, live (and not in the least bit intimidating) human being.

Keep your image consistent.
If you’re using a professional photo from five years ago on your postcards, and that snapshot from your last trip to Niagra Falls on your website, and a photo you took of your own hand after you first got a digital camera in place of your face on your Facebook page, how will anyone remember which one is you?

A professional headshot will look good enough to be appropriate to use on all of your materials, so that you can use one consistent image. You wouldn’t change your logo from one platform to the next, so why change your face?

Professionally taken images look … professional.
How silly that we judge people by appearances. And yet, if your massage room is messy, we’ll assume that you don’t know what you’re doing, even if you give a great massage. The same goes for the images you use to promote your business. If your headshot was clearly taken by your 11-year-old niece for her sixth grade photo essay, people will get the idea that you’re an amateur in other areas of your practice as well.

Go ahead and do a Google image search for “massage therapist headshot,” and you’ll be able to see immediately who had theirs done professionally, and who’s stuck with bad lighting and an awful background. Which look like they know what they’re doing?

Professional photographers know about branding.
If you’re trying to look upscale, or athletic, or natural, or no-nonsense … a professional photographer knows how to make that happen. It’s their job to know this sort of stuff. It’s amazing what difference a slight change in hair, facial expression, or posture can do to make a photograph reinforce the professional image you’re trying to show the world.

Professional photographers know how to make you look your best.
Your photo-snapping uncle might not know how to deal with the glare off your glasses or the zit on your chin, but this is as simple to a professional photographer as finding that crunch spot right next to the scapula is to you.

Tips for a fabulous headshot:

  • Wear solid colors rather than pattern.
  • Avoid clothes with logos; you want to advertise your practice, not Nike.
  • Watch your cleavage. This isn’t a boudoir shot.
  • Keep hair and makeup as simple as possible.
  • It’s not a passport photo; don’t be afraid to smile!

On a budget? Looking to get a headshot for a reasonable price?

Interested in supporting the Massage Therapy Foundation while you’re at it?

You’re a massage therapist, so those are all rhetorical questions. Come to the AMTA Massachusetts Chapter Annual Meeting, and there will be a photographer there taking professional headshots for only $10, 50% of which will go to the Dianne Polseno Scholarship Award Fund.

We can’t wait to see your face there!