For Companies: Business is getting more personal again. People are pushing back against having to deal with faceless companies with electronic customer services. People want to deal with real people, and you need to look like the kind of people they want to build a relationship with.
Many companies are now choosing to publish headshots of all of their staff on their websites so people can get an idea of the kinds of people they will be working with.
This is great, but needs to be done in a very deliberate manner; the public will make assumptions about what kind of people you are based your photos, so you must make sure they represent your culture properly.
For Individuals: With the advent of social media each of us now has our own personal online brand. We need to be aware of how important this has become in our everyday lives, and manage it appropriately.
Your headshot is absolutely central to that brand. It is, therefore, one of the most important and useful photographs you will ever have. It's not a memory, it's not to hang on the wall or put in an album. It is designed to serve a purpose: to represent you to the world, to create that great first impression.
We can turn this into a huge advantage; a great headshot can smooth the way and work hard on your behalf. Whatever image you use, be deliberate. Remember that when you put a headshot online you are choosing to publish an image for the public to see. You are saying "This is how I want to be seen; this is how I think about myself", and people will judge you accordingly.
For Job Seekers: When you apply for a job, your prospective employer will more than likely search for you on LinkedIn to see what you look like. They may do this even before they've read your CV in detail. If your headshot puts them off, you are much less likely to be called in for an interview.
For company executives, sales people, small business owners and others with a client or public facing role: How you present yourself to the world is important; you are selling yourself every single day. How you present yourself to the world can be crucial. You can no longer hide behind the branding of your company - your face is now an extension of that branding.
For Everyone: The value of headshot photography is in the new job you got because you were called for an interview when you might not otherwise have been. It's in the relationships you managed to build with that new customer, helped by your LinkedIn profile which was easy to find and represented you as the competent professional you are. It's how your company culture is presented to the world in pictures which built trust with your customer base. A headshot can't make you a success by itself, but it can contribute and it can open some doors for you. If you land that new job that pays £10,000 at a year more than your old one, or closed that £100,000 deal with a new client with the help of your headshot, you may start to see your headshot as once of the best investments you can make for yourself or your company.