Why Job Seekers Over 50 MUST Have a Professional Headshot

Why Job Seekers Over 50 MUST Have a Professional Headshot

When you’re over age 50 and seeking a job, you’ll often encounter subtle—and not-so-subtle—age discrimination from potential employers. In fact, 65% of older workers say age is an obstacle to getting a job.

But why? Well, many employers fear that older workers will want a higher salary than younger employees or that they won’t stay in jobs where they make less than they’re used to. In addition, some employers think that older workers will be slow to adapt to new technologies and costly to train, even though studies have found that there’s no correlation between age and work performance.

If you’re on the job hunt, the best way to overcome these biases is to be prepared for them and do your best to combat judgments recruiters and potential employers may make about you based solely on your age.

You will be judged by how you look.

Your appearance matters.The way you look and present yourself can help you get your dream job. Or it can cause you to miss out on job opportunities.

But that’s not fair, you might be thinking, I should be judged on my skills and experience! You definitely should, but the fact is we all make snap judgments based on appearance every day, especially employers. A CareerBuilder survey found that appearances not only affect your ability to get hired but can also affect your chances of getting a promotion.

That’s why it’s so important to have a quality, professional headshot on hand during your job search. After all, 41% of recruiters say that seeing a photo of a candidate impacts their first impression, and you want to make sure you come across as the perfect candidate for the job!

You need to have an online presence.

One of the reasons employers are reluctant to hire older workers is that they fear they’re not comfortable with digital technology. A strong online presence can debunk this belief and prove that you’re capable of adapting and learning new skills.

In the last decade, most of the hiring process has moved online, which means you’ll need to be more active on social media, especially LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile without a photo is an immediate turnoff for recruiters and potential employers, as it suggests you have something to hide, so make sure you complete your profile with both a profile image and a cover photo.

You’ll also want to use your headshot anywhere you have a digital presence, from blog posts or articles you’ve guest-written on other people’s websites to your own professional website or portfolio. Even your email account will need an image, and a quality headshot is the perfect way to convey that you’re trustworthy and professional.

And you need to make a good first impression online.

You may have the best smile and firmest handshake, but these days a potential employer is most likely to first see you online. In fact, 96% of recruiters use social media to find candidates, and they often scan profiles quickly, usually less than 10 seconds. Of that brief time, 20% is used to evaluate photos.

Most employers expect younger workers to have an edge online, so having an impressive LinkedIn profile can put you ahead and cause recruiters to sit up and take notice. Make sure your profile photo is high-quality, instead of a casual photo taken by a family member or friend.

The right headshot should convey friendliness, approachability, professionalism, and confidence. That may seem like a lot to capture in just one image, but that’s where a professional photographer can help! They know how to pose you, how to create the best lighting, and how to edit your photos to create the perfect images for your job search.

You have to show that you know your stuff.

As an older job seeker, you have something younger workers just don’t have—a wealth of experience and knowledge. While you may not have as much digital experience, it’s important to include on your resume skills that are useful in any work environment, like communication and managerial experience.

Highlight your years of work experience on your LinkedIn profile so potential employees can clearly see that you know what you’re doing and would be a valuable addition to their team. And be creative! Think about the many things you’ve learned in your career and how those skills can translate to the positions for which you’re applying.

To complete your LinkedIn profile, choose a quality headshot that shows you looking professional, approachable, and trustworthy. Remember that, no matter how unfair it is, you will be judged on your appearance, and an impressive headshot can be that strong first impression you need to capture an employer’s interest.

So…what makes a good headshot?

A professional photographer can help you with posing, lighting, and even wardrobe, but here are a few tips to help you get the perfect photos for your career:

  • Make eye contact—Look toward the camera but focus beyond it to help create an impression of directness and approachability.
  • Smile—Research has shown that a smile helps create a more likeable impression.
  • Dress like you would for a job interview—That means no wrinkled or casual clothes. Look crisp and sharp. And check out our wardrobe guide for more information on what to wear.
  • Keep your headshot current—Don’t rely on the same photo for a decade. Instead, update your photo every couple years.

Professional headshots can put you ahead and help you advance your career, making sure you get exactly where you want to go.

6 Tips for Building Your Online Presence

6 Tips for Building Your Online Presence

When you’re looking for a job, it’s essential to have a positive online presence. After all, most potential employers will look up your social media profiles and search for you online, and you want your digital footprint to reflect positively on you and your career. Check out these 6 tips for building a solid online presence that will help you get the job you want.  

Create an online portfolio.

Building your own website is a great way to show off your previous work and expertise in a polished way. If you’ve never created an online portfolio before, don’t stress! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Use your resume as a starting point and add extra details, like graphs, charts, white papers, or articles you’ve created. Keep it simple and easy to navigate and be sure to regularly update it so the information stays fresh.

Include keywords on your career website and in your resume.

Many companies use automated tracking systems to accept resumes which allow them to search for certain keywords and eliminate applications that don’t meet their requirements. So, if you want to get your resume to the right people and get through the digital sifting, you have to include the right keywords in your content. Think about words and phrases recruiters might use when looking to fill the type of position you’re seeking and including them in the body of your resume. Don’t just create a list of words in your resume, but make sure they fit smoothly and cohesively into your content. And be sure to include these words and phrases in your online portfolio as well, the better to show up in searches for potential positions!

Monitor your social media presence.

Some people think they can keep their personal social media separate from their career, but that isn’t the best idea. Social media can be a great way to build personal connections that can lead to professional opportunities, and your personal profiles should present the same face to potential employers as your LinkedIn.

Put time and effort into your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t just throw together a LinkedIn profile in a few minutes. Take time to build out your account with a professional photo and detailed job history. You’d be surprised how many recruiters check LinkedIn first when scoping out possible new hires, so you want to make sure your profile is just as detailed as the resume you submit to hiring managers and recruiters.

Look for opportunities to create online content.

Show off your expertise in a blog post, whether by creating your own blog or guest-writing on someone else’s. Blogging is an excellent way to expand and improve your online presence, and you don’t even have to be an amazing writer to create a solid blog post. Just make sure whatever you post is error-free and don’t write anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to read.

Be active online.

You won’t have much of an online presence if you don’t interact with other people online. Participate in forums and comment on content that interests you on LinkedIn. Make sure your comments are thoughtful and don’t get involved in debates, but definitely take time to be more involved on the websites you’re a part of. You never know what opportunities you’ll find as a result!

By building your online presence, you can open yourself up to more career opportunities and growth, as well as build a network of personal and professional connections to help you find the job of your dreams!

What is Personal Brand Photography and Why is it So Important?

What is Personal Brand Photography and Why is it So Important?

What is personal brand photography?

When most people think about branding, they concentrate on their logo, the type of font used on their website and the color palette. Your visual identity is made up of these elements sure, but a big part of that identity is you and what you what your audience to come away with after viewing your site.

Brand photography is a customized portrait session that reflects your visual identity. We create professional images that fit with your brand by showcasing the stories you want to tell. This can include your workspace, your craft, props, your products and your team members (including your pets that might share an office with you and reflect who you are as a person).

What brand photography is not, is just another headshot. While a headshot is a part of a brand portrait session, what we focus on is a range of consistent, well-crafted images that tell the story of your business, your brand, and your unique value proposition.

Why is this important?

I think Seth Godin said it best – “People do not buy goods & services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”

Strong images help shape the story you want to showcase to your ideal client. They need to connect with you, not just with what you do or sell. Telling your story makes that happen. Remember that first impressions influence purchasing decisions. And buying is driven by emotion more than logic or even facts.

You must keep your visitors engaged with updated visual content. Don’t risk losing their limited interest with the same tired photos. Studies show posting daily or even multiple times per day on Instagram and Pinterest drive conversions because people want to see fresh content.

Posts on social media with images receive 120% to 180% more visibility and engagement. 82% of consumers trust a company more — and 77 % are more likely to buy from a company — if the founder uses social media.

When you invest in brand photography you come away with a library of image files to select from which will:

  • Save you time
  • Provide a beneficial impact to your bottom line
  • Differentiate yourself from your competition
  • Make your ideal client feel connected to you and what you offer
  • Help you rock your business like the star you are!

In today’s crowded online marketplace saturated with similar messages, you cannot afford to under-utilize any of your assets. And that includes professional photography.

Rock Your Linkedin Profile

Rock Your Linkedin Profile

linkedin profile

Give your profile picture a boost

If you have spent anytime at all on Linkedin, then I’m sure you’ve noticed the profiles that stand out. They are for the people who spent time filling in all the details of their profile, getting colleagues to write endorsements and making sure their resumes give the results of their efforts and don’t just read like a job description.

And while all of that is incredibly important, before you even start looking at those details, what is the first thing you notice? The profile picture. Are you looking at a selfie, vacation pictures, random iPhone pic with so-so lighting or has this person taken the time to hire a professional?

The difference between people who have invested in their image and the people who don’t is immediately apparent.

profile picture
headshot photo

Nicci is an excellent example of this. She came to my studio in October because she understands that to get noticed on Linkedin she needed to update her profile picture. I followed up with her two months after her session, and she reported that her Linkedin results soared immediately after updating her image and within two months she found her dream position.

So be like Nicci and let’s rock you Linkedin profile today and start 2019 with a win!

From Soup to Nuts: the Chickpea Individual Headshot Process

From Soup to Nuts: the Chickpea Individual Headshot Process

headshot process

Ever wonder what a headshot session at Chickpea is like? Here’s your chance to get a peek at the headshot process and to know what to expect from one of our sessions!


Decide which headshot session best fits your needs

The One Look is a quick 15-minute session in our East Bay studio—perfect for when you’re short on time and need only one image.

Our most popular session is the Multiple Looks. This is a 30-minute session that includes both time shooting in-studio and time shooting outside.


Book your session

Booking is quick and easy with our online booking calendar, or you can call and one of my assistants will help get you set up and scheduled. Appointments can be scheduled as soon as 12 hours in advance, depending on availability.

headshot session

Get all the info you need

After your booking is confirmed, you’ll receive an email confirmation that includes directions to our studio, tips on what to wear and how to prepare, as well as a review of the different digital image packages we offer. You will also receive appointment reminder emails 72 hours and 24 hours before your session.

Want to talk about your session?

We offer optional 15-minute phone consultations to answer any questions or help you decide what to wear. Just shoot us an email to request one!

The day of your headshot session

Show up to the studio with your hair and makeup done and bring a couple of different outfits. We’ll spend a few minutes discussing your goals for the images, reviewing the outfits you’ve chosen, and determining the best backgrounds for the look you’re after.

The fun begins!

I try to keep my sessions relaxed, informal, and conversational. We chat about your job, family, kids, pets, what you do for fun, and occasionally even politics! I’ll provide plenty of coaching on how to place your body, shoulders, hands, and face to make sure you look your best. Hopefully, I’ll even get you to laugh once or twice! And while you may not choose the image of you laughing, often the photo right after is a winner because you’re relaxed and have a genuine smile.

professional headshot

For in-studio portraits, we will select a background, get the lighting just right, and shoot for 10 minutes or so with different expressions and angles.

For outside shots, depending on the time of day and lighting, we will shoot for another 10 minutes in two or three different locations for a variety of looks.


Choose your favorites

After we’re done, we’ll review the unedited images on a laptop or iPad where you will make your final selections. When you’ve narrowed it down to your favorite images, you will select the digital image package you want and let me know if you want retouching on any of your images.

Post-processing and retouching

I edit your image selections for color tone, exposure, etc. and crop to a neutral size suitable for many applications. Edited images are available the next business day and will be provided via an online gallery for viewing and download.

Any images for which you request retouching are sent out to my professional retoucher with instructions and are generally ready in two to three days. Retouching can consist of removing glare from glasses, smoothing flyaway hairs, softening facial highlights, or other adjustments.

At the end of this headshot session, you’ll have images you can be proud of and show off to the world!

headshot photographer
chickpea photography

Ready to update your image?

Everything You Need to Know to Prepare for Your Headshot Session

Everything You Need to Know to Prepare for Your Headshot Session


You’ve taken the leap and booked your headshot session! You want to create professional images that reflect your skills, intelligence, and personal brand. But how do you prepare?

Don’t worry! I’ve put together this quick guide to help you feel ready to go on the day of your session!

What should I wear?

Clothing is a way to express yourself, and it’s important that the outfit you choose for your headshots matches your personality and conveys the message you want about your business and yourself.

That said, the simpler and more neutral the clothing, the better. Go for solid colors and avoid neons and busy patterns. Be sure to iron all your clothes before the shoot so they don’t appear wrinkled in your photos. And when it comes to shoes, remember that no one will see your feet in a headshot, so wear something comfortable!

Bring a few different outfits to choose from, and I’ll help you decide on the best one for your images! The most important thing is that you’re comfortable because if you’re not, it will show in your photos.

Should I do my own hair and makeup or hire a professional?

Whether you hire a makeup artist or hair stylist is completely up to you! Some people do so because they want to look their best, while others feel comfortable handling their appearance on their own. If you don’t often wear much makeup or don’t like the way your makeup has appeared in photos, definitely consider hiring a professional to do it for you.

The most important thing is that your headshots look like you, so make sure to do your hair and makeup in a way that is normal for you. After all, you want people to recognize you from your photo!

Should I get a haircut before my headshot session?

If you do choose to get a haircut, schedule it at least a week before your session. We’ve all had bad haircuts, and you want to give your hair time to grow out, just in case it’s too short for your liking.

How do I pose?

Posing is something you definitely don’t have to worry about! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in thousands of photos or you avoid the camera like the plague—I’m here to help you feel relaxed and have fun. I’ll coach you into a variety of poses and expressions and shoot photos from different angles to make sure we have a lot of great images and options for you to choose from. And I’ll never just put you in front of the camera and expect you to figure it out; there will always be plenty of clear direction!

I don’t like the way I look in photos. What can I do to change that?

Many people feel that they’re not photogenic, and most of the time that’s because they’ve only had photos taken by friends and family, not a professional.  As a professional photographer, I’m an expert in lighting, angles, and post-production, so I know how to create photos that you will love! Learn why professional beats DIY when it comes to your headshot.

Should I have headshots taken in a studio or outside?

Both are great options, and fortunately for you, we’ll do both at your session! Studio light and backdrops offer better control of the images, while natural light can give your photos a fresh, clean feel. I’ll photograph you in both settings, giving you more options to choose from!

These are some of the most common questions I hear when it comes to headshot sessions. If you have more questions, feel free to get in touch! I’d love to chat with you!

Need more advice on what to wear?