Hong Kong is known as Asia's World City and a meeting of East & West in terms of culture and business. You definitely need a thick skin and a competitive hunger to be successful here. Another thing you need in Hong Kong is to update your professional head shot on the regular. Here's what I’ve learnt through my many years as a professional photographer in Hong Kong in addition to using the highest quality lenses and cameras.
Looking for more tips regarding how to take great portraits and headshots? Do check out these 2 useful articles: "Headshot tips for photographers and models" and "the best lenses for portrait and headshots".
A big thanks to one of the world's top talent management agencies, TMH Management, for helping us with these tips!
Why You Should Regularly Updating Your Professional Headshot
Competition is fierce
Since Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places on earth, competition is fierce. No matter what field you’re in, there will always be countless other applicants or businesses ready to take your golden opportunity. If you can put yourself ahead of the pack with a really engaging and impressive headshot, why wouldn’t you?
First impressions count
With so many international people and businesses in the city, Hong Kong is a city where first impressions really count. Think about it — how many people have you brushed off on first meeting simply because they don’t strike you as your “sort of person”? If you don’t have a professional head shot that really “speaks” to people and represents exactly what you and/or your business are about, you could see yourself getting this kind of brushoff in a professional sense.
Experience trumps youth
Maybe you’ve gained a little weight or collected a few extra lines since your last head shot. In Hong Kong that’s no reason to shy away from an update. In this Asian city, age and experience are highly valued in the professional sphere. If your resume claims you have 10 years of experience but you still look 25 in your linkedin profile photo, you’re going to confuse potential partners, customers and employers. If you turn up to a meeting not looking how they expected, they might also feel misled.
Technology moves fast
A grainy selfie, a cropped photo of you in a bar or even a professional head shot from a few years ago will stand out like a sore thumb in Hong Kong. Tech moves fast everywhere, but this digital and image obsessed city has a law unto itself. Camera equipment, lighting and editing programs are constantly improving and updating as well, so don’t let yourself stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Evolution is inevitable
Whether you’re working for someone else or running your own business, you’ll find things evolve very quickly in Hong Kong. Maybe you’ve just changed your personal style or left a corporate job in finance to start your own blockchain and cryptocurrency company, then you definitely need to review and update your profile photos. The head shots you use on your website, marketing materials and social media channels should reflect that. What is your message and how has it changed?
It's also paramount that you look like the person you are today, in other words, trying to use an old headshot to land a new role just won't cut it if you are called in for a casting! At the same time, remember that your makeup should only highlight and bring out your features, not overpower them! For some great tips on this, make sure to check out professional makeup artist Krystina's tips here.
Online presence is paramount
In the age of millennials, every professional and every business, like it or not, needs an online presence. Every time you update your corporate head shot you have a new means of putting your image (and your message) out there. Just think about how much engagement you get when you change your profile picture on Facebook and Instagram!
You can use a head shot on your website, marketing materials, email signature and social media channels, but don’t forget that when you update your head shot you’re putting a newly searchable piece of content under Google’s search engine. When people search for you and your businesses, they’ll want to see you’re keeping your content, and your image, fresh.
A huge thanks to all the Hongkongers who've trusted me to take their head shots over the years. I love the challenge of bringing out the personality beneath every one and to follow their success stories.
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A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios