The Therapist Collective

Headshots! Reliving Your Awkward Senior Pictures vs. Boldly Venturing Into Your New Business

Two of the first things most clinicians need to work through on their journey in private practice are getting a relatively decent headshot and figuring out how to write about yourself on sites like Psychology Today or Therapy Den. The longer you lurk on either site, the more uncomfortable, poorly lit selfies you’ll see from amazing and talented therapists. Stop the madness!

Therapists are amazingly smart, unique professionals who are better than the selfies we’ve been settling for. Here are few things to think about if you’re photo is outdated or not portraying the image you want to present to clients and colleauges.

  1. Think about what you want to convey to potential clients! Recently, Natasha and I took pitcures for The Therapist Collective. While there were hilarious moments that felt like an engagement we photo shoot, we wanted our picture to show how much fun we have together and how supportive our relationship has been to both of our practices because we want that support and connection for our members. Keep your mission and vision in mind.
  1. Find a photographer that you’re comfortable with. If there isn’t a photographer you know, reach out to other therapist friends to see who is funny and will make you look and feel your best.
  1. Try to wear something that feels professional but also reflects you. If you’re quirky and a little eccentric, great! If you’re more traditional, rock your best business suit and blouse! Let your clothes reflect that you’re not vanilla. It’s a small thing but does help potential clients decide if you might be a good fit or not. 
  1. Find the very best lighting. Talk with your photographer about the time of day (the late afternoon “golden hour” is ideal!) and the setting. I recently had professional photos taken for my new office space and you can absolutely see the difference between quick pics I had taken and those that are professionally lit.
  1. Check out what poses other therapists are using to find some inspiration that looks natural. Scan Pinterest or Psychology Today to get an idea of the feel you want. This goes a long way in helping you give your photographer a sense of what you want.
  1. Be proud of all the awkward outtakes and pictures where you look confused or strange. You’re being vulnerable in taking solo shots to help build your business. Embrace the fact that you are doing something that so many mental health professionals talk about but rarely venture into! 

What are your tricks of the trade for getting the best headshots? What are your most hilarious or awkward headshot moments?

By: Ginger Houghton, LMSW, CAADC