Hey guys, Andy here. It’s January 2022 and COVID is still with us almost two years after it first appeared. Landscapes have transformed as the pandemic has accelerated changed in the various tectonic plates of the workplace. One of these is the intersection of photography, portraiture and headshots. I’ve communicated with companies and individuals to take portraits ‘after lockdown’ only to be postponed ad infinitum. Will this continue or is this the new normal?
Portraiture was traditionally a safe area within photography as it was considered that there would always be a need for it. No one could have foreseen COVID and the challenges to connect with others which has resulted in the decline of this previously sure bet. Much of the headshot market was driven by the creative and hospitality industries, while another large segment of the market was corporate and those who work in offices. While the former industries have experienced significant closures, downturns and drops in sales the latter, in which many have maintained their jobs and continued working, has seen a shift away from the traditional office workspace to work from home. This has also contributed to a decrease in portraiture as many companies have been waiting for COVID to finish before commissioning new headshots. However as we enter the third year of the pandemic, can we realistically expect a full return to our previous lifestyles or do we accept this is now the ‘new normal’?
Companies and brands have delayed commissioning portraits, waiting for work from home to finish and employees to return to the workplace before doing so. Portraiture for individuals has been challenging as the UK due to various incarnations of lockdown and for many, hoping the next lockdown or COVID variant to be the last, a new headshot may not have been essential. Such delays were reasonable and safe, but at what stage do we accept 2- 3 days work from home is the normal and that new headshots should no longer be delayed? With the sea change in how we work, and ever increasing flexible working, do employers really expect their offices to be full again? How many people have joined and left companies in the last two years and haven’t appeared on the company website due to this delay?
Of course delay is not confined to portraits and headshots. Alterations in lifestyle, due to COVID, have included changes to fitness routines, diet and appearance. Some may have been for the better while I suspect many have used the pandemic as an excuse to open that extra bottle of wine at the end of the day; there is little motivation to be good and healthy when you do not expect to see anyone in real life for months at a time.
As we enter 2023 are you still postponing having a new headshot of portrait taken? If your online profile is the first thing people see is an out of date or amateur image, taken by your spouse or housemate against the kitchen wall, what you want to present? Is your headshot accurate and does it reflect the person you are today? If not now, when?