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Why AI Headshots are a Bad Idea

Have you seen any AI headshots shared on social media? I’m all for making life easier, but I don’t think you should jump on the bandwagon when it comes to AI headshots. Busy professionals here might think an AI headshot will do the trick. However, as a local Washington DC headshot photographer, I don’t like AI headshots, but it’s not for reasons you might think. Here are a few reasons why you might want to avoid an AI headshot. 

AI Headshots Need Good Photos

In order to use an AI headshot tool, you’ll need to upload photos of yourself first. Well, you can’t just use a crummy, dark cell phone photo. The machine needs decent photos of you to create images. Without a good photo, it will generate lackluster results. If you’ve seen someone’s amazing AI headshot, they likely had a great, possibly even professional photo to start with. With that being said, if you don’t like taking pictures anyway and don’t really have “good” photos of yourself, you’ll likely be disappointed with your AI headshot.

My Tests

I ran two tests. On the first test, I submitted 6 iPhone selfies; on the second, I submitted 6 professional headshots, one of which had my previous non-white hair. It should be no surprise that the professional headshots generated better results than the iPhone selfies. But there were similar problems with all the photos that were generated: eyes, teeth, hair, and clothing. My eyes often looked like false lashes had become detatched, my teeth were very uneven in size and sometimes I had extra teeth, I had many different hair styles – long, short, big, fluffy, and even an 80s-era country singer look. While the clothing choices were mostly decent, most were items and colors I wouldn’t have chosen.

These images were generated from my iPhone selfies. The first one is the best although I’m surprised at the haircut, the second one turns me into a *serious* coffee drinker, and I don’t know what happened to the clothing in the 3rd.

AI Headshot photography
AI headshots Washington DC
DC headshot photographer

I used professional headshots to generate these images. This first shot is the most “me”, I don’t believe I’ve every had my hair quite so “coiffed” as the second one and I would never wear that color jacket. The third?? Wow – seems like I’m right out of Nashville. And that’s is NOT my previous hair color!

AI headshots Washington DC
AI Headshot photography
DC headshot photographer

Quality over Quantity

I recently had a client who came to me needing new headshots for his new endeavor after retiring from a long career. During our initial conversation, he shared that he was looking for about three different headshot options. After asking some questions about his new endeavor and goals, I realized he’d probably like a fourth option as well. By having an actual conversation, I was able to figure out exactly what he needed. 

Yes, AI headshot generators usually create dozens and dozens of different images for you, but how many will actually work and be usable for your specific professional needs? Without having that conversation, it’s hard to know.

Aging Gracefully

Let’s say you have a professional headshot that’s 10 years old, and you want to use AI to update your headshot. Can the AI age you in a way that you’re going to like and feels natural to you? I’ve noticed a few headshots where the person’s skin looks super smooth. I know this person and know that they are in their 50s and don’t have perfectly smooth skin. There is a tasteful way to proudly display your age while still feeling confident in your image. I want all my clients to feel their headshot accurately reflects who they are as a person.

Your Headshot Experience Matters

Your headshot can make or break a first impression. Yes, a professional headshot experience takes time; however, the results from this session will pay dividends later. By thinking about your professional positioning and preparing for a headshot session, you’re investing time and energy into yourself and your success. With my headshot clients, I always start by asking more about them. I want to hear about your professional goals and more about you as a person so that I can head into the session prepared to capture exactly who you are. AI headshot won’t do that for you.

Washington DC Headshot Photographer

As a Washington DC headshot photographer, I’ve gotten to know many professionals throughout the years. I’ve noticed that we all tend to have a certain mental image of ourselves and how the world sees us. It takes a certain level of experience and artistry to accurately capture someone’s headshot so that they feel represented as they are now and how they want to be perceived in the future.

If you’re interested in a professional headshot experience to capture the real you, please contact me here.

Certified Professional Photographer | Lisa Maco Photography, LLC, Washington, DC

Modern Photography for Busy Families

in and around Northwest DC

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Lisa Maco Photography, LLC Washington DC

Lisa Maco Photography, LLC

4400 Greenwich Pkwy NW

Washington, DC 20007

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