May 25, 2015
When you are attracting customers in a digital world, first impressions are important.
Many times with a quick glance at your website and photos, people make a judgment about you… and if your headshot is bad, you look bad.
You want to be seen as a pro, not an amateur, so the way you present yourself in your picture is everything.
After reading this article, I hope I will have convinced you how important it is to have a professional photo taken — and it doesn’t need to be a painful experience either. I’d love to hear your biggest takeaway at the end.
One of the most important elements in showcasing your personal brand online is your headshot.
“Now-a-days with social media and websites your headshots are the first introduction to you, your business and your personal brand so shouldn’t your picture be the best it can be?” says Taneane Twele, a photographer who recently did my professional headshots.
I am quite guilty of not having professional shots done for many years. I had every excuse under the sun: needed to lose weight first, needed to have a haircut first, needed to be… anything… other than the perception I had of myself.
However, this way of thinking really was backfiring on me. The photos I ended up using were very old and didn’t at all reflect who I was currently, leaving a poor impression of my personal brand.
And the same thing may be happening to you and you may not even realize it.
When someone Googles your business or checks out your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles, you want them to think, “Wow, they look like a really cool person I’d like to work with” instead of “Yuck, I think I’ll take a pass, I’m not sure I can trust this person.”
Here are some tips for putting your best face forward in professional headshots that let’s your personality shine through:
1) Great pictures start with how you feel on the INSIDE. If you feel scared or insecure, this will come across in your pictures. The good news is that if you are shy when it comes to pictures, there are many things you can do to relax and look confident:
- Treat yourself like a celebrity. Any girl will tell you that on her wedding day she feels like a queen. She splurges and gets her nails, hair, and makeup done. She wears a beautiful dress that makes her look radiantly beautiful.
Why not take the same approach to your photo shoot? Treat yourself to a day of beauty so you feel confident and gorgeous when the photographer starts snapping pictures.
- Dress for Success. Treat yourself to a new blouse, suit, or outfit for your picture day. If you aren’t shopping inclined, bring a girlfriend to help you choose the perfect outfit that makes you look and feel like a million bucks.
Stay away from busy patterns but do wear colors that bring out your eyes and look sharp on you. Also, stay away from whites.
Your photographer will want you to bring a few different wardrobe options so that you can switch it up during the shoot. Some can be more casual and others more professional. Don’t forget to add the accessories for a polished, together look.
- Set the mood. When you sit on a stool with bright lights shining on you, it’s easy to feel a bit intimidated. Bring a CD with your favorite music to play during your photoshoot. It will loosen you up, put a smile on your face, and maybe even get you dancing.
When you have FUN during the shoot like I had during mine, it will show in your pictures.
- Bring a friend. You don’t have to go to your photoshoot alone. Bring a friend, your spouse or child — someone to tell you how incredible you look. You’d be surprised the incredible pictures you’ll take with a girlfriend telling you “you look amazing girl” or “you got it going on” etc.
- Go pro. Don’t try someone who shoots weddings, kids yearbook pictures, or your cousin who has a nice camera. Spend the money. It’s worth it. Spend the money to work with a professional photographer who is known for taking headshot photos that bring out the personality of their subjects. Find a photographer that you connect with and makes you feel very comfortable so you look relaxed and natural in the pictures.
- Image sells. Remember to get a new headshot every few years. It’s important to have an accurate representation of you. Hairstyles change and fashion changes. It’s also important to look your age — not five to 10 years younger. Plus, people love seeing new pictures of you. It gives the impression that you are progressive and moving forward in your business.
- Get body shots too. It’s nice to mix it up and have a few headshots along with some less formal ¾ or full body shots. These can be standing, sitting in a chair, speaking or just showing you DOING what you do.
- Print quality files. Make sure that you can get high-resolution versions of the pictures (300 DPI). This allows you to use your image for printed brochures, book covers, and other marketing pieces.
As you can see, having a professional headshot done of you does not have to be painful or difficult. For me, it was very fun and made me feel fabulous. So don’t wait because you know “someday” will never arrive. Take it from me, if I can do it, so can you!
What are your thoughts on getting professional photos done? Have you ever not worked with someone or didn’t connect with him or her on social media because his or her headshot looked scary?
As the founder, Susan Friesen brings a unique advantage to eVision Media clients by having earned a Bachelor in Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems through the Thompson River's University. Her experience in the Web development industry since 1999 has gained her much insight and knowledge in how to effectively brand a business and then translate that to a user-friendly, search-engine friendly, custom designed website. She is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School multi-media program and also earned several certificates in technology through the University of Victoria and Athabasca University. She won the 2003-2004 Governor General's Bronze Academic Award for achieving the highest academic standing in a diploma-level post secondary program. http://evisionmedia.ca