Profile Photos ⎯ Your Advert

I was given an article the other day, entitled “Picture Perfect” from the magazine Executive PA. The article covered the importance of a good headshot/profile picture. We currently live in a world of high visibility, and a physically disconnected society. On the one hand we are connected so much via virtual means, which means we need to supply a true to life and up-to-date portrait/profile/CV of ourselves. Your face is part of selling yourself to other people, look at Nike who use professional/amateur Athletes to help connect their products to the ‘Average Person’. This type of marketing has been around for years, and with todays technology there is not reason for a business to not supply good professional photos of their staff. On the other hand, we don’t always get to ‘see’ each other. So being able to put a face to the name is crucial.

Most websites now have a section with photos of their staff. You may not have ‘staff’, but you are your staff. You are your brand ambassador for your business. So with that in mind here are a few ideas to get a good profile photo for your use on websites, ID badges and social networks (like this site!!).

  1. Find out ‘your’ colour. We all have a colour that suits our skin tone, eye colour etc. You’ve probably had people say; “You look good in blue”. Pick that colour and wear it to your photoshoot.
  2. Avoid chaotic patterns. This is distracting to the viewer and more often it confuses the camera sensor. Stick to solid colours, if possible, as these will not date as much as patterns.
  3. Get the right light. Lighting is the biggest part of a good photo. You can go from stark harsh sun light to soft diffused light quite easily. If you are doing this yourself, get a north facing window, cover with a white sheet and take your photo with the window behind the camera. The sheet will diffuse the light, and shower you with gorgeous soft light.
  4. Find You Good Side. Everyone has a preferred side. The side you like to lean to, find it out. Be conscious of which you feel comfortable with. Make sure that side is closer to the camera. (Normally your hairs parts on your better side).
  5. Watch out for Negative Space. Too much space around your head can make you look small inside the frame of the photo. Try cropping the photo so your face fills the frame. This will also make the viewer look at your eyes.
  6. Breathe. Relax, how you feel comes across in the photo. It may sound silly but if you feel angry, upset, or down it can make your photo ‘feel’ the same. If you are genuinely pleased, relaxed then the viewer will be too.
  7. Background counts. Make sure your background is clear or at least doesn’t distract from you. If it’s relevant to your style, your business and your message then include it. Just keep in mind this is about YOU not your workplace, or where you’ve been.

One final point to make, do not use a bad camera! The one built into the frame of your laptop isn’t good enough. Unless you have a high end smartphone, try to get a dedicated camera. Most laptop cameras, phones cameras, toy cameras are not made to take a good photo.

I hope this helps to create your personal brand and any marketing you may be doing

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