Creating the perfect business portrait
WHAT DO YOUR BUSINESS PORTRAITS SAY ABOUT YOU?
Do they say: “I am a smart, approachable and professional woman with a vision for my business and yours”? Or are they more: “I don’t look or feel confident and I don’t care enough about my own business to make sure you get the right first impression of me”. Harsh maybe, but true of many “headshots” that you see every day. (By the way, what a horrible word to call someone’s image – a headshot, which is why I prefer business portrait.)
Whether we enjoy being photographed or not (and most women don’t naturally like it), the harsh reality is that the first thing people see when they look at your profile is your photograph. So ask yourself: do you love your profile photograph? Does it match your business brand? Were you comfortable and confident when you had it taken? Were you looking your best with flawless make-up, tidy hair, appropriate wardrobe and pleasing background? Was the lighting good, the focus pin-sharp and your pose the most flattering?
Let’s face it, a poorly captured image of you looking uneasy, or even too relaxed on a night out, and presented in a way that you wouldn’t be happy for your clients to see you in “real life”, conveys a lack of attention that DIRECTLY AFFECTS YOUR COMPANY’S REPUTATION.
Here are some tips to make sure that you get a head-start on your competition with your very first impression.
1. Think about what you need the images for; all the publications and marketing outlets that you may use such as: your website and its different pages, blog, different types of social media, Linkedin, newsletters, magazine articles, book covers, press releases and printed materials such as business cards, leaflets and banners. Brainstorm all the different needs you have for your business portraits and plan what you want the images to look like – relaxed, professional, polished, casual, backgrounds etc.
2. Think about your business and the environment that you want your client to know that you work in. Are you dynamic, do you work in the city, do you travel a lot? If possible incorporate some of that environment into your images. You want to create interest and interesting business portraits are a brilliant way to get people talking to you.
3. Look at the camera in most of your business portraits. People want to connect with you as a person and the best way to do that is to look at them, look confident and warm. Business portraits are almost a way of having a silent conversation with someone, you are inviting them to connect and they can’t do that if you are looking off to the side.
4. Make sure you feel how you want to look. Get your hair styled and wear make-up – ideally a little more than you would normally wear. Wear the clothes that you want to wear when attending an important business meeting and take a few for more relaxed images too (see point 1). Don’t use an old image from a few years ago. Styles of imagery, wardrobe and hairstyle have changed so much and you won’t be seen as current and relevant if you aren’t “current” in your profile picture.
5. Get a professional to take your business portraits. It might be tempting to get a friend to take a picture with their iphone and apply an instant filter, in order to save a few pounds, but by now hopefully you are getting a feel for how important your profile pictures are in making a first impression. A highly experienced professional will help you plan your shoot so that you get the images for all your requirements both for web and print, they will take into account your branding colours and styles, they will be able to pose you so that you look confident and relaxed and some even help you choose your wardrobe and arrange a stylist for your hair and make-up so that you really do look your best. You never know, you might even enjoy the experience.
So have a look at your current “headshot”. Does it say what you want it to about your business? Does it reflect your vision and your perfect client? If not, it’s time to get the portraits done that your business deserves.