It’s very hard looking at yourself objectively. In fact, it’s almost impossible, so when I recently had a new profile picture done I asked for opinions on my facebook page. There were 3 images, and it seemed that for every person that liked one, there was another that didn’t. All had valid reasons, and I found myself in a bit of a quandary.
But like anything, it came down to ‘what’s my objective?’
I wanted something with a bit of personality, rather than a white studio background. I also wanted to appear professional, friendly and approachable. I spend a lot of my leisure time in fields with a combination of children, dogs and horses so the field background seemed appropriate. I also spend a lot of time in cafes and coffee shops having client meetings, so that one was a no-brainer.
The general consensus was that the cardigan was too informal, so the jacket gave a more professional appearance. Not rocket science, but worth remembering. If I’d been wearing a crisp shirt or a scarf, the jacket may not have been necessary. But in fact, although I like the cafe shot, the one I’ve used on all my social media profiles is the one in the field, simply because it worked the best as a thumbnail.
Trying to choose between them was an all-encompassing issue for a few days, and it seemed oh-so-important to get it right.
But ultimately, the final photo will become generally accepted, you’ll get used to it and all the fuss will be forgotten (until the next time!)
So my top tips for a photo shoot?
- Be clear about how you want to come across and what sort of image you want to portray
- Take a selection of clothes – it only takes minutes to change your appearance and your favourite outfit might not work as well as you hope on film
- Take along a few accessories – scarves, ties, jewellery, hats, glasses (not fancy dress, you understand – just things you might normally wear!)
- Try different backgrounds or environments, for example your workplace or an outdoor location
- Most of us don’t like ourselves in photographs. You won’t necessarily look as ‘relaxed and happy’ as when you’re out with friends – a business shot shouldn’t look seductive or giggly (unless it’s appropriate to your business!!)
- Don’t be put off by the cost of getting this done, this is an important investment in your business and as such, it’s tax-deductible
- Be guided by the photographer. They are looking at you through a lens, so they will know if your position looks awkward or the angles are wrong.
- Find a photographer you like. I know several photographers and like all of them (if you’re reading you know who you are!) but on this occasion, Susannah Fields and I were in the right place at the right time to help each other.