I suggest that people take new headshots every couple years or more often if your look dramatically changes. It’s always awkward when a conference speakers or someone you have known through online sites walks through the door and not only do you not recognize them but you wonder if their son or daughter is who you have been engaged with online. How many times have you met someone, looked at their picture on their business card or social media site and said, “WHOA- they need to update that photo?”
I took my own advice and scheduled a photo shoot with marketing expert AND photographer, Neil McKenzie for some fun new Geeky Girl shots! After our shoot, we sat down and I asked him what makes for a great pic. We talked for almost 30 minutes but I got it down to 10 (YouTube may not have time limits for content anymore but your attention span may only keep you engaged for a few minutes.) Here is a recap of what we discussed, a few of the pics and the video of our chat:
Know the brand you are trying to convey BEFORE you begin.
Is your brand about serious leadership or green resources? Fun family activities or corporate innovation? What message should your customers or contacts get when they see your picture? Make a list of messages you want people to get just by looking at your picture. This can help you focus your photo shoot time and ensure your picture is congruent with your messaging.
Take time to get to know each other.
The more your photographer knows about what you do and how you will use the pictures, the better he or she can snap the right shots. You want your personality to shine through in the pictures, so be sure to show a little of that before the shoot begins.
Bring a bit of your environment with you.
If you use gadgets or have props that will add to your photos, bring them along. If you’re a realtor, perhaps you want a SOLD sign with you. If you’re a professional organizer, have some of your tools with you, and as you will see with Neil, if you’re a photographer, perhaps you want your camera with you!
Aim for the eyes!
Neil explains the importance of capturing the sparkle in the eyes. Make sure your headshot is close enough that you can see your eyes. Some people crop the picture to really allow others in (I think with HD technology there should be a warning sign similar to your car’s side mirror, “WRINKLES ARE SMALLER THAN THEY APPEAR!” -HA!)
Create a series of shots.
If you end up with 4 or 5 different shots and poses you will be able to use them more creatively. Perhaps you have one standing or jumping in the air (one I forgot to do!), one close up for a good basic headshot, one laughing or a bit more relaxed, and one with some of your props. You will be able to sprinkle them from websites, blogs, social sites with different pictures and yet same look and feel. This creates a consistent branding message while allowing for a bit of personality of the particular site.
This should not be the old Sears photography studio shot where you sit and give that cheesy smile while holding your glasses under your chin (Is that supposed to make you look smarter?). Let go of those negative thoughts of hating every picture you are in and allow your great personality come through and be captured.
Do you have other tips for great photo shoots as it applies to branding and social media use? What do you love to see in pictures?
If you or your organization need help getting your message out, contact me or one of our brilliant SocialKNX team members! We LOVE helping organizations manage their brand and magnify their messaging for BIG business success!
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