What Your Headshot Says About You, Part 2

August 19, 2014

“If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’re a major part of what you’re selling…” Sara Shirley from Sara Elisabeth Photography, on professional headshots.

Last week, we spoke to Sara Shirley from Sara Elisabeth Photography about using professional headshots as personal branding images. She shared with us how entrepreneurs should approach professional headshots for their websites and social media sites.

This week, Sara and The Editor’s Desk President Richard S. Todd compare two images she took of Richard, and how each could be used in corporate or personal branding.

Image #1 – Traditional Headshot

Professional Headshot,Sara Elisabeth,Personal Branding

Sara: “This image is much closer to your traditional “professional headshot” in terms of the crop and the focus on the face. There’s not much in the image to distract from Richard, other than the bricks, which add in a bit of texture and pattern. The absolute positive aspects of this image are how comfortable, inviting, and confident Richard looks. He looks friendly, cool, and calm, and this image makes me trust him. I would still consider this a personal branding image because it exudes personality and the brand that Richard is trying to portray.”

Richard: “Agreed, this is the kind of picture one would normally associate with a professional headshot. Very simple, strong focus on the face with a relaxed expression. The bricks in the back not only add pattern, but also suggest building on a solid foundation. Building relationships, building partnerships, and strength in unity.”

Image #2 – Full Body Shot

Professional Headshot,Sara Elisabeth PhotographySara: “The second image is different in terms of composition and the look and feel of the image. It shows more environment and the reflection in the glass is relevant for a writer who is always thinking about the meaning behind words and ideas. This image is a great compliment to the first one for someone like Richard to add to their website. It would allow potential clients to see more of his personality via his body language.”

Richard: “I like the second because it’s not like the first! As it shows more than the head and shoulders, it will stand out among the crowd of traditional professional headshots while retaining the same relaxed image. The subject is not only someone you could do business with, he’s someone you could hang out with too! Sara also mentioned off-line that the reflection of the building suggests something that writers often do – reflect.”

 Summary

Sara: “In summary, Image 1 could stand on its own as a personal branding image, but image 2 could not. Together, they make a great pair, allowing the viewer to understand more about Richard. Individuals should be moving towards having more than one great image of themselves to show potential clients. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’re a major part of what you’re selling – people want to work with someone they like rather than with someone who is uptight and has no personality. Time to start thinking of how you want your personal branding images to look!”

Richard: “Image 2 certainly compliments the first image, but couldn’t stand on it’s own on a website or on professional social media platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn. I’ve seen more than a few websites that feature something like Image 1, and then have secondary pictures just like it but with slightly different expressions or hand positioning. Something completely different like Image 2 would have been a better addition to the website.”

Follow The Editor’s Desk on LinkedIn and Twitter.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

 


What Your Headshot Says About You, Part 1

August 12, 2014

author headshot,headshot,professional headshot“Each person should be authentic with who they are in the professional world.” – Sara Shirley, Sara Elisabeth Photography, on the subject of professional headshots.

Professional headshots are a must for online corporate profiles, professional social media sites, and anywhere where your public image has a stake in your business.

But how many headshots have you seen on corporate profiles that don’t convey the proper image?

This applies to authors as well!

This week, Sara Shirley from Sara Elisabeth Photography discusses the importance of personal branding images, and how they can impact your business. She also answers the question about whether or not to use a “selfie”.

1)   You have the ability to view professional headshots with a critical eye. When you see a headshot, what kind of things do they tell you about the subject?

I look at these images as “personal branding images” rather than “professional headshots”. After first noticing the technical aspects of the image, I notice the type of expression the subject has on their face. The person’s smile, the engagement in their eyes and small differences in posture and body language are some of the factors that contribute to making the subject look authentic. If someone looks stiff and uncomfortable in their picture (like often in the standard “professional headshot”), it shows. On the other hand, if the person is warm, engaged and authentic, people will view them in a different way. They’ll be seen as someone that people will want to work with. That is why some photographers prefer to use the term “personal branding images” – the images are supposed to be representative of how a person wants to be viewed by others.

2)   What are the most important things a subject should consider when posing for professional headshots?

Trusting one’s photographer is number one. People should make sure they select a photographer they have a good rapport with and that can show you some samples of their work. Together, they should pick a location that represents the subject and their personal brand (how they want to be seen by others).

Clothing choice is also very important. Subjects should choose clothing that is appropriate to their field, clothing that is clean, ironed, and lint-free, and clothing that is of a solid colour. People want to avoid anything that has a busy design (like floral print), or anything with logos or text on them (unless it’s their uniform).

Lastly, subjects should just allow themselves to let loose and have fun. Most of us don’t like having our pictures taken, but having a great-quality professional headshot that we love is important to our brand image and to our ultimate success. Subjects should let their photographer guide them through the process and don’t forget to smile.

3)   You deal with professionals with many different roles and from many different industries. How does one’s title and industry play into the headshot?

One’s title and industry definitely play a factor in the image, but I give my clients the ultimate decision as to how they want to represent themselves in their final image(s). Some high-level executives enjoy laughing with their employees and having a more equal relationship with them, and subsequently want to be seen as extremely warm in their image. Others prefer to be a little bit more serious and be seen as an authoritarian-type. There’s a full spectrum of choices for people to choose from. Each person should be authentic with who they are in the professional world.

4)   Should a professional ever consider using a “selfie” on their professional profile?

Professionals should never consider using a “selfie” on their professional profile because, whether it’s consciously or sub-consciously, prospective clients, partners or employers will not take them as seriously. Making a small investment in a professional photographer can set you apart from the pack. It demonstrates that the individual puts effort into the way they present themselves, which in turn demonstrates that they’ll put effort into other aspects of their professional life.

5)   I’ve seen more and more companies using the same photographer for their entire staff. It suggests unity through a common image. Do you see this as a growing trend as well?

More and more companies are opting to use the same photographer for their entire staff. Companies, large or small should consider hiring a photographer to capture professional branding images of their staff because it demonstrates unity and consistency in a world where the image is more and more important.

Next week: Sara analyzes two professional images in terms of personal branding.

Follow The Editor’s Desk on LinkedIn and Twitter.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

 


President John

July 28, 2014

Hey folks!

I’ve written a new short story which received some rave reviews from a literary group I belong to. So I thought I’d share it with my loyal followers here, before putting it out for the rest of the world to see.

It’s called President John, and it concerns a young boy being bullied at school. Please give it a read and leave your comments here or at the bottom of the page.

Hope you like it!

Literally Yours,

RST

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.


Be Diligent when Choosing a Translation Service

July 17, 2014

Translation Services,TranslationOnline translation tools are fun. But they can’t take the place of professional translation services.

We’ve all played with translation tools such as Google Translate and Bing Translator. They’re great for translating simple phrases, such as “how are you?”, that basically mean the same thing across most languages.

But when it comes to communicating important messages to a foreign-language audience, the overall meaning of similarly simple phrases can get lost when using the same technology.

Consider the common English phrase, “I’m going to catch a bus.” Most people in the English-speaking world who use public transit are familiar with what this means.

But you can’t always translate that literally. In French, for example, there are many verbs that might apply. Choose the wrong one, and your French readers might get confused. How can one actually “catch a bus”?

Translating the same phrase to Mandarin can cause the same issue. In Mandarin, the correct phrase translated to English reads, “I am going to follow the bus.”

This might sound strange to Western ears, but it’s completely understandable to those fluent in that language.

Have you ever used the Bing-powered translation tool on Facebook? I find myself still mystified as to the meaning of the foreign-language post after seeing the English “translation”.

Clearly, a lot of work went into these tools, but they can’t be relied upon for overall credible translation.

Using a freelancer might work, but if you’re not fluent in the language, how will you proof the work?

I heard a story where a marketing piece was translated from Japanese to Chinese, using traditional script. The piece almost went to press, but the client caught two lines of Japanese still in the copy just in time.

Can you imagine the fallout had the client not been familiar with the difference in script, and the piece had gone out as is?

Thousands of dollars wasted. Reputation? Gone.

So unless you want to take a Berlitz course to learn your target language,  you should consider hiring a reputable translation company that offers at least three levels of translation and proofing.

It’s an expensive undertaking, but poor translation can result in long-term costs that no business wants.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.


The Evolution of Frankenstein

July 9, 2014

Hey everyone!

My latest speech is called “The Evolution of Frankenstein”, in which I discuss the book’s overall themes and how they translated into film.

Have a watch. Hope you like it!

See you out there…

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.


Corporate Storytelling

July 2, 2014

 corporate storytelling,copyediting,The Editor's Desk,business copy“Content…is an important component of sales and marketing in a company.” – Flavian DeLima, Corporate Storyteller

This week, copywriter Flavian DeLima explains to The Inside View why corporate storytelling is an important part of any business’ overall marketing strategy.

1)   Do small businesses have different challenges, in terms of content, than larger businesses?

Yes, the main difference is that small businesses often have several people performing more than one task. Small businesses have resource constraints and may not have systems and processes in place.

Regarding completing projects, when one person performs many tasks, it is challenging to meet deadlines. Deadlines get pushed back and quality often suffers due to lack of expertise internally. Today, customers expect quality content.

Content, whether a blog post, case study, article or white paper, is an important component of sales and marketing in a company. While large companies have internal communications people, they often outsource content creation and focus on other strategic initiatives.

Small businesses are busy and often less clear about content requirements. Their skills are often spread across various roles. When a company outsources projects to an outside writer, a higher degree of trust often develops. The writer works closely as a company expert and the company often views them as a strategic advantage of the company.

2)   How do businesses strike that balance between writing enough copy to keep a reader interested without overloading or boring them with too much?

Writing is about doing needs assessments and identifying the customer and what motivates them to buy.

When you listen and pay attention to a company’s customers, they tell you how they want to receive information and learn in order to help them make the best decision. The copy reflects the top customer personas and their preferences.

3)   What would you say is the single most important practice in copywriting for business, and why?

Pay attention to the customer personas. Customers want to engage with companies and want bi-directional communication. They will let a company know when they are happy and when they want improvement. Customers increasingly want the values of an organization to be in line with their own values. Customers also want to belong to communities, so it helps when SMBs are visible in the community as well as the having a presence on LinkedIn or other social media channels.

4)   Copywriting clearly doesn’t involve just sitting down and writing. What steps should a good writer take when preparing to write great copy?

It starts with the business and their customers. It is very important to always be talking to customers in person and by telephone. Email and surveys are not as effective to gauge customer needs and wants. The closer one can get to the emotional reasons that motivate a customer to buy, the easier it is to write the copy.

5)   Do you find that businesses tend to outsource their copywriting or do it in-house? Which would you say is a better practice?

Companies often try to do everything internally. If their business benefits from sharing expertise with prospects and existing customers, they recognize the value of outsourcing their copywriting.

A better practice is to have an objective external writer, who focuses on high valued content rather than writing sales oriented content. Objective quality content drives traffic to a website.

6) How would a business go about finding the perfect copywriter for them?

Successful business people believe in finding great people before they need them. One of the best ways to achieve this is to attend business and professional networking events. Meet people and follow them on LinkedIn and other relevant social networks. It will not take long for you to discover if you think alike and if you share similar values.

Questions about Corporate Storytelling? Send them to info@editorsdesk.net.

Reprinted from The Editor’s Desk series: The Inside View.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and president at The Editor’s Desk. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.


London Calling

June 25, 2014

Hey everyone!

Are you a Jack London fan?

In this speech, I talk about what I take from his books The Call of the Wild and White Fang.

Hope you enjoy!

See you out there…

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.


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