What Your Headshot Says About You, Part 2

“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.

 

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What Your Headshot Says About You, Part 1

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.