Last week I wrote about how one simple tweak to your LinkedIn profile would dramatically increase the value of your network there.
How’d you go with the tweak?
Did you find a photo that you liked?
If you’re anything like me, you probably ended up in a totally frustrated state, wondering why you didn’t have a single decent photo of yourself. Oh sure, there’s dozens of stunning photos of you, but they all had someone else in them, or you were in front of a landmark, or the photo featured the cat more than you…am I right?
So what to do now?
Well, the short answer is to get a decent headshot taken. Sounds painful I know, but it is in fact simply industry jargon (don’t you just love jargon) for “a photo that showcases me rather than the lake behind me.”
When I was starting out, I asked a friend (a semi-professional photographer) to take some photographs of me. I put on one of my favourite dresses, stood in a neutral part of the backyard and she snapped away.
Some cropping and (very light) editing later, I had a pretty decent photo of myself. I used this photo for ages on both my personal website and my social media profiles. In fact, if you do a Google search for me, that photo will still come up at times!
It was fine as I was starting out, but once I realised the importance of having a professional headshot I realised I had to take the next step.
There’s numerous reasons for having a professional headshot including:
- Google Authorship – with this in place, your image shows up against all your posts in search results.
- Images search – people searching for you by name are going to see images of you. So you’re going to want those images to be as professional as possible.
- Promotional material – giving a speech or presentation? The organisers are going to want a photo of you…
- Recognition – going to a conference? Having a recent, easily identifiable photo of you on your website / social media profiles is going to make it easier for other attendees to recognise you.
How to choose a photographer
So you’ve made the decision to take the next step and get some professional photos taken. You’re going to need a professional photographer at this stage! But photographers can be expensive and having photos taken of oneself can be a horrible experience, right? Right.
What’s the best way to avoid a horrible experience then? I asked Ramona Lever from Branding Headshots (the wonderful photographer who took the photos of Emma and me) for her words of wisdom on this. She advises you should:
- Look for a Headshot photographer that understands Personal Branding.
- Check out their work and make sure they are creating the kind of images you love.
- Chat with them before your shoot – It’s important that you feel you can trust them.
- Get professional make up and hair done before your session.
- Spend some time shopping or working out what you’ll wear to create the right image.
- The more authentic you are in the photo session the better the images will be.
Take the next step
So, armed with Ramona’s words of wisdom and the knowledge that you definitely need a professional headshot (or two), time to start looking for a photographer! (If you’re in Melbourne, can I perhaps suggest Ramona Lever??)
Oh, and if I could just add something to Ramona’s list – make sure you can both sit and stand in your outfit and that you can breathe in it. You could be wearing it for a very long time during that photography session!
*Image via Wikimedia Commons