The online profile photo… 5 common mistakes, and 5 quick tips to improve your online image...
We’ve all seen those profile photos online. When looking through a long list of possible new connections or future business partners there’s always a few.
I’m talking about those profile photo’s that stand out from the rest… but NOT for the right reasons!
The quickly taken (and heavily cropped) image from last years Xmas party while you were a bit tipsy, a snap from a badly lit corner of the office on someones mobile phone, or just a “that’ll do” pic because its fast and no one’s going to see it anyway.
The image you share with the world in ALL your online profiles is the first impression someone is going to form of you, and in those first 2 seconds it could be the difference between deciding to link / call / email / or follow (and create a business relationship) or passing over to the next person who looks more professional.
It’s the only 2 seconds that matter to strangers who have not yet spoken to you or met you in person, so you may as well make your profile image a good one!
There are a few common mistakes most people make when they are deciding on what photo they would like to use. Some of the most common mistakes include:
1: Wrong attire - If you want to look professional, then you better dress professional!
2: TAKE THOSE SUNGLASSES OFF! - I know… seems like logic right? You’d be surprised how many people cover their eyes…
3: Reflections in your glasses - If you do wear eye correction glasses, then PLEASE choose a pic without that flash flare reflection in them!
4: Where do you look? - Look at the lens of the camera, not away - Just like talking to someone in person, if you look away form them you will appear disingenuous.
5: Avoid dark backgrounds - Photos taken at night with flash are just SCREAMING “I don’t care about my image because I never wen to the effort to try to look good”. Light background is softer on the eyes and creates more visual balance. (Also, if you have dark hair then you don’t disappear into the night from the forehead up!)
Simply put, all of these mistakes are avoidable with a bit of care and attention.
There are however some simple tips to improve your online profile photo as I will outline in depth now (Assuming you understand we are going to automatically do the opposite of all the above!)
1: Shoot the image in an environment that actually relates to your business.
Nothing says more about you or your business than being shown IN the business actually doing what you do. Work in an office? - no problem - Just shoot in a nice window lit corner with some desks in a blurred background. Work outside on site? - Even better - nicely lit photo you with your work in the background adds interest and tells a viewer more about who you are, what you do, and the size or scope of your operation. Remember a picture is really worth a thousand words, so unless you like writing A LOT, you can easily send the right message in one image.
2: Groom for your best look.
This is not just for the ladies. Men, we too ned to look our best in a photo, but if you are anything like me then you’ll probably just need a haircut the day before, and a hanky to rub the sweat off your brow in Summer! Ladies… It never hurts to check, double check, and triple check the face, hair and hands prior to being photographed. A stylist is going to be worth their weight in gold and a very cost effective option if you have the means. Failing this, a little effort 15 minutes before a photograph will pay off in spades, and grouped with the right attire, appropriate location and look at the camera will be an image you can be proud of every time you see it.
4: Bring someone you trust with you for an extra set of eyes.
I always always recommended having someone else with you who you trust to be your eyes. Sure you can view the image on the back of the camera, however most of the time people only look at their face (and particularly their own eyes) and miss the simple things like crooked collars, necklace not sitting right etc… Having someone else there who may not be a stylist, but knows you well will help put you at ease and be honest in their opinion about your look (and notice the little things others may miss…)
3: Update often!
Now I can hear you from here… I thought I only needed to do this once. Nope. I always recommend an annual update of your profile image. Trends change (clothing and glasses change styles) and people change. There is nothing more insincere than seeing a nice image of someone you would like to do business with, then meeting them only to see they bear almost no resemblance to their profile image because the picture is 10 years old!
4: Pay a professional.
Now I might be a bit biassed here, but professionals are paid to know what works. It’s never just about the image. It’s about feeling comfortable in front of the camera for a prolonged period of time (not just one quick snap) and with people who WANT to make you look good. We’re acting in your best interest because you are our client. We live and die on referrals from happy customers, so are dedicated to doing the job once, and doing it right. Professionals know how to pose you, make the most of your best features, and make you feel at ease for something that is not really a natural task.
From the pose, to the eye contact, the correct style and the right environment around you - there’s actually a lot to get right in your profile photo.
Do it once and do it right. Send the right message with your profile image…
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