This is a guest blog post by Denise Quinlan, personal branding photographer, speaker and visiologist at Insightful Images.
One aspect of your personal identity in business is your profile photo. A decent business photo helps prospects, colleagues in multi-site organizations, influencers, employers or employees to start building trust and rapport. A great photo engagingly depicts more of who you distinctly are and what you professionally bring.
These days new contacts will most likely “meet” you online first. You’ll be familiar with the ‘first impression’ assessment that the brain goes through when meeting someone for the first time. Primevally, this is to determine if we’re safe or should run. This assessment also applies when looking at a photo. In a business context though, you’re typically subconsciously working out whether you’d be able to work with person in the photo. Essentially, establishing the basis to build trust and a rapport.
It can be hard to be objective about your own photos – you know what you look like! Keep in mind that your new contacts don’t. For this reason, I seriously recommend getting an objective, and I really do mean objective, perspective from someone you trust in the business world.
You put a lot of effort into your CV and written case studies and business plan. Suitable consideration needs to be put into your profile photo too. Why? Because it has a split-second first impression impact. If your new contact assesses that you look like someone they can work with, they are more likely to reach out and contact you.
Top 10 tips for your business profile photo
Tip 1: A headshot, close-up its nature, means your face can helpfully be clearly seen. A headshot is exactly what is needed for your LinkedIn profile image, website and business social media channels. A good test of an effective headshot – literally a portrait shot of your head – is whether a new contact recognizes you purely from your photo when they subsequently meet you or see you speak at an event.
Tip 2: If your photo is more of a full-length body shot, the more distant your face in the shot, the trickier it is to recognize you in person.
Tip 3: Be aware that if you’re also sharing “airtime” with other elements in the shot, for example, a well-known British prime ministerial door, the chances of recognizing you are very low for reasons in the point above. Don’t ditch these shots though – see point 7 below for where they work best.
Tip 4: If there’s a crowd portrayed in the photo and your new contact has never met you, they’re not going to know which is you. It may sound obvious but it’s not uncommon to see!
Tip 5: The headshot needs to be a recent one! If, for example, you no longer have a beard, have gained one or have radically changed your hairstyle, you’re making it harder for your contacts to recognize you.
Tip 6: To add, if your profile photo is out-of-date, it can raise a red flag. In which other areas might you also be less than current? And for those seriously out-of-date shots, how did you feel when someone you met was patently (at least) 10 years older than their photograph? Remember you’re trying to build trust and rapport!
Tip 7: A shot of you sky-diving, fundraising, next to an iconic landmark, in character for your drama group’s latest production is worth attaching in the “Experience” section of LinkedIn (as media) or on your business website as a secondary shot. Your new contacts get a sense of who you are, what you’re about and what you enjoy; and this helps to build rapport. And ensure it has a caption describing the what, where, when, as appropriate, for extra impact.
Tip 8: Back to your primary headshot, from an attire perspective, be the version of “you” dressed as you would be for the meeting with your new business contact. Keep holiday/wedding shots for other non-business sites, unless of course you meet contacts in holiday or wedding attire. Note for profile images, random people in the background distract from your message, as do drain-covers.
Tip 9: Your eyes in focus, your face well-lit and the shot well composed are key!
Tip 10: Not having a profile photo on your website and social media sites, not only makes it impossible for a new contact to recognise you but you’re also unwittingly eroding trust. Human-beings are programmed to “see” who they’re dealing with. This natural visual-mediation hasn’t changed over the millennia, the technology has, creating almost an illusion that it is a new phenomenon.
You are integral to your personal business brand, whether you run your own business or you work for a larger organisation. The profile photo is just one part of it. Unwittingly, an often underplayed one!
Complimentary review of your business profile photo
For a complimentary review of your business profile photo and more details of how you and your team can make the right first impression in this social media era contact: [email protected]
About Denise Quinlan
Combining her 23-year IT-industry business expertise with her eye for the visual, Insightful Images was created with the specific mission to help reframe individuals for business. Based in Chiswick, London, Denise is a specialist personal business branding and event photographer, speaker and visiologist.
Insightful Images help individuals make the right first impression to generate that essential trust and rapport, business connection and growth.
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