Why a Business Portrait is Vital to Your Image
By Sheila Anderson, Image Power Play
If I Googled all your social media accounts, what profile picture would I find of you? Is it a selfie or a professional portrait? Is it current or one from five years ago? If you want to be taken seriously in the business world, it is vital your profile picture and your business portrait reflect the true essence of who you are and what you look like today. In today’s world, our first impression of someone may not be face-to-face, but rather what we find about them on the internet. This is one aspect of your image you need to be aware of and one that you can control by always being mindful of what you post, including your profile picture. The first thing we look for when we search for someone online is what do they look like. Can I find a picture of them? As stated in my previous articles, we make snap judgments about a person simply by their appearance, and in this case, by what photograph they are using as their profile picture. We judge if they look trustworthy and credible, if they look professional, influential, and even if they appear likable.
To illustrate this point, there is a website called Photofeeler (www.photofeeler.com) that allows anyone to upload a photo and get real-world feedback to see if it is making the right first impression. Photos are judged by other users. The users are asked to judge the photos of others based on three criteria, do they look: 1) competent, 2) likable, and 3) influential. Not only do you get feedback on your photo, but it gives you the opportunity to judge others, thus allowing you to see how you judge someone simply by looking at their photo.
I collaborated with professional photographer Chad Phillips, owner of Chad Phillips Photography in Sioux Falls, SD (www.chadphillipsphotography.com) to come up with some tips on what makes a great business portrait. Here is our list.
- Wear long sleeves or a jacket. Many people are conscious of their arms. Covering them up helps to bring the focus to your face and smile.
- Think about what image you want to portray. Color plays a role in how other perceive you. For example, blue is always a great choice for business. Blue is reliable and responsible. Red indicates power. Purple is considered individualistic and creative. Brown has the connotation of being down to earth and supportive. Darker and mid-tone colors work best on camera. And do not be afraid to add some personality with a punch of color by adding a great pocket square, necktie, or a scarf.
- Solid fabrics work best. Avoid wrinkled or bulky fabrics. Trendy clothes can look dated quickly. It is best to choose classic styles, but again, you can add a bit of your personality to classic pieces.
- Little to no jewelry works best. Jewelry can pick up shine and be hard on camera and can be distracting in a picture.
- Try to relax. Chad adds, “We never rush into a portrait. We take time to get to know our clients, build a relationship. Your true smile comes out when you are relaxed.”
- Seek out a professional portrait photographer. There really is an art to creating a quality business portrait. “We factor in what type of background do you want? What is the best lighting? Should your portrait be in studio, on location or in your office?” notes Chad.
- Consider where your portrait will be used. “We work with many business professionals. How you market to your clients may different than how you want to appear within other professional circles. We typically will create two different images for our clients. One that is inviting, approachable and caters to the general public with a neutral background. The second image can be a different outfit, maybe a suit and more of a business background.”
- Get your haircut a few days before your session. Don’t wait till the day of your photo session.
These are just a few tips to get you on your way to putting your best face forward. A good portrait will bring to life your personality. It is proven that when you invest in yourself that translates into others wanting to invest in you.
Sheila Anderson, Corporate Image Consultant | Speaker
Sheila@ImagePowerPlay.com (605) 310-7166