A New Year, A New Look

I genuinely do my very best to walk my talk. I believe I can’t ask my clients to change from the inside out and head-to-toe unless I’m doing my work, as well. And, now it’s my turn.

It might seem that my move from NYC to sunny southern California would have been enough (see my September post). But, oh, no! That was just the first step in the process. And, I admit, I am enjoying this process. (That’s a huge lesson right there!)

While I am usually found behind the scenes making things happen, not in front of the camera, this time will be different. The last year has presented massive change in many ways and it’s time to show the world who I am now.

Today, when most people will meet you only on the web or in print, it’s critical to present yourself optimally and currently at all times. Unfortunately, the local photo drive-thru or the portrait from your son’s wedding will just not cut it.

Whether you’re an independent professional, work for a corporate entity or are ecstatically retired or unemployable, your photo may appear in articles, press releases, books, websites, promotions or on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account profiles, to name a few.  It has the power to be shared across the globe in a matter of seconds. Do you really want to spend the rest of your professional or personal life explaining why that photo is not a good representation of you and/or your expertise? Or, worse, do you want to chance losing business or other opportunities because your photo presented you poorly?

Here are a few quick tips I share with clients prior to photo shoots, if only because these images will be presented for public scrutiny from now until forever. Remember, the internet never forgets.

  • Always look like yourself in a photo. The comment you want to hear is “Wow, you look even better in person,” not, “Gee, I didn’t recognize you from your photo.”
  •  The background should never be more interesting than you are. You are the star and there is no acceptable competition in sight.
  •  Women and men should use at least a neutralizing face powder or a minimal amount of make up to get a truly natural look. An easy application up front can save hours of retouching fees. A professional application may be a worthwhile investment.
  •  Your eyes are the MOST important part of any photo. Be sure they are visible, clear, expressive and alive. Don’t hesitate to use a little Visine before the shoot, if last night was a long one.
  •  Your clothes, hair and accessories are the supporting cast. Colors are great and can be used effectively to show you to your very best advantage. Keep your best colors close to your face. Plan for three different looks during the course of a shoot.
  •  Keep your hair away from your face. Minor adjustments can be made electronically. However, entire style changes after the fact will not work. A professional styling may be something to consider.
  •  Do your homework. Do not assume that the photographer you are meeting for the first time knows you best. Find photo looks and styles you like. Bring them with you to give the photographer an idea of your desired outcome. Then, be prepared to listen to a professional opinion.
  •  Pixels are free. Before shooting, snap a few test shots to determine the best background, lighting and your best angle. We each have a “best side.” Know yours before you get started.
  •  If your company has strict guidelines for photos that will appear in a pre-formatted document or presentation, be sure to bring them to the photographer, as well. Cropping the top of your head out is much easier than ‘Photoshop-ing’ it back in.
  •  While great head shots are truly classic looks that can last many years, you should update them every four to five years or whenever you go through a major personal change.
  •  A successful photo session will yield three or four great options. Select two and have them retouched for immediate use. Keep the others on hold until you need them. You may find an occasion requiring more than one look. You shouldn’t have to run back for a full shoot, if you have backups already prepared.
  •  Head shots are about trying to capture your personality, your expression and your feeling through your eyes. Great head shot photographers know how to keep you natural and when to take the shot. Don’t count on friends and family unless you’re ready for a do-over very soon.

Ultimately, your photo is a crucial part of your personal brand. Take your best shot every time and leave your lasting image for all to see with confidence, pride and pleasure.

Would you like to share your experience or lessons learned with other readers? Feel free to reply back to this post. You know, I always love to hear from you.

Until next time, be nice to your self,

Lauren