Must-Know Tips for a Profile Photo that Shines
If you have never been the photogenic type, choosing one single photo to represent all you do in your business can be quite the daunting task. When you consider that your online persona is who your future client meets first, how can you ensure that who they meet virtually is up to par with who is behind the actual photo (who we both know is amazing)?
As a professional photographer who has worked with many different professionals in a number of varied industries, I have a few tips that may help you when you are faced with the mission of updating your profile photo (aka your professional headshot). Here we go:
How to dress:
Consider how you would meet your ideal client in person, on one of your most confident days.
Not any client, but the ideal client. Not the day when “today was crazy, and I ran out of the door looking like this mess”, but the “I love this outfit and my hair looks great” kind of day.
As much as we should focus on what we are on the inside, a picture is something visual, and how we physically look is what connects us to our audience (or not). If you want to look good, it is imperative that you give your finished look some serious thought*.
*I always recommend hiring a professional hair & makeup artist and brainstorming ideas about what outfits would flatter your figure the most. When it’s time for your photos, planning these steps ahead of time takes a lot of pressure off the experience.
Dress as if you were meeting your ideal client on one of your most confident days
How to pose:
Consider the angle of the camera in relation to the position of your body.
A camera that’s placed low and/or eye-level may show an unflattering angle, possibly highlighting a double chin, even if you don’t have one. Also, if you keep your arms close to your body, you may give the impression that your torso is wider than it really is, which is normally undesirable*.
*I like to ask my clients to turn their head to the side just a bit, to highlight their cheekbone, and I usually shoot with the camera above eye level (climbing on a step stool, if needed), which has a universal slimming effect.
If you’re feeling extra confident, you can experiment with the placement of your arms and shoulders, or twist your torso just a bit, so the photo comes across as more dynamic and less stoic than facing the camera dead-on.
Nancy's photo was taken from above eye level and at a slight angle, which flatters her figure and highlights her cheekbone
How to smile:
Aim to look approachable and trustworthy, but also inject your personality into the smile.
If your line of business is more serious, conservative and/or traditional, you may smile slightly, just a friendly and inviting twist of the lips. However, if your industry offers more flexibility, you can be more creative with your facial expressions, and even use a full-blown giggle, which makes people smile back at you*.
*Some people choose not to smile, but if you have this one photo with one chance to make an impression on someone, do you really want to come across as super serious? Come on, don’t be shy! AND you score bonus points for practicing your smile in the mirror!
An artist has a lot of flexibility when having their photo done - this image makes the viewer wonder what caught Sandra's attention
How to choose good photos:
Not all photos are created equal – you’ll be glad you have options!
First, go with your gut instinct and select your top choices (narrow it down to around 5 images).
Then, compare them based on the following attributes:
*I recommend a new photo every 2-3 years. If you experience some changes, such as weight gain/loss, or a major update in hairstyle, you should also update your photos, so they accurately represent who you are now.
I hope these tips help you when you are considering updating your photo, and, if I may mention the most valuable piece of advice, this is it:
Hire an experienced photographer and trust your photos to a professional that understands all these details, and will work hard to ensure your photos reflect all the wonderful things you are.
It may be an investment upfront, but you will use these photos over and over, making it a great value over time. Paying a fair price for photos that will introduce you in the best way possible to all your future clients is something you will not regret.
Want to see more examples? Click here to see my professional headshot gallery.
Interested in a professional headshot session with me? Click here to learn more.
Click to see availability and book your headshot session
Keywords: laine torres photography, photo session, photo tips, professional headshots, professional photographer
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Laine Torres is a professional photographer who provides branding photography and headshot photos in the Twin Cities Metro Area, MN. Laine works creatively to develop a unique concept for each of her clients that best matches their personality and business goals. Click here to book your initial consultation.
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