Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What impression does your social media image project about you?

Heather W's Facebook Badge HeadshotDo you wish you had a great photo of yourself to display on Social Media sites like facebook and Linkedin?

Do you wish you had a photo of yourself that revealed your true personality and gives others the exact impression you're trying to send out??

If you answered YES, then this is for YOU!

I love facebook and besides being able to re-connect with old friends from grade school and up, I use it to network for my business. Facebook is an amazing venue to use for your professional networking! In addition to building my business with facebook connections, I've been able to reach out and help other professionals with their business.

It doesn't take a professional photographer to know how critical it is to have a good photo to use for this type of social media. Your first impression is a visual one and most people want to look pleasant and personable in the images they use to network and build their business. Trust me on this! When I deliever headshots to my clients, there is a huge difference in the way they approach their business that increases their exposure in the market as well as their bottom line! Not to mention what it does to your confidence to have an amazing photo of yourself to use.

Mari Smith is a 'friend' of mine who is a master networker and bases her business on helping people utilize social media platforms to build their business. I know that she is like me and very selective when accepting a friend request from a stranger. She emailed me this link to an article she wrote addressing the importance of your profile photo. To reference her words from a portion of the article:

"A picture says a thousand words, would you agree? When you receive incoming Facebook friend requests, I'll bet the person's profile picture has a LOT of bearing on your decision to accept their invite or not. See, one of the great aspects of Facebook is the fact we have the opportunity for our face to show up throughout the platform."

There is also an interesting article on the psychology behind your profile photo written by Dr. BJ Fogg where he ends by saying "Your mugshot is the most important element on your Facebook Profile Page, even more important than your name." Click this link to read his entire article.

You don't have to hire a professional photographer to get a great photo of yourself for facebook (especially if you're not using it for your business like these clients of mine). It's all about getting the right angle for you and capturing your personality correctly so that you're sending the professional message YOU want to send and not what others interpret from an image of you.

Here are a few tips:

1- Stick your chin out a little:
People tend to lean back in photos and you'll get that dreaded double chin look if you do! So stick your chin out slightly to avoid that.

2- Lean forward:
By slightly leaning forward (it feels weird, but looks good in the photo) you look more approachable in your image.

3- Don't be too serious:
Most people tend to look mad or angry if they try to give a serious look, so if you want a more serious image or if you don't like your smile then think of something pleasant. I know it sounds strange, but I can tell in my clients eyes when I'm photographing them if they're feeling self concsious or trying to be serious by thinking of something serious. You at least want your eyes to smile or look lighter for a more serious image.

4- Try different compositions:
This can create a fun and more interesting photo than just the normal horizontal and verticle composition. See the images below for different looks that I give my clients. Try an angle, or really close up, or off centered to make your image more intersting!

So if you do want to give a better impression or have a better image of yourself to use, take a look at these as reference and then have a friend/spouse/someone you feel comfortable with take a bunch of shots to see what angle and composition you like best of yourself! Have fun!!

These are all clients of mine who hired me to photograph them so that they could put their best image forward in all of their web and print materials. And they are not models, I promise! Even though they look like they could be, just about all of them told me that they're not photogenic before our shoot together but loved thier photos after.

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