“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” Yes this old cliché is increasingly more relevant in today’s high-speed digital world where the amount of time spent on social networking sites have created more first impression opportunities than ever before. It seems like we are shaking less hands and even a greater decline in eye contact; enter the necessary professional portrait.
My good friend Tom Milne of Milne Photography points out that more and more people are coming to his studio to capture that all important professional pose. This increased demand isn’t only for the company website or for job seekers. It’s interest comes from representing that individual to the world via social media.
Social media began as college students being social online not as a professional environment. But today sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are providing businesses and their executives an opportunity to connect where connections may have never existed before. It is difficult to find an Executive with disheveled hair or a seat belt across his tie taken with a mobile phone. We see a thought-out digital representation of the individual.
How do you capture a great professional representation of yourself?
Well, there are many factors to be aware of when capturing a great portrait (Light, lens, environment, outfit, hair, skill, etc..). I want to know what people like you and me can do on our end, what we have control of, to easily facilitate a professional photographer.
On stylishlyme.com I’m primarily know as a style fashion photographer so I decided to get some backup from my good friend Tom of Milne Photography about professional photography. Milne has been passionate about photography since his youth and after 20 years of photography experience, (shooting in the Navy, and running his own studio) and being an award winning photographer, his opinon was a valuable one I’d like to share.
Here are some of the best info from our conversation for you to consider:
Pick the right photographer for you
Selecting the right photographer takes some careful consideration. If you’re not located near Tom Milne, ask around for recommendations, research photographers through their portfolios, locate corporate headshots that you like, and don’t be afraid to interview a photographer you would like to hire. Feeling comfortable is key and having a person you can trust will make the difference between a OK session and a great session!
Remember: as an important rule, you’re likely to get what you pay for.
Know what you want
Just like the other activities involved in branding, business portraits should be well-thought. Some things to think about:
Has your company set a brand standard already? Bring an example of your company’s photos so that your photographer create the same look.
What tone are you trying to express with the photo? Corporate? Serious? Approachable?
Who is your primary audience? Other professionals and businesses or consumers? Or both?
Give yourself time to relax before shooting
Photographers like Tom and I understand that people are not used to being in front of the camera all the time and because of this unfamiliarity they are likely to get nervous about the whole process. The longer you have to relax before beginning, the better.
A great trick is to start the session in your least favorite outfit. Since you might feel nervous and awkward, it’s best to save the best for last when you’re relaxed.
Clothes make the person
Here are some dos and don’ts you should consider:
DO wear solid colors! Patterns can be loud or distracting which will take away from the most important part of the photo: your face!
DON’T wear spaghetti straps or any of those crazy crisscrossed wrap/blouse things.
DO choose shirts that have something of interest around the collar and neckline.
DO bring at least 3 – 5 outfit options. Options, options, options. You’ll appreciate the flexibility when choosing settings, backgrounds, and makeup.
Invest in Options!
Milne highly recommends taking a variety of images in different outfits and settings so that you can keep your image and your various social media presences fresh while maintaining a consistent tone and message.
FYI: Facebook supports a 2×3 crop ratio, which means they’ll display the entire image. Twitter & Gravatars on the other hand uses a square aspect ratio of either 73×73 pixels or 48×48 pixels. Remember that you or Twitter will crop the image to fit inside a square. Keeping these in consideration will make sure your photo is represented well thought our social media presence.
Having not only a great photographer but the right photographer for you will be get help to your business and your energy in social media. By using the techniques above, I hope you will be able to capture that professional image that will help open doors and create relationships.