Your Personal Photo Is Your Marketing Brand

Since I’ve been concentrating on LinkedIn, I notice something totally disconcerting. So many people, even professionals, use snapshots rather than professional photos. I see images where people look surprised they are being photographed, or worse, wacky. Images of you with your kids, hugging your partner in front of the Grand Canyon, your dog, or no photo at all… what on earth do you think you are doing posting a photo of yourself like that?

Photos are a language that speaks volumes. Rule #1 of branding yourself as a successful what-ever-you-are is Increase Your Visibility. All things being equal, the more visible competitor wins.

Viewers read things into photos that you never even considered. Here are some points to keep in mind:

Your photo says lots about you. Do you look friendly, confident and capable?

If you have a professional photo, it implies you can afford to hire a professional. If you don’t you’re either too cheap, unsuccessful, stupid, or don’t care. That’s what people think.

  • A professional photo can make you look active and engaged.
  • Your photo should imply you are a leader in your field.
  • A professional photo builds your credibility.
  • Perception is reality. An amateur photo makes you look unprofessional and NOT what you say you are.
  • Logic loses out to emotion. Photos speak to emotion.
  • No glamour shots or Olin Mills images with lots of light blown into your face. (Thus showing my pre-Photoshop age history)
  • Use props that are relevant to what you do. Or hold a pen or reading glasses in your hand. This makes you look active.
  • Nobody cares how old you are, what you weigh, or if you have a zit. A professional photographer can make you look spectacular.
  • A professional photographer can pull out your personality and make the viewer feel they know you.
  • Wear something relaxed and appropriate. Stiff, uncomfortable clothing will make you look stiff and uncomfortable.
  • Don’t wear prints, jewelry, scarves or anything else that will distract from your face, or be dated in a few years.
  • Be who you are. A great photo of yourself should last you several years. But, don’t use your photo from when you were 22 and now you’re 52.
  • Once you invest in a great photo, put it everywhere including on your business cards.
  • An excellent photo should cost you under $300. If it is too inexpensive, you may not be working with an experienced photographer who can make you look great.

There are a few things you need to invest in to be taken seriously as a business owner. One of them is a professional photo. I know not everyone is enthusiastic about having their photo taken. I have actually seen people cry during a photo shoot. But, I’ve also seen what appear to be shy people “bring it” to the party. Remember, a good photo can be used for many years.