In a recent post… I recommended polishing up your website + social media profiles as a solid way to kick off 2018 (which is already a month gone, yikes!) on the right foot.
Well friends, your portrait photo (AKA your profile pic) is, believe it or not, a BIG part of that polishing process.
Now, when we start talkin’ profile pix (not “practice,” but if you want a good laugh, check out former NBA great Allen Iverson’s infamous “practice” rant), business owners often wind up divided into one of four camps…
First, there’s the “why do I need a photo on my website?” and “why do I need a profile pic on (insert social network here)?” camp.
Second, there’s the cute kitty cat or duckbilled platypus or business logo profile pic camp.
Third, is the “yes, I’m using my 20+ high school graduation photo as my profile pic” camp.
And finally, the “Why do need to hire a pro photographer? My husband/cousin/best friend’s hairdresser/neighbor’s dogsitter does photography, they can do it!” camp.
In the interest of dispelling those oft-invoked and terribly misguided objections, I’m going to answer each in turn, so buckle up, friends!
1. The “Why to I even need a profile pic?” Camp
Why? Because people do business with PEOPLE. Not faceless entities devoid of humanity.
Your prospects want to know there’s a legit person behind your business. Not just some Nigerian extortionist, Russian controlled txt bot, or Replicant android escaped from the Blade Runner Movie (either the original or the sequel!).
A picture makes you a REAL person. A living, breathing human with thoughts and feelings, who’s capable of providing considered, valuable knowledge. Not just another featureless DBA trolling the interwebs for easy prey.
2. Cute Kitty Cat, Duckbilled Platapus or Company Logo As Profile Pic Camp
Most of the sentiments expressed above apply here, too. But with a couple of additional notes…
As cute as your kitty cat pic might be, and as quirky as you think your duckbilled Platypus (or insert exotic creature here) pic makes you seem, they’re just not — in a word — professional.
And listen, I get it… I’m the last guy who wants to come off as stodgy and humorless. Moreover, I look TERRIBLE in photographs! Check out my profile pic at the upper right-hand corner of this page… Is there a less photogenic guy? NOPE!
But regardless, cute + quirky animals pix (or whatever substitute image you dream up) don’t make you seem fun or hide your (perceived) unappealing appearance.
Rather, they make you seem Mickey Mouse and faaaaaaaaaaaaaaar less than serious. WhHich is a UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE turn off to prospective clients.
And lastly, going with just a company logo? Again, all the points illustrated in point 2 apply here… People don’t want to do business with your logo. They want to do business with YOU! And your photos PROVES you’re a REAL person.
3. The “I look GREAT it this pic! (Never mind that it was shot in 1978)” Camp
I get it, a GOOD photo is HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD to part with. In that moment — the setting, the lighting, the camera angle, your hair + makeup, the outfit — you looked PERFECT! How can you let go of that???
Well… If a prospect turns into a paying customer, they’re likely to meet you in person or see a recent photo of you online somewhere.
And when they realize that you look NOTHING like the photo you’ve been using to pimp your services across the interwebs, it’s going to give them pause…
“If he’s not being straightforward about his appearance, what else is he hiding???” Is probably the first thing they’ll start wondering about you.
Bottom line, update your photo every 3-5 years. Everyone ages. It’s just a fact. Own it and be true to yourself and your biz. Don’t hide behind a 30-year-old photo of you taken in another life.
4. And Finally, the “I don’t need to hire a ‘pro’ photographer” Camp
Oh, your husband/cousin/best friend’s hairdresser/neighbor’s dogsitter dabbles in photography? Well, isn’t that’s wonderful for them!
It doesn’t mean they should “practice” their “hobby” on you. Especially not when the results are intended to make an impression in very important professional situations.
Don’t know any professional photographers?
That’s easy… “Dear Google, ‘professional photographers in [insert your location here]'”
And here’s a HOT TIP: Check out Yelp. However you feel about Yelp, it’s, like it or not, a GREAT place to find this sort of vendor… Reviewers offer insight into the overall experience and judge the final results. Tells you everything you need to know about working with a prospective photographer.
Don’t want to (or can’t) pay a lot to hire a photographer?
For better or worse, digital photography’s ease of use has driven the price of photography waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down.
In Venice, CA, only a few miles from me as the crow flies, a photographer (operating out of his garage studio) offers a three headshot package for only $100.
Now, $100 ain’t nothin’, but it ain’t a bad deal. Most importantly, he does solid work.
And I’ll willing to bet, there’s a similar vendor in your area.
Make Getting New Pix For Your Website + Social Pages a Goal for 2018
If you want to be PERCEIVED as a pro, you’ve got to LOOK like a pro. And professional portraits is the key capturing that look!
P.S. Have a good resource for local photographers? Swing by my Google+ page and share!