December 1, 2016
When I first started my photography business six years ago, I thought I had to have my Facebook Page profile picture that of my very best photo I took at the time. It varied from month to month as I photographed different people and learned new skills. My first photo was probably of Monticello – Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia. I took that photo while on a college trip with a Kodak point and shoot. There were beautiful yellow tulips in the foreground and that gorgeous mansion in the background. I was so proud of that photo. I even framed it and displayed it in my first office.
This would be the first of many mistakes I would make in my baby business. I didn’t release the impact this had on my business at the time. Looking back on it now, I do. But six years ago, I was a newbie. I didn’t have anyone to mentor me, so I was completely clueless.
Fast forward till 2016, I now know the cheapest and EASIEST way to look professional on social media. Have a photo of ME as my profile photo. Like anything else in business, there are do’s and don’ts to this effective marketing tool, so let’s chat about some.
DON’T use a blurry photo taken at a party where there are red solo cups knocked over on a top. Potential clients will see this and move on the next photographer.
DO have a photo where you are smiling, making eye contact with the camera in exceptional light. People will immediately feel connected with you if they can look in your eyes, and smiling makes you appear personable and relatable.
DON’T use a selfie – standing in the bathroom, using the dirty mirror with toothpaste splatter for a reflection. Sheldon Copper would be appalled. You also want to avoid distractions in the background of your photo.
DO have someone else take the photo FOR you. Even if it’s someone who doesn’t take photos like you for an income. You can teach them how to work a camera in two minutes.
DON’T dress in a crazy outfit. Using a photo for your Facebook page where you’re dressed in your monkey suit Halloween custom does not translate as professional, nor reliable.
DO dress in your branding colors, if you have figured out what those are in this stage of your business. My business the first three years went through an identity crisis. I was constantly changing my colors. My first true headshot photo I thought ahead and wore a white shirt because the appearance of the photo would last longer than my previous four “branding colors” did.
If you’re just starting out in photography, give someone a crash course on how to use your camera. My first true “headshot” was taken by my baby sister who was 14 at the time. As I began to make industry friends, more professional headshots were taken.
you’re not a photographer or you don’t have a digital camera, stand in clean light and have someone take a photo for you on your phone. Phone’s now a day are pretty comparable to point and shoot cameras out there. You’ll want to face the clean, even light so there are no harsh shadows on your face.
Here’s an example of a photo taken on my phone where I was facing window light around 2pm.
If I was a newbie in the business, this would be an okay photo to have. The light is even and clean, I’m making eye contact with the camera, and I’m giving that model/smile look. The only downfall is that it’s a selfie. And there’s some distractions in the background.
When you have established your business, it’s always a great idea to have updated headshots taken once a year. It’s a great way to experience what it’s like in front of the camera, and your clients will be able to recognize what you look like now, instead of five years ago!
One final piece of advice, go back through your Facebook business page profile photos and delete photos that clients will find unappealing. About a year ago I took a machete to photos and kept only the ones there were of ME!