Today we have so many ways to get yourself out there and on social media especially, your image is important and something that contributes to your own personal brand as well as your business. In the past we’ve talked about the difference between headshots and portraits but here we’ll be talking more about how to leverage your image online with headshots and social media portraits.
One of the most important things to consider is what sites you’re using and what goals you have for them. For example on LinkedIn you most likely want a professional image that is a tighter headshot while a personal twitter account might allow for something more casual and your personal Facebook photo would likely be similar.
If you are representing only yourself, you usually have more leeway than if you are representing a company. Either way your image on social media will be a first impression and it’s key to make a good one! How many times have you been looking on LinkedIn for someone with a specific skillset and found a person with a blurry headshot? Probably doesn’t instill confidence does it? Or if someone has an portrait that looks dated, and you end up meeting up and they are 10 years older it can be a bit shocking so it’s also key to stay up-to-date with your photos.
As noted in Forbes last year, “a 2012 report from eMarketer found that 82% of consumers trust a company more — and 77 % are more likely to buy from a company — if the founder uses social media.” That’s from 2012, but still applies now, if not more and almost everyone is on some form of social media.
We’ve been shooting both portraits and headshots for years and have a good idea of what works, but it’s also important to project an image that you want to present. We’ll work with you to create those looks collaboratively so you can have a social media portrait or headshot that works for you.
Once you have new photos, it’s key to determine if you want to use different images for different sites or just one for everything. The benefit to using a single one is that it’s consistent, but there may be places you want something more fun and relaxed vs. what your company may want to present you as.
As we’ve mentioned before, for LinkedIn, you really want a tight headshot – from the shoulders up is ideal since it’s a small thumbnail and doesn’t really have a way to get enlarged, so you want people to know what you look like. On other sites like Instagram and Facebook, for your own profile image feel free to use whatever you like if it’s just your personal account. Some people actually have a company account, personal account, and professional-industry-personal account where their personal one is locked down and just for friends. If you choose to do that you can and will want different images for each one. Similarly if you want to use a professional shot on a dating app like Tinder you might choose something more fun and expressive of your personality.
We use a tight crop in our email signatures similar to what you’d see on LinkedIn. This is another key place where an image makes things more personal. People like working with people they know and like and when you are doing outreach, it is nice to immediately have a face to put a name to. An example of our email signature is shown below:
There are tons of other places where it’s important to control your image and you should leverage the professional social media portraits or headshots you take in all of them. For example if you are on discussion forums or making comments on other blogs you should have your image linked to your profiles there as well.
Don’t forget to check out these tips on how to best prepare for your shoot or if you’d like to get some general tips on how to take the perfect portrait here’s a great article on PhotographyTalk!