Many professional women lack a professional photo on their social media pages, especially LinkedIn. The saying “a picture says a thousand words” is really true. Head hunters spend 19% of their first glimpse of your profile focusing on your photo. So it has to be absolutely right.
A high number of women are unwilling to invest in a professional shot, mainly because of cost and take short cuts with photos taken by partners and even their kids. This is false economy and should be revisited if you are thinking of going down that path.
Many women say they want to look like “me” or “authentic.” These are pretty meaningless wishes in a professional context. What your image needs to convey is competence and that you can deliver results in the readers chosen area of activity. You might be a free spirit, with a huge laugh and a big heart, but somehow your look has to be authoritative and right for the people you want to connect with. It is different of course for personal pages when you have freedom to be quirky and zany if you want to be.
7 tips for the perfect professional photo
Select the best photographer for you
A good professional photographer will normally spend time chatting to a client to get a sense of their personality and goals. You will be asked to bring a wardrobe selection to the photo shoot and a decision will be made where to have the photo taken. Most photographers offer the option of a studio shoot or outside with natural lighting. He will guide you to making the right decision for you. If you don’t feel you are being listened to then shop around.
What are your goals?
What is the end use of your image? Most photographers will do a classic head and shoulders for a web site, conference programme or LinkedIn profile and throw in some “fun” shots for other occasions. If you want another look, discuss your vision with the photographer and how he thinks he could achieve that result.
Choose your wardrobe carefully
Discuss with the photographer beforehand what he recommends and take a choice of outfits. For professional images keep it simple and tasteful. Viewers want to look at your face not your jewelry or brightly patterned jacket or dress. You may want to invest in a trip to the hairdressers and you will possibly need more make-up than usual. If your look is more natural your photographer will probably apply products to reduce shine. Some photographers work with a makeup artist for the all-out “glam” look. Don’t be put off – you can look as natural or made up as you want! Looking natural takes a lot of work! Anda lot of products.
Perfect your pose
Work on the pose with your photographer. She will know immediately how to make you feel relaxed and at ease, and give you guidance to make you look wonderful. Remember you are fabulous!
If you have any beauty routines get them done before the shoot. You wouldn’t want your pic to be ruined by broken nails or crazy eyebrows. Take a suitcase to the shoot and pack some basic beauty items, hairbrush, hair drier or hot brush, make up, changes of outfits, different accessories and shoes. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep and give alcohol and caffeine a miss so your skin looks fresh and rested. Floss you teeth!
Relax and enjoy
A professional photo shoot is great fun. Enjoy it and work with your photographer to get the best results. She will chat to you as she’s taking shots and tweak your posture and facial expression to make you look wonderful. Let her worry about your double chin, blemishes or frown line.
Photoshop or not?
Women are notoriously hard on themselves and fret about their pictures, even women who look wonderful. Photos tap into our deepest insecurities. It is possible to photo shop some details, but make sure that you don’t overdo it. If you are 55 then anyone who meets you in person will have a shock if you have been photo shopped to look 35 and 10 kilos lighter. The best advice is to keep it real (ish)!
We asked Ralitza Soultanova, Professional Photographer, her thoughts on creating a perfect professional profile photo.
Your should define your message by adapting your clothing and body language for your photo
• Have a clear view on how you want to be perceived by a potential employer or business partner
• Discuss your message with the photographer, who will help you show it in the pictures
• Dress accordingly to your message and to the desired job. For example: do not use suit and white shirt for a creative position