We live in the land of magic smart phones and instant selfies. I can bet almost any one person 1 million dollars right now, that you have at least 10 selfies on your smart phone at any given time? I know I am guilty! The problem with the selfie generation though, is I see too many professionals who use these as their head shots for their portfolios, websites, and branding. Mostly Im talking to the professional photographer, but this can go for any professional. I think as a self portrait for a professional, we should try to steer clear of using these pics for professional use. You may have perfect lighting, a good quality phone, and beautiful interiors in your car, but Im hear to tell you, No. A big fat, Minnesota nice, NO. Challenge yourself to take your professionalism to the next level. You may even have taken your self portrait with a professional camera, but lets talk about what is professional and what pushes the line of inappropriate, and the purpose of a self portrait.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING
You may be just starting out in your business, but you dont have to show that to your audience by having lousy self portraits. First impressions are EVERYTHING. If you are putting up non-professional, low quality self portraits, then your client will attach that to the work you are going to produce. Match your brand to the way they will see you first, which is usually your self portrait on your website. Make a good first impression.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE, KNOW YOURSELF
Ask yourself, does your self portrait reflect your personality? Does it draw your target client to you? Maybe you are happy go lucky wedding photographer who wants to shoot weddings with couples that are just as excited about their wedding as you. Well, then probably dont take a self portrait that makes you look somber and reserved. Another example, if you are a newborn photographer who is trying to win the trust of a new mom to hand over her precious baby to you, then dont take a photo of your self looking all crazy eyes! Take a warm, inviting photo of yourself that shows your gentle side and a soft lighting that draws that client in to trust you.
Now, you may pride yourself on your spunky personality, and be tempted to take a photo of your eyebrows and hair only. This could maybe be categorized as creative, but I strongly feel that your client needs to still see an aspect of professionalism they can trust, even if you are a really fun person. Also, seeing your eyes is important because a person connects with the eyes. Make sure you weigh these differences as you step out into creativity and uniqueness. I won’t squash your God given desire to be artsy and unique, but I just warn you to watch your boundaries still.
It is already enough of a challenge to be on the other side of the camera and look natural, but add in that you are doing it with one arm, adds to your your problems. You have a few options here actually. 1) you could hire someone. This is a good idea that gives you the edge in the way that a professional head shot photographer will direct you in looking your best. It is an expense I think is worth the investment when its the first time your clients will be meeting your face. 2) Have someone you know with a nicer camera help you out or trade services. Or have a group of photographer friends trade head shots! If you have NO budget and need something upgraded from a car selfie, then this works too. Help portray to them what you want to come across to your clients. 3) Have your hubby or wife grab your cam! Luckily my husband does a great job taking my photos. (see above). I am very thankful for this. 4) You can use a tri pod. Again, it much more helpful having a little direction from another human being to get a good shot of you and to shine your personality, but some people are amazing at using a tri-pod all the same.
Above are my current head shots that I use for my business. I am a wedding photographer, and an outdoor lifestyle portrait photographer. So my self portrait portrays the lighting and editing style that I use in my work. I also try to portray my personality through my photos, and I like to laugh and smile and be encouraging to my clients. I hope these hit that mark! I also use my self portraits on ALL my social media and branding. Everything matches using these photos. ( Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram. ) When I change my website, I change all the media images so it creates a recognizable look to my business that clients will remember and connect to.
Hope these tips help! Your self portrait is an important part of your business! Make sure you dont cheat yourself or your business by making this crucial mistake. I do head shots also, so feel free to contact me to get a professional self portrait!
What do you think about self portraits for business? What do hope yours portrays? Id love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!!