Let me start with a disclaimer. Tacky photos are my pet peeve, so I’m going to be really blunt about this subject. So here it is in a nutshell, if you want to be taken seriously then present yourself seriously! Honestly, if you don’t care enough to invest in professional photos, then don’t expect potential clients to invest in your product/ service.
Every week I get at least a dozen aspiring professionals that want to elevate their personal brand. When I look at their marketing materials I am often appalled at the quality of the personal photos. I see pictures that were clearly taken by ‘cousin alex’ at a birthday party, then cropped to only show their face. I witness images that are grainy, hazy or at least 15 years old. Did I mention photos taken with a cell phone in the bathroom at home? All I can say is TACKY , TACKY, TACKY!! If you want to establish yourself as a brand to be reckoned with, then start simply with professional photos.
Now I know what you are thinking…the last thing you want is to have some high fa looting photographer slap a bunch of make-up on you and take some pictures that look NOTHING like you. Don’t worry your little head about that, there are many ways to showcase yourself in a flattering and authentic light. So here are the rules for choosing a photographer.
1. Choose your style: By this I mean style of photography. Do you want Glamor Head Shots, Lifestyle/ Portrait Shots, Editorial Photos (don’t worry I will describe the difference a little later in this post)? Being clear about how you want to be showcased is very important.
2. Personal referral: Only use a photographer that has photographed someone you know. Just because a photographer showcases good photos on their website, doesn’t mean they are a good photographer. It is easier to judge a photographer if he has photographed someone you know. It gives you a gauge for how well he/ she can capture your authenticity.
3. Its ALL about the makeup: Many photographers like to work with specific make up artists. Try to have a conversation with the makeup artist in advance. Explain the look you are trying to accomplish, even show photos of yourself or others that you like. NOTE: its important to know that you will most certainly look like a drag queen after the makeup is applied, but photo lights are harsh, the make up helps with deflecting the light correctly.
4. RELAX: Its important to be relaxed when you take your photos. Don’t be so preoccupied with posing. Just be yourself and let the photographer do the rest.
Types of Photos
Earlier, I mentioned 3 types of photography. They are all good for different reasons. I personally have all three types.
- Glamour Head Shots: Ideal for presenting a professional presence. Great for bios, personal appearances and media photos.
- Lifestyle/ Portrait Shots: Perfect to communicate your personal brand. These images are not staged (unlike Glamor and Editorial), and they should reflect you in your natural habitat doing what comes naturally.
- Editorial Photos: Usually reserved for appearances in print media where you are a feature story. Should have a personal touch with a professional flare.
Still think professional photos are a waste of money? Ask yourself this question. If I had a chance to win a million dollars based on my photo alone, would I win?
Happy Branding Everyone…
Photo Credits: Jai Stone Glamor (pic by Reggie Anderson/ Makeup by Linda Dupree); Jai Stone Editorial (pic by Derek Blanks/ Makeup by Saisha Beechum); Jai Stone Lifestyle (pic by MilesCoaltrain/ Makeup by Jai Stone compliments of MAC Cosmetics)