The Importance of Showing Your Personality in Photos
In my former life, before becoming an entrepreneur, I was at an HR conference in San Diego. (Side note: it was at this conference that I discovered what it meant to be an entrepreneur and I quit this day job only one year later. So you never know when inspiration will hit! haha!). I remember sitting next to my boss at the time and looking over the agenda for those 2 days and he mentioned they were offering free headshots for attending and he’d like to get his updated. I thought that sounded like a good idea, I needed an updated headshot at the time too, so we both got in line to get our free headshot and it was the strangest thing…it was like a conveyor belt of people – stand in line, get makeup, get photo with grey generic background, next person…
One at a time, each person waited in line for their turn to get their makeup done, sit on a little chair in front of a nondescript grey backdrop, have their face blasted with light, pop an awkward and uncomfortable smile on and then get a few photos taken. (Hopefully they’re good!)
I stood in line that day wishing I could tell every single person the things I’m telling you right now. This can be better! Be yourself! Don’t be cookie-cutter! There are more options, I promise! … But that was the nature of this photography round-up, we were cattle-like subjects being herded through the line to be “branded” traditional/stuffy/nondescript.
When it was my turn to sit down, I turned to the photographer and said, “I’m not a huge fan of traditional headshots. Any way you can work with me to get something slightly more fun?” The answer was no. So I sat there, tilted my head at the last minute and flashed the best smile I could.
It’s not a terrible picture, but you couldn’t pick me out of the crowd. In fact, when they sent the link out that included everyone’s photos, you had to scroll through until you found yours… I scrolled past my photo, twice. Haha! It was just a sea of same. (If you’re curious, yes, I do have this headshot posted here).
Your photo is your first introduction, your first impression, the first time strangers see your face. And it only takes someone 31 milliseconds to decide what they think about you. So why do we not put more emphasis on your first online impression, your photo?
Your photo needs to showcase your personality, as real and genuine as you can make it. People want to see YOU not just a headshot, not just any photo, but specifically you. Before they work with you, they want to feel connected to you, this is why showcasing your personality in photos is so important.
For instance, I like to work with fun-loving, honest people who are open, welcoming and inviting. Someone who looks friendly and trustworthy. But you might like to work with someone who’s a little bit more of a straight shooter, type A, get things done kind of person.
Each of these people should have different photos that represent their personality. Person 1 for instance might have an image where they are laughing really hard and not looking at the camera, Person 2 might be staring straight into the camera with a slight eyebrow raised and a small smirk.
It’s time to be yourself and show off how awesome you are!
- – But what if I hate how I look in my photo?
- – We all have our insecurities. No one is immune… But in the photo you hate, I have these follow-up questions: Are you being yourself? Is that how you truly look, act, behave, laugh, smile, etc…?
If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then here’s the truth…
…when you have your own business, it’s not about you. We can get so caught up in how we look in our photos and trying so hard to make it all “perfect”, but the truth is these photos aren’t for us, they’re for our potential clients/customers. They’re for the people deciding whether or not they want to work with us, buy from us or learn from us. These photos are about meeting others where they’re at.
This is why showing your personality (flaws and all) is so important. There’s a vulnerability to it and that’s a good thing.
If you’re looking for a little more proof, I have an amazing case study involving one of my favorites of all time, Lucille Ball, click here to read more (this link also includes my generic photo I reference at the beginning of this post…just sayin’).
Don’t be afraid to show your personality in photos, because who you are is amazing.
P.S. If you’re wondering how you find the right photographer to work with to make this a reality, check out this post on how to find the right photographer for you for more tips.
Post Written by Team Member: Brianne Dosier of Brightly & Co.