It’s a cliché but it’s true!
And building a good rapport with your customers includes presenting a good visual image of you as a representative of your business and the services on offer.
Your photograph may not feature in every marketing pillar you have in place but it should be used in a large majority of them including your website, blog, newsletter, social media profiles and your business card to name but a few.
It is therefore important to consider your photograph as an investment and to approach it in the same professional manner as you would with any of your other business commitments.
I highly recommend that you appoint a professional photographer. Many of us hate having our photos taken but with good guidance it should make for a positive experience and good results for everyone involved.
However, if your budget is a little tight at the moment then it MUST NOT stop you from having your photograph taken. If you can’t afford the services of a professional photographer then ask a friend or a colleague to play “photographer” for a couple of hours.
To help ensure you achieve the right shots, I thought I would share some top tips to keep in mind as you prepare for “the shoot”!
It’s all about Location, Location, Location!
Although the focus will be on you, find a background that is both interesting and appropriate; be aware that if it’s too white and bright then skin tones can look washed out and bland. At the same time backgrounds that are too colourful will compete with the main star of the show – you!
Whether in front of a brick wall or softly focussed landscape always make sure that any lighting (natural or artificial) is not too bright or dazzling as this will make you squint or grimace and also any harsh shadowing will be detrimental to the overall picture.
Feel as comfortable as possible!
If you don’t usually wear a suit to work – then don’t wear a suit during your photo-shoot! You need to be comfortable in your outfit as this will be reflected in your stance (and more of that later). Obviously any clothing should be clean and tidy as it can also be an indicator of you and your business; perhaps consider the subtlety of ‘dressing to impress’?
- Wear neutral tones and muted colours as they will not distract from the main focus – you! Maybe consider the following quote by Canadian, award-winning photographer, Ted Grant: “When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls”. He has over sixty years of experience so probably knows his stuff!
- Clothing should not be too tight – the camera does not lie and it will accentuate any high-living!
- Clothing should not be too loose – this can look overly bulky in a photograph.
Even if you don’t feel confident, act like it for the camera!! If you look confident then this will encourage your customers to feel reassured in both you and your business and will help you to build their trust. So your posture is key and attention to just a few areas can make all the difference:
- Stand proud – throw your shoulders back, extend your neck and turn your head slightly away from the camera.
- Do not face the camera straight-on, instead face your body slightly away from the camera placing your feet pointing away at a 45º angle. At this angle shadows and depth in your pose will be created which is more flattering than a ‘straight-on’ aspect which – basically – flattens and widens the body.
- Lean your head slightly towards the camera as this will help to create the illusion of a sleeker body. Also by tilting your chin down a little helps define the edges of your face.
Focus on your face!
Whilst I have mentioned posture, it’s your face your customers are interested in. So in order to make the most of your fabulous features consider the following:
- It’s important to ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise’ before the “photo shoot” as the camera can enhance any imperfections – however few! Use an exfoliator a few days before the ‘big day’ as this will help your skin to appear brighter, yet be aware of any oily-shine on your skin (especially the t-zone) and blot as necessary.
- If you wear make-up then ensure that any foundation is smoothly applied.
- When in front of the camera and just as the “photographer” is about to press the button – take a deep breath, relax, and slowly open your eyes with a smile before the picture’s taken.
- It may sound strange but by putting the tongue on the roof of the mouth this will shape your chin and jaw-line, plus keep your smile from getting too cheesy!
- Try to relax – it helps if the chosen “photographer” is someone who you can chat and have fun with ….. a real and candid grin looks a million times better than a forced smile.
- Even pretend that you’re laughing! Often, this creates an effortlessly natural smile. Right before the camera flashes, pretend that you just heard a joke. Actually, pretending like this might make you smile anyway!!
Remember “eyes are the windows to the soul” and therefore your eyes are the key to an appealing photograph. However, holding a pose and keeping your eyes engaged is difficult, so close your eyes and then open them. Look away, then look back to the camera. This will help – I promise!
Forget less is more!
In this case, make sure LOTS of photographs are taken. After all, with the advancements of digital photography there is no limit to how many photographs can be taken and therefore a wider choice to be made for the final image you are happy with.
Don’t put it off
In a world of fast and technological advancements where aspects of our businesses and even our personal lives can be acknowledged and scrutinised at the touch of a button, remember that photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.
Until next time, remember …
A picture paints a thousand words so make sure you have a good selection of professional photographs available to use in all of your different marketing pillars.