Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Why a great picture is still important in business.

A couple of years ago I started taking driving lessons (better late than never) and so I went online to look for an instructor.
As you can probably imagine there were a huge number of choices in my area. I eventually decided on one after a few hours of looking.
Was the choice based on pass rates? Nope.
How about a really impressive website? Not so much.
Maybe the price? No... Well ok, maybe a little bit but this still wasn't my main reason.
I chose the instructor who looked friendly in her picture. My reasoning being that I was going to have to spend hours in a car with her so it needed to be someone who I could get along with (and as it turned out I needed two tests this time a lot longer than I was expecting...).

Your business works hard at projecting the right image, from it's website through to flyers and brochures and even how staff dress, but there are still a whole bunch of businesses that end up with photographs of their staff that are little more than (or in some cases exactly the same as) snapshots that belong on Facebook. What do they say about you?

An example. I was at a music festival and my friend's son took a picture of me in a helmet he'd just bought that happened to match the T shirt I was wearing at the time.

Pretty right? This went straight up on Facebook and caused a large amount of hilarity. Fair enough. It's a snapshot taken at an event, people want to see silliness. But would you hire this guy to take your wedding photographs?
How about this one:
Better. Nice lighting, a bit of gentle photoshopping (not that I'm vain or anything) and presenting a much better, professional image. This is the portrait I use for my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.

The thing that a lot of people forget is that a photograph can say an awful lot about you. The subconscious cues really do have an effect on the viewer.

Lets look at angles.

I took both of these portraits on the same day using the same equipment but they have a very different effect. The one on the left is taken from a slightly lower angle. this emphasises the strength of the jaw, closes the eyes a little and makes the subject seem much more dominant and perhaps a little aggressive. On the right, from an angle that is much more level with the eyes he seems more approachable, more friendly (for the record he's a really nice guy, not scary at all).
So what does your photograph say about you?

If you want to have some great portraits taken I'm currently running a competition to win a day of photography for your business for free. There are also other prizes of discounts.
Details here
You just need to send me a DM on Twitter or an email to enter.

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