Some years ago, I was selected to be a part of one of those “xx under xx” lists by a national publication. The interview went great and everything was OK until they told my PR rep that they wouldn’t be able to send a photographer and therefore I would have to provide the picture. I panicked, because I didn’t have any professional pictures. Long story short, because of my laziness and the fact that I always focused on placing my clients on the magazine rather than myself; the interview was published with a terrible picture.
After that not so flattering experience, I learned the lesson and set up a photoshoot for myself. Today, continue that trend in order to make sure that if I need a professional picture on a moment’s notice, I have access to one.
I’m not alone on this. Very often I encounter situations in which people are required to provide their pictures and they fall short on providing a professional one. If you are an entrepreneur, a mid or senior level executive or a pundit, make sure that among your media materials; you have a professional high-resolution picture available. Nowadays, you need your bio and professional picture not only for potential speaking or writing opportunities, but also to leverage your social profile online. If you don’t have one, don’t wait until you need it and set up a photo shoot for yourself as soon as possible.
– Find a good photographer who can deliver the type of pictures that you need. A good photographer has nothing to do with the price tag or how many celebrities he/she has photographed. You are not a celebrity; find a photographer with experience in corporate shots, which is what you’ll need. Avoid background props, and other items that will take the focus away from you. A light solid background is best when it comes to these types of pictures.
– If you are a woman, get your hair and make up done by professionals. Let’s face it, you probably deal with beauty professionals all the time, but don’t use them for yourself frequently. This is a good excuse to get pampered beyond the typical hair color and/or mani/pedi combo.
– Dress your best for the type of industry that you represent. If your business is in entertainment, you may not want to wear a business suit, but that doesn’t mean that you should wear jeans, spaghetti straps, hat or sunglasses. Wear something that you feel comfortable with and that represents you, but remember that these are professional pictures. Bring 2-3 outfits so that you can have options. If you work for different industries, select appropriate wardrobes according to the industries that you are involved with.
Most important, your professional picture should reflect the way that you want people, including potential clients, to see you. Your picture is more than a shot, it’s your presentation card; the first impression of you that many will have. Don’t you want to look at your best? Think of it as an investment and treat yourself as you would a client. Wouldn’t you send the press a picture of your client taken inside his car, right? Don’t do it for yourself either.