When you’re in the media and blogging world, it’s important for your audience to put a face to your name.
A picture can help humanize your work and, more importantly, push viewers to personally feel connected to you. This is a critical step in building a loyal following.
But not any old selfie will do. The wrong image could be a credibility killer.
Your profile photo across platforms should scream consistency, quality, and professionalism, and showcase your personality.
Here are six tips for taking the perfect headshot.
1. Be consistent with your brand.
Whatever the personality is behind your branding — whether you have a personal website, blog, or just live on social channels — be sure to embody that. If you are the clean-cut and sophisticated professional, it only makes sense to wear professional clothing with conservative accessories. But, if you want your brand to be more down-to-earth, don’t hesitate to wear jeans and a fun top to attract your ideal audience. Don’t fall into the trap of wearing a suit and tie just because that’s what you “should” do. Bonus if you can incorporate your brand’s colors into your ensemble.
2. Be true to you.
As a blogger or journalist, you’re likely to meet a lot of contacts in person or via webcam. Stay consistent with how you present yourself at those times, so potential audiences know who to look for. There’s no need to do heavier makeup or to try something new simply for a good photo — because at the end of the day, you want your headshot to help people recognize you.
3. Pick the right photographer.
Hiring a professional can make all the difference. But, make sure your vision closely aligns with his or her current body of work. Some photographers work in studios and have a more editorial feel, while others are considered natural-light artists with a photo-journalistic approach. Perhaps you and your brand are about the production and excitement, this would lean more toward an editorial style that would belong in a magazine. If you want to showcase your friendly-over-formal nature, it would be best to find someone who specializes in authentic and straight-forward images.
4. Location matters.
This is likely to partially be determined by the photographer, but be clear about what you like and if there’s a place special to you. Your office. Your home. Or, think outside the box. If your brand is centered around natural elements, why not have your pictures taken outside? If your photographer is based in a studio, consider which background colors would work best with your website. For instance, if you have a primarily white background and insert a photo with a dark background, it might feel out of place and confusing to your audience.
5. Consider accessories and props.
When it comes to props less is certainly more, but if there is something unique to what you do or something people know you for, feel free to include this in your photoshoot. Maybe you’re never caught without a certain accessory or you always post about your favorite coffee mug. Don’t be afraid to incorporate these. The more that you can showcase your personality and uniqueness, the more memorable and relatable you become.
6. Connect the dots.
Once you have your photos, make your branded presence consistent across related platforms. If someone goes to your site, then travels to your Twitter and LinkedIn pages, they should be able to see the correlation between the sites and recognize this as the same person.
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Author Kim Garrison is a product manager at Cision. She is also a snowboarder, photographer, and Washington Capitals fan.