Friday, July 25, 2008

INFO: What Does Your Photo Say About You?

There is one graphic which you should include on all your marketing materials, including your website, and no, it's not your logo. It's your photo. It amazes me that people will spend hours choosing the colours and design of their marketing materials, pay hundreds to a designer for a fancy logo, and then add a duff photo which does them no justice at all. So in this article, I want to share some tips on how you can get a great photo for your website or marketing materials that really shows you off to your best advantage.

First of all, why is it important to have a personal photo on your website or other marketing materials? Because people are curious about you. It's true that 'people buy people', and this is especially true when you're the one providing the end service to the client. YOU are the most unique part of your business. So how can you make sure you get a great photo that communicates who you are and speaks directly to your target audience.

How can you get a great photo for YOUR marketing materials?

Here are my top tips.

Go to a professional.If you want to have a collection of great photos for your marketing materials, then go to a professional Find a local photographer who has a studio. (In the UK you can expect to pay £50-70 for a sitting.)

Relative to the importance on your marketing materials, this is a tiny amount to pay. What photographers normally do is give you a contact sheet of all the photos taken during the session so you can choose the best ones, and then you just pay for the prints you want. My photographer gave me a CD of all the digital photos so I could select the ones I wanted.

Just one word of warning, steer clear of the 'fancy' photographic studios who offer discounted sessions up front. They want to sell you a £600 framed photo for your wall not a collection of photos you can use in your marketing and if you read the small print carefully, you'll notice that you don't actually own the copyright on the photos they take, they do. It's much easier to pay the full fee and get what you want.

Take lots of photos. Tell the photographer you want a range of shots in different poses - standing, sitting, headshots, full length. The last photo session I had I took a range of outfits in different colours and styles so I had business, smart casual and informal. You'll want to take lots of photos so you have more to choose from. I get nice comments on the photo I use on my website, but trust me, that was one of the best of the bunch. Out of 100 shots taken, maybe 10-15 are usable.

Take a trip to the hairdresser's before you go. This tip may apply more to women than men, but it's worth taking a trip to the hairdresser's (for a wash and blowdry, not a cut) before you get to the photographer. This week I got an email newsletter from an image consultant. She was doing an awful lot right in her newsletter - strong headline, good writing, but the photo really let her down.

She was captured in a pose and she looked uncomfortable, she had a frozen 'rabbit caught in the headlights' look on her face, but what really let her down was her hair. Her own photo did not do her justice and called into question her credibility as an image consultant.

Think context. If you're a coach who works with teens then the image you portray will be different than if you are working with senior executives in blue chip organisations. Choose colours and styles that are appropriate to your target audience.

Connect with your audience. Feel self-conscious? Hate having your photo taken? The camera doesn't lie, and if you feel uncertain or are asking for approval it will show in your photo, so before your photo session, think about who you most want to help, and why you want to help them. That sense of purpose transcends self-consiousness.

Look into the lens, and imagine that your ideal client, the one you most want to help, the reason you started your business in the first place, is looking back at you. Imagine you are looking into her eyes. That will give your photo warmth and connection.

It's OK for you to shine! In a world of insecurity, we need role models who exude confidence, love what they do and aren't afraid of sharing it with others. As Marianne Williamson said, 'as you shine, you give permission for others to shine too.' So be bold and get yourself out there. I want to see great photos of you plastered all over your marketing materials!


This message has been posted on HMGoogleGroup by: Andy Says
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