[The following post is courtesy of Giles Fabris, vteams West Coast division.]
During my time as CEO of BetterBusinessShots and LookBetterOnline.com (companies whose sole focus was to provide people with online profile photos), I’ve looked at more headshots than most people will see in a lifetime.
Out Of 11 Million Photos, 5 Percent Passed
Based on data my team and I collected over a period of several years, we found that people who post a certain type of online profile photo get anywhere from 2-4 times better results. Even more staggering, a meager 5 percent of people had what was characterized by the public as “good” photos.
Businesspeople just like you put great effort into designing a company website, investing endless hours developing a grasp on what customers really want and working to make written content as compelling as possible. But if their photos fail to communicate their statuses as competent, approachable professionals, that work can be rendered null.
Good photos will always make a lasting impression.
If you’re not getting the work or are attracting the wrong sort of customers, perhaps part of your problem might be that you have a “business photo blind spot.”
Any website’s variation of the “Meet The Team” page serves to express what that company is made of. Customers will (subconsciously) associate bad photos with bad business, whether this is accurate or not. At the end of the day, it’s the perception that counts.
Here are six basic ways to optimize your headshot.
1. Photos must be in context
It’s not just the quality of the photo; the context is important too. If you’re selling a professional service, your photos must show suitable business attire. Conversely, if you’re selling skateboards then you’ll look more appropriate in board shorts and a t-shirt.
2. Photos must have a shallow depth of field.
Photos that have a “wow factor” often have what’s called a “shallow depth of field.” This means that the subject is in sharp focus while the background of the picture is blurred. The reason for this is that this style tends to feel more intimate and personal, eliciting a better viewer response.
3. Photos must be ½ body shots.
Photos that are taken too closely don’t work, just as photos that are taken too far away don’t work. Stick with a happy medium.
4. Photos must not be taken with an artificial background of any kind.
Artificial backgrounds are cheesy; people simply don’t like them.
5. Photos should be taken at eye level.
Ensure that the subject is not looking down towards the camera (even if they are tall.) No one likes people looking down on them.
6. No fake smiles or frowns.
No one likes to see a grumpy person. Smile if you can, and if you can’t, don’t fake it. Do what makes you comfortable.