I Bet You’d Never Guess Your Photography Profile Picture Matters!

Have you put much thought into your Facebook, Instagram or your “About Page” profile picture on your website?  Maybe you have, but you’re not sure if you chose the right one.  We’re here to help!

We’re in the business of creating beautiful images, which means we should care just as much about our own photos and profile picture as we do about the photos we deliver to our clients, right? Well, if you’re like me, I dread having my own photo taken, and choosing a profile picture for social media and your website can be a pretty daunting decision. Here’s why making the extra effort to choose the right one can help your business…

People want to get to know YOU!

I get it, we ALL love those pictures we took at Glamor Shots back in high school, but let’s be real, it’s time to update those profile pictures and make sure it’s an accurate representation of who we are. I actually had a client say to me, “oh, you look different, is she the one in your profile picture (pointing to my now five year old)?”  Yup, it’s four years old, and I looked much younger back then.  It’s time to put your camera on a timer and snap an updated shot or ask a friend to help you out. (Plus it helps when you arrive to a session and your client can immediately recognize you.)

professional profile picture

People want to trust you by nature.

Trust is such an important thing in ANY business. Clients are often letting us into their lives, and trusting us with their families, often spending their hard earned cash.  Sometimes a client will contact you to photograph a special time in their life, such as an illness or the birth of a new baby. There’s nothing more intimate than that! Your profile picture needs to convey that you’re someone they can place their bets on and open up to! I would argue that YOU are going to sell yourself more than your photography portfolio (although we want that to be great too). Choose a photo that people can relate to.  Smile, be open with your body language.  Choose a photo that you think would have someone say “hey, they look really nice!”

*Just to throw a fact out there, it’s said that 80% of a first impression is based on perceived trustworthiness and competence.

You want to create a connection through your profile picture.

I remember hearing somewhere that when people are interviewing for a new position, they will more likely choose the person they like and can picture themselves getting along with, verses the best qualified candidate. This means that your client’s initial impression of you really DOES matter. Is your profile picture inviting? Do you look fun and genuine? Would your clients want to hang out with you for an hour during their session?  This connection will always lead to more ease during a session.  You want your clients to feel as if they have already known you for years!

profile photo

In the photo above, the client wanted a friendly/inviting headshot for her internal company profile.  The goal, as the head of her department, is to be approachable and fun. She wants her colleagues to be reminded that she’s easy to talk to and friendly.

You should be authentic.

Another major feeling that people need to convey in their profile pictures when selling a service, is authenticity.  This is directly related to trust.  Smile with your eyes in your profile picture and you’re 90% there!

photography profile picture

This is me. I tried really hard to smile genuinely through my eyes. This is one of the VERY few photos that I look like myself. It’s not forced or fake.  Photo credit to Madelein DeWier, a fellow Cole’s Clique Mate who snapped this photo during the workshop in San Diego recently. (Seriously guys, you should go to the next one, it was a BLAST!)

Not sure your profile picture is what you really want? See what other people think! Ask your friends or check out Photofeeler.com where you can have strangers rate you on three categories: Do you look genuine? Do you look fun? Do you look confident? Look, I know being judged is scary…but this is actually pretty harmless if you don’t take things too personally.  I would recommend choosing your top three profile contenders and have a few people vote and see what photo gets the best results.  It can be REALLY informative.

Relate to your client in your photo.

Taking a little time to determine who your ideal client is can really help with your profile picture choice.  If you are wanting to attract high-end brides, maybe avoid a profile picture in your pajamas. Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but you get the idea.  For example, if your target audience is moms with young kids, maybe put up a photo with your baby or toddler.  Are you interested in providing headshots for young professionals? Having people relate to you is key. This is also why you should target your “about” page on your website to your ideal client.  To read more about how to attract your ideal client, click here and here!

profile picture

What about using your professional logo?

Obviously there is no ONE way to do anything in the world and some photographers would rather use their logos as their profile pictures. This isn’t a no-go, but people aren’t going to connect on a personal level as they will if they see your face.

A few quick tips for choosing your photo!

  1. Choose a non-distracting background, if possible.
  2. Dress-up. If there is ever a time to look professional and put on REAL pants, it’s for your profile picture. Seriously, it’s actually fun and gives you a chance to be in your clients’ shoes. Ask a friend, your child, or your significant other to snap a pic.
  3. Look fun and relatable. Would your client want you at their family function/wedding? Heck yes they would!

Photos to avoid.

  1. Photos with multiple people. It just gets a little confusing.
  2. Mirror selfies.
  3. Overly serious.
  4. Out of focus (only because we’re photographers and it’s just not a good representation of our work).
  5. Kissy face selfies. Just, no.
  6. Avoid the alcohol/party photos. This goes for your personal Facebook/Instagram profile picture as well…because people WILL find those profiles too.

Overall, we want our profile pictures to exude confidence, competence, authenticity and likability! When you sit down to choose your photo ask yourself these quick questions! Do I look friendly an open? Is my photo professional? Do I look confidence in this photo? Would I hire myself?  We certainly don’t want to overthink this too much, but being aware of our professional (and personal) photos can be a small micro change in our business that can make a big difference!