Traditionally people get a portrait done at a studio on a either a plain colored or painted backdrop. It’s easy, inexpensive and quick, but boring. If you want to stand out from the crowd you need a portrait that makes statement, that has some interest in it. In my mind there are two ways to do that. One is to create a tightly cropped portrait of your face with interesting lighting and composition. The second is to show the unique environment you’re in and create some ambiance and story, Scott Nine just hired me to do to some portraits of hm for his TED talk. Boring or unique?
Do you ever wonder what the person on the other end of the phone looks like?
I do. I’m always curious what someone looks like when I speak to them on the phone. I make up a mental image of them based on their voice and speaking manner. Sometimes when I finally do meet them or see their picture I’m surprised that they are so different from what I imagined.
Clients want to know who they’re doing business with and are motivated to buy from people they know and trust. The quicker you’re able to go from a faceless business person to a real human being, the faster you’re going to be able to create real relationships with clients.
Why wouldn’t you want to get noticed and build familiarity?
Do you think people don’t judge you by your appearance in a photo? Well, they do, and here’s some information on how fast those assessments take place based on the research of Alex Todorov a psychologist at Princeton University.
His research has shown that humans make trait inferences from facial appearance in photos at lightning fast speeds. Viewing an image for less than 1/10th of a second is all we need to create judgments about a person’s character. You can read about their research here – http://webscript.princeton.edu/~tlab/projects/the-automaticity-of-social-judgments-from-faces/
Does the business portrait on your website and other marketing materials look professional? You may be making a poor impression and not even know it.
Here us a short 75 second business video I did for Cassell Consulting that talks about how they can help their clients achieve success.
Even though this video is only 75 seconds in length it takes more time to create than one might think. That’s because the spokesperson has the most difficult part in the creation of the video. Most people are camera shy to start with and when you ask them to interact with a video camera it brings up that fear of public speaking we’re all familiar with. Unfortunately that fear can be subtlety conveyed in the video and audio.
There are several options that can help overcome this anxiety.
- The first is to memorize the dialogue. Occasionally this works, but I have found it can seem a bit stiff and contrived. The speaker becomes so worried about getting the lines right they come across as mechanical.
- The second option is to use a teleprompter or large cue cards. This helps to make the presentation smoother, but there is the expense of hiring or using a teleprompter. However, there are several programs for computers and iPads that will turn them into teleprompters.
- The third and best way I have found is to engage the speaker to talk about their passion for what they do. Although this involves more work in the editing, I believe the message is conveyed in a way that creates a better connection with the viewers. A great example of this is the video of Donna Holmes on my Video Portraits page. You can really sense Donna’s compassion for her work with at-risk youth.
Click on the image to watch the video.
One of my goals as a photographer is to keep my subjects relaxed while having their portrait made. The best way I know to do that is to tell short simple jokes. Here are a few light bulb jokes you might enjoy.
How many photographers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Five, one to screw it in and four to say, “I could have done that!”
How many psychologists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
The light bulb must want to change.
How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
How many can you afford?
How many art directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Does it have to be a light bulb?
How many psychics does it take to screw in a light bulb?
With the advent of the internet we have the opportunity everyday to introduce ourselves to potential clients. And making a great first impression is the key to success. Not only do we need to show them we understand their needs, but we need to build their confidence that we are professional, capable and successful at what we do.
Would you introduce yourself to a client in person with bad hair, no makeup and old clothes? Unfortunately that’s what you’re doing when you use a poorly executed portrait on your website, LinkedIn profile etc.
4 things to avoid if you’re trying to make a great first impression.
1. Phone and webcam photos make you look cheap and amateurish.
2. Overly retouched images. You know the glamor shot type photos that some real estate agents use. People love to do business with real people, folks who are just like them, not somebody who’s trying to look like a model.
3. Old photos & outdated photos. Hair and clothing styles change and it’s important to stay up to date. If you haven’t had a new portrait in 5 years you’re way past due.
4. Boring portraits on a backdrop with no personality. A portrait taken in an environment is so much more interesting and when done correctly helps tell your story. You may think your office doesn’t present itself to creating a good portrait, but I can assure you I have created beautiful portraits in very tiny spaces.
I know branding is important and how valuable it is to try and a create a positive perception about your business in the mind of your clients by looking professional and successful. Who wants to do business with someone who doesn’t look successful?
However, I just don’t understand how business owners overlook the most important part of branding. Businesses pay thousands of dollars for a nice logo or a new design for their marketing collateral, but they won’t spend a few hundred dollars on a great portrait. Can you recall any logos from companies you do business with? I doubt it, but I’ll bet you can recall the faces of people from those companies.
That’s because our brains are hardwired to remember faces. Maybe it’s something evolutionary or necessary for survival, but there is a part of our brains that has the sole function of remembering faces. Take advantage of that brain trait and start building familiarity and connection with potential clients by using your portrait on your web site, in your emails and on your business cards.
In his best selling book on marketing, “Book Yourself Solid,” author Michael Port urges people to have professionally produced portraits or video created and use them any way they can to demonstrate their professionalism on all promotional materials both online and off. Call me, I can help you make a great first impression and be remembered.
Accurate color reproduction is critical when creating professional portraits, especially if the images will be used in business cards, magazines, and brochures. We use a Gretag Macbeth color chart and Photoshop together so that we can produce accurate color for our clients. This is a very scientific method for accurately reproducing the colors of your hair, skin, and clothing.
Most computer monitors do not display true colors and must be calibrated to produce authentic color. If you’re in a office with more than one computer you can usually see that each monitor displays colors a little bit differently. Some monitors may be more blue and some more yellow or any other color shift possible. Every monitor has a profile it uses to display color, but it must be correctly set up or the color will not be accurate. A profile is like a recipe for creating color.
Printers also have profiles and if a printer has not been calibrated to the correct profile/recipe then you’ll get varying color shifts in your prints. If you need help profiling a monitor or printer please contact us and we’ll see what we can do.
The images below show the difference between a color corrected image on the left and images with color shifts on the right. If the image on the left doesn’t look correct on your monitor, then it probably needs to be profiled.