What Does Your Social Media Photo Say About You?

The photo you use to represent “you” as a business professional should be taken seriously.  Your photo is how you’re recognized in advertising, on your website, and on social media.  It is as important as the logo and words on your website, and is part of your “brand”.  Consider the following photo scenarios that I’ve seen in our industry:

The Outdated Photo. This is the one that was taken in 1980, but is still in use.  Besides hair styles, clothing, facial hair, and the style of eye glasses being outdated, it gives your clients that idea that YOU are outdated!  As you gracefully age, update your professional photo to what you look like now, and update at least every 5 years.

The “I’m Single Now” Photo. As awkward as this one sounds, it is easily recognizable because it has a “sexy” look to it much like you’re posing as a model or planning to use it on a dating site.  Short skirts, open shirts down to your belly button, or facial expressions that are like invitations are NOT APPROPRIATE for your professional photo on anything (including LinkedIn and Facebook)!

The Location Photo. Loc ation photos show you in other places besides working.  Some clients don’t appreciate seeing you on the beach, the golf course, or having a great time in places they do not frequent.  The “work hard, play hard” philosophy is one you need to keep away from your professional persona.  Use a photography background that is relevant to your industry or provided at a photography studio in a muted color.

The “I’m Relaxed” Photo. Kicking back with your feet up on your desk is not the best background for your professional photo.  Neither is a photo showing you having a cocktail at the national sales conference.

Family Photos. Although family photos show your commitment to your family and pride, they shouldn’t be used for your professional photo.  Having someone ‘cut your family out’ with an editing tool is not recommended.

The best tips for a successful professional photo are to select clothing that you feel good in. The clothing should be business casual or formal business dress depending on your office policy.  Personal grooming should be ‘top-notch’, non-offensive, and of cultural standards.  Lastly, pay a professional photographer that does photography for a living to photograph you.  The photographer will make sure you look your best by using a graphic design program.  Ask the photo file to be given to you in the various ways it will be used for web, print, etc.