Your Portrait is Worth More Than 1000 Words

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Have a great photo of yourself? No, not the one your daughter took of you at the beach she posted on Facebook. I'm talking about a headshot for business that makes you look like a respectable, savvy professional.

The photo your teammate took of you against the wall in the office doesn't count. Neither does the one your spouse took of you with the lovely pine tree behind you.

A professional headshot is worth its weight in gold - or monetary yield, since we're talking to financial professionals here! Your professional headshot is your personal logo. It's the key that unlocks your contacts' memory of you and all you represent. Sub-par photos say "I'm small time."

If you want to represent yourself like a big time pro, follow these tips:

• Avoid the fluorescent lights of the office - they'll wash you out
• Avoid straight on flash - it'll flatten you out
• Avoid the middle of the day if you're shooting outside - it creates nasty, dark shadows
• Stand with your side near a window with lots of natural light
• Use a camera that can blur out the background but leave you in focus
• Avoid backgrounds with trees, walls, bushes, and too much going on
• Avoid big, open mouth smiles (cheesy) and no smiles (stern)
• Shoot for a natural, friendly grin (have a friend crack a joke and try not to laugh) 
• Wear a shirt or blouse with one color (that goes for your tie too)
• The camera should be level with your neck
• If the camera is too low, you may look aloof – too high and you may look meek
• Feet and face straight at the camera, arms by your side, shoulder turned slightly
• Get your hair styled or cut the day before the shoot
• Apply your make-up or wash your face just beforehand (cuts out any facial shine)
• Have blemishes, stray hairs, and unwanted wrinkles removed by a Photoshop pro
• HIRE THE BEST PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER YOU CAN AFFORD!

Bonus Tip: Use a vertical rectangular photo for your emails. Use a square photo for your website and social media sites. (It can be the same image.)

Examine the before and after shots below. Notice that the plain wall, poor lighting, and updo of the 'before' image can't compete with the professional, polished impact of the studio photograph of the 'after' image.

 

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Your portrait is worth more than a thousand words - it's the most important element of your personal brand identity and an integral component of your business. Invest in it. Invest in yourself!

Watch this video to see how to add your portrait to your Campaign Manager profile: