Okay. Close your eyes. Think of three words you would like clients to use when describing you as a professional. Now open your eyes and look at the photo on your web site or blog. Do the words fit the photograph?
Often, when creating an online presence, professional practitioners take great pains over the wording and the design of the site, but they neglect putting any time or thought into their professional portrait.
A professional portrait is just that. It’s not the snapshot from your latest vacation. It is not the photo your sister took of you standing out in the backyard last summer. To be appropriate, and more importantly authentic, the portrait must match what people see and hear when they come to your office. Unless you are serving beers, the photo of you with a mug in each hand at the last Octoberfest is probably not the best choice.
Think of it this way. People usually choose professionals they know, like and trust. If you present one image on your Web site, and a completely different image in person, chances are you will be creating a disconnect for you clients. This disconnect is not a long way from distrust.
Return to those three words again. How you would create a photo to fit that description? What would you wear? What expression would your face carry? What body language would you use? These answers will help you prepare for the photo.
Now ask yourself another question. Are you able to discern the difference between a professional portrait and a snapshot by Uncle George? Because most of us are such savvy media consumers, it easy for us to tell the difference between a properly lit and exposed photo and a homemade one. C’mon, admit it. You can always tell the difference. Your clients can tell the difference, too.
Why shortchange the most important element of your brand – that’s YOU – by skimping on photography? You are worth it! Engage a professional photographer to create an authentic portrait. The photo will last at least a few years and will help reinforce the qualities that help you attract your best clients.