We all know that first impressions count, and we only get one chance to make that first impression.

It used to be that the spelling on your CV had to be accurate, now a days a decision can be made as to whether someone wants to do business with you, based on how they see you online.

With a more visual world today than ever before, and more business being made on line, through various platforms; Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Video, Websites etc, it is really important that you are creating the right image through your picture.

If it is your business that you are marketing, then customers will want to see what you look like, they will want to build a relationship with you and if they can visualise you then it can help build that trust. So it is important to include your image on any advertising, social media, blogs, newsletters and business cards.

Now many of us don’t like having our photos taken, but I would advise if you can afford it, to have them done professionally. It should be a fairly pain free experience, but with great results.

Your Profile picture should tick the following areas…

Lighting
It is important to have the right lighting in your profile picture. No bright flashes or shadows on the picture. It should be a clear image.

Background
This should be kept to a minimum. It should be clean and not take away your lime light, not really taken outside and if done professionally then they will be able to arrange a blank background for you.

What to wear
You should maintain a professional image, so if you have a uniform then this should be worn, other wise my advise would be to be smart, casual – you don’t need to wear a suit if you don’t usually wear one to work, but just maintain that professional image. It shouldn’t be one of you on a night out with your friends or on holiday on the beach. You should be freshly shaven and appropriate jewellery. It doesn’t matter so much about what you wear on your lower half as your photo should only be of your top half.

You & only You
It’s your professional profile picture, so it should focus on you. This means no inanimate objects, group shots, or photos of you with your significant other, child, or pets. Keep it simple.

Keep it up to date
It’s surprising how many people have photos on their websites or marketing material that are out of date, over 5 or 10 years old say! This can have a surprising effect when you first meet someone and you are not how they expected you to look – or if at networking and you are handing out business cards that have old photos of you on, it doesn’t always give the right impression.

Smile
Try to relax, smile and have fun – let your personality shine through in your photo. Remember it’s all about building relationships, and people buy from people, people will want to build relationships with you if you look friendly.

I have recently had my photos updated, as you will see on my various marketing materials…it was a totally painless experience and if you are looking for someone to take some photos for you and your business, please just get in touch and I can point you in the right direction.

For further information contact me, Sarah, on 01452 617040 or email her at sarah@thelink-directories.co.uk

Sarah Gerken
Author: Sarah Gerken