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Getting the most from your profile picture

I’ve always been jealous of people who, I think, take a “good photo”. I hate myself in pictures and because of this I’ve been using the same photograph for all my marketing and social media for nearly 5 years now. So you can imagine the fear that ran through my veins when I was asked to provide a “recent” profile picture for a magazine article.

Through gritted teeth I contacted Julie Broadfoot (the name will be familiar to many swib members) and although the deadline was tight we set a date.

Julie and I discussed our options and selected a venue. Unfortunately we could only do an afternoon and the venue had harsh light. The winter didn’t really offer the natural light we wanted (when I say we I mean Julie as I wouldn’t have a clue about the lighting)!

However we plodded on. We had a couple of areas to work in and I had a few different outfits so there was plenty of variations to choose from. But the results weren’t really what either of us had in mind. The magazine got what they wanted but we wanted more.

So we set another date and selected a great location that Julie had been eyeing up for a while. We had the lovely light Julie craved, I was much more relaxed and I have photos that I’m happy to use to promote my business. Julie would like you to know that her camera isn’t as scary as I feared!

What I learned:

  • The photographer needs to have a recce of the venue so he/she can look for the perfect spot to take the shots.
  • Don’t have an audience. The first set of shots had to be taken in a room where others were working and it just made everyone feel uncomfortable and caused distractions. Julie stresses she works hard to make her clients relax but we were in a difficult space.
  • Make sure you have a selection of different coloured tops because although I thought white was a nice neutral colour that wouldn’t date in actual fact it totally drained me and I looked “peely wally”. And I realised I suit pink (who’d have thought it). Different clothes totally change a photo.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable smiling then don’t feel obliged to. I hate showing my teeth in pictures so when I saw the proofs of the smiley face I hated them. Do what’s right for you. We tried a lot of different angles and styles to find what flattered and made me comfortable.

And so to Julie. Thank you for being so patient with me, your pictures really do hide the inner horror I was feeling which is a credit to your abilities behind the camera.