Lisa Graham, Seadance Photography

Imagine Queen Elizabeth standing with her back to the beach and snapping a selfie for her Facebook page. Doesn’t seem quite right, does it? That’s because she has a carefully manicured profile that represents her in a very specific way. So specific that if an image like this even appeared in your Facebook feed, you’d know it wasn’t her.

For Queen Elizabeth, her subtle, distinctive smile, is her trademark. And the same goes for you – your smile is your trademark too.

Now, when you send a text on phone, do you sometimes add a little smiley at the end? If you do so, chances are it’s because you instinctively know that the right emoticon helps convey the right tone, in a way that text can’t do on its own.

A headshot works in the very same way for your brand. It humanizes and brings warmth to what could be a chilly, corporate impression.

Let me explain. Humans read each other’s emotions by mimicking them for a nanosecond. During that moment when our own mimicked expression is internalized, it is associated to linked feelings. It’s through the linked feeling that we understand how other people are feeling. We unconsciously mimic what we see, and that feeds into our emotional understanding of what we are looking it. Think of it this way – when you smile, the whole world smiles with you.

If your headshot is a poorly executed image of you, the reader will pick up on it and categorize you – possibly in a negative way. It’s your job, as a business owner, to make your headshot work for you – not against you.

Your headshot gives your content another level of meaning that can’t be put into words. You want your headshot to convey exactly what your brand is, no more and no less.

Headshots have come a long way in these last few years. They don’t have to be those stoic fake faces that were once the norm. With the right photographer, you can “choose your own emoticon”, so to speak. Mix it up a little, bring your dog, or go to the beach. Include your family or a favourite vehicle. The more it tells a story, the better it is at grabbing attention. You have only two seconds to connect with a client, so time creating your online trademark is time well spent!

Getting back to that first example, if not the Queen, insert President Trump. You have no problem believing the second example, do you. What does your brand say?

Lisa Graham is a professional photographer and the owner of Seadance Photography. She can be reached at info@seadance.ca, 250.941.7774 or online at www.seadancephotography.ca/branding-headshots.

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