Big smile, small smile, medium smile….no smile ???
Business Portraits: What should I where, should I look at the camera, should I smile?
These are some of the common questions, but there are many more. Here are some answers:
Yes, and a nice big natural one. Research shows that you are much more trusted if you smile, and this increases when the smile shows some teeth. Often its hard to smile on demand in front of a camera, so its up to your photographer to help you to relax and capture that perfect moment. Something to make you look friendly, welcoming and professional.
Clothes that both make you look and feel great are important, but try to keep to the simple and classic. I always recommend dressing how you would to meet with your best client. That may be very formal or quite casual, depending on your profession, but it is better to dress slightly up from you everyday wear than slightly down.
Simple clothes mean not too fussy, not lots of patterns or large amounts of jewellery, and something that wont date with the next season.
Where to look:
Generally straight down the lens. With your business portrait, you are trying to make a connection with the viewer (ie on LinkedIn, when browsing your website, on your email signature etc), and so direct eye contact, and a friendly open smile helps create this connection. Occasionally it works to have other marketing images of you looking away, but for your main “catch their attention” business portrait, you want something that really connects with the viewer.
How much retouching should be done:
Its important to have a little retouching in your professional business portrait. People are judging you on your professionalism, and consider that you may not take career very seriously or yourself not be very professional if you don’t have a professional image. So a stray hair across the eye or pimples showing can indicate you have not been to a professional.
But…you don’t want to have your portrait touched up so much that you don’t look yourself. You want people to recognise you from your business portrait….not to wonder if it was really you in the image, or think maybe it was taken 15 years ago! A little “softening” of wrinkles can be nice, and definitely any marks/fluff etc on clothes.
My best advice? Have a good chat with your professional portrait photographer, who specialises in creating great business portraits, to increase the professionalism of your brand.