Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some thoughts on professional photographs

The following excerpts are from Thoughts on Translation:
Let’s say that you want to hire a professional services provider: maybe a business accountant, a copyright attorney, a web designer or a marketing consultant. You’re clicking through that person’s website, and on their About page, you see a photograph. Great! It’s always helpful to get a visual image of the person you’re thinking of working with. But then you notice that the person’s photograph is clearly from 20+ years ago, or was obviously taken in a drugstore photo booth, or features them and their pet ferret, or you can’t really tell what the person looks like because they’re facing away from the camera and their hair is in their eyes. Problem? Maybe! Let’s ponder the issue of professional photographs for a second.
(…) Why should you consider a professional photograph?
  • It shows that you’re willing to invest in your business. I am very frugal. I don’t own a clothes dryer and I wash Ziploc bags. But when someone hands me a business card with “Get your free business cards at…” printed on the back, my immediate reaction is that this person is not even willing to invest $25 in their business in order to get real cards. Ditto with the professional photograph: it shows that you care.
  • It conveys an impression of you as a person. Let’s face it: working with a freelancer is a very personal relationship. And if people don’t have a positive impression of you, they are less likely to work with you. A professional photograph can help establish you as approachable, personable, likable and other qualities that are desirable in a business associate.
  • It’s what other people do. I hate to play the “everyone else is doing it” card, but there’s some truth to this. If you consider yourself on par with other consultant-type service providers, your marketing materials need to be at that level.