Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Let's See a Show of Hands

Professional services professionals NEED great first impressions. Having photos that look like everyone else IS NOT the way to go.

It's really hard to stand in front of a camera and not wind up looking like everyone else; Slightly turned at the shoulder, chin up and face frozen in a neutral smile (a smile that never seems to make it into the eyes) against a equally neutral background. One thing for sure, being a corporate photographer these days has got to be the highest paying assembly line work around!

In looking through my Outlook contacts (Outlook 2003 can show a photo of the person right on the contact page) I kept feeling something 'more' about certain photos than most of the others. And what most of these 'more' photos shared was 'hands'. Their hands were in the photo. Hmmm.

I have hundreds of headshots on file from all of my years as a marketer so I took several and asked friends to tell me about the people in them (they did not know any of the people in the headshots). Their answers said a lot!

Of the cookie cutter headshots their observations were superficial; "He looks nice, she's got great hair, that's a nice smile," etc. Hardly a word about personalities. When they looked at the 'hands' photos I would hear, "is he married? I'd like to meet him", or "She looks so smart and comfortable with success." WHAT!? Where did they get that? But they did.

When hands were in the photos, they would talk whole paragraphs about a person they'd never met. And almost every comment was warm and complimentary to the person they were looking at.

OK, there is no real science going on here. Just my observations. But in a profession where personality and first impressions are so important, every little tip, every little edge counts. So my advise; let's put some personality in our photos. If you agree, can I see a show of hands please.

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