Sunday, February 1, 2015

7 Tips For Successful Business Portraits

How To Make a Strong First Impression With a Powerful Marketing Tool

                                                                                                                Christy Beltrami Yager

Your business portrait, or "head shot", is your first impression and most powerful marketing tool. It should be a dynamic visual that represents you and your company. What is your business portrait telling potential clients about you?

7 Tips For Successful Business Portraits

#1 Select an experienced professional photographer.
An established, friendly photographer is confident in their craft and will, naturally, put you at ease. A pro will be proficient at using their equipment, proper lighting and flattering angles, allowing ample time to effectively put you at ease for the most natural expressions.

#2 Access the right mindset.
Having pictures taken is a normal part of social life in this age of smart phones, digital cameras and the internet. Most people don't give it a thought. But, some people dread the sound of a shutter clicking.

Before your photo shoot begins, I suggest taking a minute in your dressing room to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and center in on relaxing your shoulders, neck, jawline and forehead. Be "present" and focus on your senses, you should feel more relaxed. 

Interact with your photographer and follow their lead. It usually takes a few images to warm up.

#3 Select the proper clothing.
With proper clothing, your face demands attention and clothing becomes secondary. Dress in a way that you feel represents both you and your company.

For a formal business portrait, dress as if you are making a presentation to your most important clients or associates. A dark suit, freshly pressed and one that fits well, with a light colored shirt and a dark tie are classic. Your suit should not look "tired" or worn and should fit well on your shoulders. Avoid wearing highly saturated colors. Business women should select a blouse with a flattering, conservative neckline. Avoid busy patterns that will draw attention away from your face, unless they will be covered with a solid or subtle patterned jacket. Darker shades are most flattering, but black in not always best. Try navy blue, charcoal gray, hunter green, deep teal or burgundy.

For a causal business portrait, wear something that looks upscale and smart. Think of who you want to attract and the vibe you want to get across. Try a blazer or sweater over a button down shirt or blouse.

#4 Consider your hair and makeup.
Business women, if you are doing your own makeup, apply as you would for a formal evening out, with the most enhancement on your eyes. Avoid products with shimmer that can cause unfavorable reflections or shine. If you do not wear makeup, think of using a minimal amount for your photo session or hire a professional hair and makeup stylist. Many professional photography studios offer this service.

If your hair is color treated, schedule with your stylist to have your color freshened within a few days of your photo shoot for a vibrant, consistent look. Bring your own hair products and a brush or comb for touch ups.

Businessmen, moisturize your face and consider using a little powder to reduce shine. Tidy up your hair. I do not recommend getting your hair cut right before your shoot. Shave a few hours before your shoot to avoid a 5 o'clock shadow.

#5 Prevent eye glass glare.
If you wear glasses most of the time, I recommend wearing them for your portrait. Lenses can cause reflections and distortion, therefore, be prepared to take them out or bring an extra pair of frames without lenses.

#6 Keep jewelry classic and simple.
This will ensure longevity of your business portraits and not detract from your face.

#7 Drink a lot of water and be well rested.

Capturing a great business portrait is very important for your business. It is how prospective clients will identify you and decide, perhaps without a meeting, that they want to work with you. So put your best face forward.

Christy Beltrami Yager owns Beltrami and Co Photography with her husband, Bryan. She is a third generation photographer and is the marketing and artistic director for their successful Burlington, Vermont studio. Beltrami and Co Photography is New England's most award winning portrait studio.

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