creating the perfect bio photo

by Jennifer Dell

creating the perfect bio photo photo
*self portrait bio image by Jennifer Dell

As a photographer we are often asked to help a client create the perfect professional head-shot or biography photo. This is a common thing that many professionals use on a regular basis. That said, the head-shot can be a tricky beast to take on, especially if you’re a photographer. Seeing as we are constantly behind the lens we tend to get a little antsy when we are pulled out of our comfort zone and put in front of the camera. So, it’s understandable that many of us do not have professional head-shots to greet our clients as they first find our websites and blogs. Even though we are not accustomed to having our portraits made on a regular basis it is still vital that head-shot be one that not only comes across as professional but also follows in your own unique style.

How we present ourselves to our future clients is important in that it leads them to how comfortable they feel hiring you to help them preserve their memories. Think about it this way, if you were to hire a hair stylist or make up artist, you would immediately take into consideration how stylish they were. Is their hair cut fun and trendy or more natural and classic? Do they look as though they have kept up with their own style over the years? Or if they are a make up artist, does it look as though they are wearing their make up from the night before or is it nice and polished and professional? Which of these would you want to hire based on your own personal style?

First impressions are incredibly important, especially when you are gaining much of your clientele from online searches like google. Your head-shot will be your potential clients first impression of you. It’s incredibly important to come across not only professional but have your photo stay true to you as a photographer. For example, if you shoot moody black and white images, your bio photograph should reflect that on your website. Or maybe you shoot mainly studio then a classic studio head-shot might be the best route for you to go. By keeping your head-shot inline with your style as a photographer you help to keep your brand cohesive as well.

creating the perfect bio photo photo
*bio image of April Nienhuis photographed by Andrea Murphy

Here are a few pointers to remember as you are working out your own head-shot.

  1. Stay true to you. You want your personality to shine through the image.
  2. Keep it polished and professional since it will continue to be another extension of your personality and professionalism.
  3. Simple is often best. Don’t have a lot of crazy distractions in the background.
  4. It’s important that you keep your photo updated… if when you photographed your head-shot you had red hair that was long and wavy and now your hair is short and black, you may want to consider updating your image. Remember this is your clients first impression and you don’t want them to be on a wild goose chase if the first time they meet you is in a public location during their shoot.
  5. Try to keep your head-shot uniform with all of your online presence. For example, if you use one head-shot for your facebook fan page, try to use it on your website, your LinkedIn profile, etc. It helps others to recognize your face with your brand easier.
  6. Be sure that the quality of the image is a fair representation of your own work. Low resolution, highly pixilated images with color issues could possibly keep a client from wanting to book you.
  7. If you are not comfortable shooting your own head-shot as a self portrait, please consider hiring another professional photographer to help with this! Just be sure that you give them full credit and that they are aware of how you will be using the image.

creating the perfect bio photo photo
*self portrait bio image by Celeste Pavlik

The most important thing to remember is that the image that you put online will be the first impression of you as a person, as a photographer, and as a business owner. So the photograph needs to be professional and an honest representation of who you are.

creating the perfect bio photo photo
*self portrait bio image by Allison McSorley

creating the perfect bio photo photoJennifer Dell, Texas
CM Mentor | CMU Instructor
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Mentoring | Ask a Pro
Armed with a Nikon D700 and an assortment of prime lenses, Jennifer enjoys photographing children and families in her own style, candid and full of natural expressions. When asked how she got her start in photography she explains, “I got started in photography in high school for photojournalism when we still used film and had to develop it in a darkroom. I never really pursued it until in college working on my degree in graphic design. We had several classes that required original photography and this re-sparked my interest in the craft! From there, photography was just another extension of creativity and art to me. Once I had my daughter, I knew I had to document her and all the details that I loved so much. It was my way of preserving her babyhood.” Other than photography Jennifer loves to read and finds cooking an elaborate meal relaxing. She also enjoys the show Friends, coffee, a nice bottle of wine, and spending time with her two children and two stinky English bulldogs.  She is also the instructor of CMU’s Building a Successful Business workshop.

Are you interested in more business wisdom from Jennifer?  Click on the banner below to learn more about her upcoming photography business workshop!

creating the perfect bio photo photo

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One Response to “creating the perfect bio photo”

  1. Lawrence A. Burry, Jr.
    Sep 25 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    I have wondered at times, if I was the only human who took note of this. Thank you for writing this article. I think that any professional photographer who shoots portraits (or events) for pay should have an “online” photo that truly shows who they are and represents the quality of portrait that their client would expect. It’s scary how many professionals miss this point and have their own “bio” photo that looks horrible.

    You could take the article a step further. These professionals who have an online presence are, in fact, business owners. All too often, the online page uses an anonymous name and the only means to communicate with their potential clients is by posting on a facebook timeline. I think if you’re a professional who asks for money from a client, it’s vital to state your true name and perhaps provide a telephone number and/or email address. I’d rather consider a sales pitch from “Mary Johnson” instead of “Seductive Mona.” The red flag always goes up when I see vague details asking for my money in exchange for services.

    Don’t you think that professionals should be proud enough to state their name and phone number? Anyway, that’s my two cents on this matter. :)

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