All the world IS a stage today with social media. Your profile photo is your first impression, so showing your personality is more important than showing your perfect teeth or your just-so-arranged hair.
A good profile photo depends on the energy you present, and less on the photo itself.
Yes, people want to see you as someone who is professional. However, in this episode of the Publio Podcast, Hector Pachas said that the idea is to capture your personality in your online presence as part of your professionalism. That means being authentic and distinctive in a way that puts your best self forward to achieve your goals.
To achieve this, Pachas, a portrait photographer in Norwalk, Connecticut, might ask questions about your children, spouse, or a pastime because people light up when they talk about the things that ignite their passion. These are the moments that uniquely capture profile photos that show the person beneath the layer of media projections.
“You need guts and a good sense of self to put yourself out there,” Publio CEO and Podcast host Keith Reynolds observed.
“We’re all beautiful people deserving of love, beginning with loving ourselves,” observed Hector.
Capturing this love within when you are talking about your passions, helps you express full potential in your online presence.
Influence on Social Media
“You will be seen online because people look you up before they meet with you,” Pachas said. “What will they find online? You want to take the reins and tell your own story.”
They’ll find information about your professional life – LinkedIn profiles, presentations you’ve given, books and articles that you wrote or that mention you.
- Should people see that 20-year old image from a wedding, or that fuzzy image from a vacation?
- Will outdated photos agree with the information that Google serves up on you?
- Will your profile photo agree with the person you are now?
“When you look at a photo, you are already creating ideas about this person,” Pachas said.
“And then you start reading about what this person does, but before you get to the professional stuff, you’ve also seen that person’s interests and all the things that he or she is doing.”
“By the time you meet you in-person, you might see a disconnect that does not match the online persona, he adds.”
The facts about you and your digital appearance have to be in synch when the time comes to meet in real life. That online/offline congruence is something we all need to take responsibility for today.
Your Profile Photo Sets the Stage
Keeping your profile photo up-to-date is more than a professional dictum, it’s a fact of life for your online presence. Hairlines recede, and we get a little more of this on our bodies or a little less of that, but presenting the right image can overcome all that. Here’s the secret why:
Embrace the fact that you are aging and changing. This is the part about profile pictures that takes guts. In the hands of a skilled photographer, these things are secondary to your essence.
“People see you every day, so your photo must keep up,” Pachas pointed out.
Photographers, the professional ones, also understand light and how to manipulate it to the best effect. They know about facial muscles and all the little things that impact your portrait.
“People think you have to smile in order to look friendly, but that’s not necessarily so,” Pachas explained. “You can smile with your eyes. Your expressions depend on much more than your mouth.”
Your audience is your prime consideration. Think about your image from their perspective.
“If you’re talking to school-aged kids,” Pachas continued, “you want a bubbly expression. For lawyers and finance professionals, your profile picture should be more staid. It’s all about who you are and how you tell your story.”
You always want to look your best. Pachas concedes, “Your best shot is presenting the most authentic self that your audience can relate to.”
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