power your advice

Model Like You Mean It

There are a million excuses NOT to have professional photos taken of you. You may think… I’m not that important. It will be too expensive. Who wants to see my ugly mug anyway?


What people don’t consider is that the internet is a vast sea of faceless information. It can be cold and unfriendly with so much anonymity. With the MILLIONS of people advertising products and services online, it is virtually impossible to distinguish a saint from a scam.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re even dealing with a real person or not. Imagine yourself as the consumer. Isn’t it nice to be reassured that the person in that photo with the friendly smile IS the person you’re communicating with?

I recently had my professional photos taken and not only does it present me as being more professional, but also the experience was really fun! By no means am I a model or an attention seeker. In fact, attention can make me a bit uncomfortable at times. But I realize that showing potential clients that I am a put-together, professional, and friendly person can be best conveyed through a photo.

You want your image to say, “I’ll be great to work with and I’ve got my act together!”

Still a bit lost about the process? Here are 10 tips (in no particular order) to make your photo shoot experience a success:

1. Make Sure You’re Comfortable – The vibe between you and your photographer is much more important than you think. Someone that makes you feel at ease and creates an environment where you can relax and be yourself really shows through in your photos. Have fun! It looks good on you.

2. You Better Shop Around – Photographer’s rates come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer packages; while others attach stipulations as far as the use of the photos go. Just because a photographer is affordable, doesn’t mean they aren’t any good. On the other hand, just because they’re expensive doesn’t make them Annie Leibovitz.

Got a budget that’s really small? See if the photographer is willing to arrange a work exchange agreement. For example, if you’re a writer, write some copy for their website in exchange. A baker? Offer a free cake for an event. Personal trainer? Throw in a few free sessions.

3. Set The Scene – Consider what message you are trying to convey in your photos when choosing a location to shoot. An urban backdrop works really well for marketing and business. If you do something more holistic, like teach yoga, outdoors in nature is ideal.

It’s also great to see you in your natural habitat. If you’re a hair stylist, have some action shots in the salon. Chefs should be cooking in the kitchen. Artists can be painting in their studio.

4. Consider Outside Forces – If you are shooting outdoors take a few things into consideration. Time of day is very important! While it sounds great to shoot on a sunny day, that can cause squinting and overly bright photos (and sweating, ugh!). Early morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t at its highest makes for beautiful light. An overcast works well. Believe it or not, it was pouring an hour before we took my photos, and there were even a few sprinkles during. But the lighting was beautiful!

5. What To Wear – Obviously something that is flattering and makes you feel awesome! Just like you set the scene with the location, wardrobe does the same thing. More formal clothing for more “serious” photos, and casual for creative fields. If you’re a CPA, leave the flip-flops at home.

People tend to gravitate towards solids for photos, but subtle patterns look really nice as well. Choose a pattern that isn’t distracting like a small polka dot or even an animal print that isn’t too loud. Varying the texture in your outfit also adds some dimension.

Select at least 3 outfit choices and try all of them during your shoot. The way things look on camera is much different than in person. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did!

6. Take Care Of That Hair – If there is ever a time to splurge on a $20 blow-out, this is it! Cut and color should be no more than a week or two old so everything looks vibrant. If you choose to style your own hair, definitely do a practice run to see what works and what doesn’t.

For men, get a haircut at least one week before. A haircut that looks too “fresh” can be noticeable and if the stylist makes a mistake, at least you have a week to get it fixed.

7. Consider Makeup - If you’re really all thumbs when it comes to makeup, it’s definitely a good idea to use a professional. If you’re nervous it will be too dramatic, do a trial beforehand. Most makeup artists will do trials for less than the cost of an actual session. Want to save some cash? Enlist a friend whose makeup always looks good!

Gonna go it alone? I did! There are so many great tutorials on photo shoot makeup, and this video from www.MakeupGeek.com is my favorite. I used a lot of the advice in this video when I did my makeup for my shoot.

8. Spray Tan – Ok, I’m from New Jersey. I love a good spray tan. I can’t help it. However, you can’t deny that everyone does look better with a little glow. If you’ve never had one, I know what you’re thinking. All those chemicals! And what if I end up orange? What if I look like Snooki? Fear not! Most cities have real spray tan salons that use organic solutions and they airbrush you by hand. (Yes, you have to be OK with getting mostly naked. You’ll get over it.)

If done correctly the end result is beautiful. I had one done the day before my shoot and I’d hardly say I look like an Oompah Loompah.

If you splurge on just one thing for your photo shoot, get a spray tan. I know it may sound crazy. But you’ll thank me later! Who doesn’t want to look like they just came back from vacation 10 lbs lighter? And when does that EVER happen in real life?!

9. Examples, Examples, Examples – I’ve written in previous posts about the importance of providing your graphic designer with direct links to sites you like when creating a website. It’s the only way to get on the same page and for the designer to know exactly what you want. Well, the same sentiment rings true for photographers. Before your shoot, scour the internet for photos you like, ones to model your photos after. That way your photographer will have a much better idea of the lighting, setting, and overall message you are going for.

10. Mirror, Mirror On The Wall – Especially if you don’t have much experience having professional photos taken, this element can make or break your final results. Several times before your shoot, stand in front of your mirror (preferably when you’re alone;) and get posing! Find the most flattering angles for your face and the most complimentary positions for your body. You’d be surprised how much this helps! I know you’ll feel silly, but after a bit of practice you’ll be a pro.

I can’t stress enough what an important part of your marketing toolbox professional photos are. You’ll use them on your website, business cards, in your email…just about everywhere! And I can guarantee that when you’re ready to start the design on your next marketing material piece, the first question will be asked is… Do you have professional photos? And YOU will be able to say YES!