Can powerful photographs benefit business women?
Guest post from Jo Scott.
Businesswomen know that powerful photographs make a big contribution to their company. Those who produce a tangible product for sale such as cups of coffee and cakes in a cafe find it easier to understand and produce powerful images that align with the brand. But for those of us who provide services and the business ‘is us’, it is more difficult to portray the essence of what we are about. Arguably it is more important to get it right, as this is how we connect with our audience in the first instance.
Why we need photographs
The theme for International Women’s Day this year includes challenging stereotypes. First impressions count. Usually the first time a potential client will come across us it will be on line and therefore the impression they get from our photographs will have impact. This goes for your social media, such as business Facebook page, Instagram and LinkedIn profile, as well as your website. We can broaden perceptions through the photographs we use.
The questions to ask are:
- How do you want to be seen?
- What impression do you want to portray?
Do you want to be friendly and fun? Creative but reliable? Professional and approachable? All this builds a story and is especially important when we don’t have a product to show, because people buy from people.
Honing your message
As a professional photographer, I believe that strong imagery can help to get messages across. That message can be simple or complex. I am talking about images of women here, in honour of International Women’s Day, but I truly believe that it equally applies to men.
To give you an example, I was fortunate enough to be commissioned to take photos for a firm of tax accountancy software providers. They were undergoing a major re branding and many in their leadership team were women.
They wanted to shout about the individuality of their team members through a branding photo shoot. It was really refreshing to work with them because they wanted to challenge the perception of boring tax software providers and reflect the vibrancy of the people that work there.
What background is best for photographs?
My approach is always to ask questions and listen. For example, for one lady I found some graffiti, for another a painted brick wall, for another a softer backdrop of greenery and wooden structures. All were not a major part of the photos but gave an important feel to the images. The clients were amazed by my approach as it was totally different to the studio setups photographers had used in the past. The feedback I have had is brilliant. They have kindly let me have their previous headshots (studio black and white shown), which I have set alongside the ones I created in the example here.
What to wear for your professional profile pictures?
I usually suggest clients bring a few different outfits to create a variety of images. More formal, more casual, with a jacket, with a variety of necklines. This is partly because what we think suits us and wear frequently often doesn’t quite translate into photographs, and so that we get a variety of different ‘looks’ that can be used across the on line platforms. For example, a LinkedIn profile picture would be close up (so people can see your face) and would probably be professional and approachable. The photograph for your website may tell the viewer more ‘about you’, and may be a three quarter length shot, so clothes and body language are more important.
Body language and facial expressions are key as this projects a lot about you. I have met very few business women who like having their photo taken, so establishing trust and confidence is vital. I talk my clients through what their different outfits say about them, then coach them through the actual photo session, directing them on how to hold themselves, how to sit, and even what to think about to portray the message they want to!
The impact of powerful images from a photo shoot
You will see from the image here that the very staid corporate look of the black and white studio headshot has gone. The chief Financial Officer has been transformed from a relatively shy looking woman into a powerful individual, who looks feminine yet strong and confident.
By choosing to commission a branding photo shoot, this forward thinking firm is supporting their staff in their roles. The company is able to project an authentic images that demonstrates that they are capable, diverse, and unique. That has got to be good for business.
Photographs that make you feel good about yourself will give confidence in yourself and in your marketing material. First impressions count. Choosing a professional photographer for your business photographs is essential – a selfie just won’t do! Although finding the right photographer takes a little time and thought, it is worth it in the long run.
Powerful photographs of businesswomen help to show the individuality of the people in the company increase the know like and trust factor.
Guest Contribution from Jo Scott. International Women's Day 2020
Jo Scott has been a professional photographer for over 15 years. She holds the highest qualification of Fellow at the British Institute of Professional Photographers, where she is called upon to judge Regional and National competitions and is on the Qualifications Assessment Panel. Find out more about choosing a professional photographer
Jo's passion is working with businesses to create powerful photographs, telling their story to bring the business to life. Contact Jo at Jo Scott Images.