Do I really need Professional Photos for my Website/Social Media Presence?

And what to Expect from your Professional Headshot Session.

A Personal Perspective

Like many small businesses, I am my business, so the photos on my website and social media are important as they need to get the essence of me over to those who haven’t met me. It’s the relationship that I build with my potential clients that means they choose to work with me, and that starts from the first time they come across me and builds with each contact. Therefore, whether I show up in person, or via web content, my message must be consistent.

But, and it’s a big but, I hate having my photo taken; I have hated it since my teens, so the thought of having professional photos done fills me with dread and fear. So, guess what, I’ve come up with excuse after excuse since starting my business as to why I can’t have my photos done.

However, I needed to update my website to reflect how my business has evolved over the past three years, and to do that I needed new photos.

Previously I had used a photo taken by my boyfriend, and whilst it was a nice photo, it definitely wasn’t professional in any sense. So, what was it saying about me? Maybe that I didn’t believe enough in me or my business to invest in a professional session, that I wasn’t serious about my business, that this was just a hobby – all things that I had been having internal arguments about with myself over the years.

Partly as I didn’t want the photos done, I kept putting off my new website (I had other excuses too – but only one was valid – a car accident left me with whiplash and I couldn’t hold a mobile, let alone work at a laptop for several months). But I could put it off no longer. Whilst lockdown didn’t affect my business as I was working remotely, it was affecting my clients, and so I needed to find other revenue streams, so my marketing needed to be completely up to date.

I increased my networking and came across Jo Davies, a photographer who was promoting her headshot package. We had met several times online, and I had seen other work she had done before I finally contacted her to arrange my session. However, I was still very concerned about the session and the outcome.

I explained to Jo my worries, that I hate having my photo taken and I hate looking at photos of me; not the most ideal client, I thought! But I’m not alone, Jo assured me, many people have the same issues. Jo had an advice sheet on how to dress etc to help ensure the best outcome, and I sent her selfies of me in various outfits, so she could help me make the right decisions. We ended up with two outfits for the shoot.

Due to lockdown restrictions, my session was held outside; we selected a green area close to where I live and met there. It was a very relaxed session, and we started with me in one of the outfits, trying different locations to get the best natural light and background. It was actually quite fun when we got going, and I felt like a film star having a photo session! I changed outfits part way through to have more options, some more formal and some more informal shots, to maximise how I could use the photos afterwards. The time flew by, and I never felt rushed.

Then was the dreaded wait for the results; I was really not looking forward to them; it was worse than waiting for exam results! I told a few of my friends that I was dreading the photos coming through; “don’t be silly” they would say, “they’ll be lovely”, but I just wasn’t sure how I’d be able to pick ten photos that I liked. Then someone said to me “You always look at yourself so much more critically than others look at you; why not get some of the people who know you really well to choose photos that they think reflect you and your personality?”

So that’s what I did; I got my friends to vote on the proofs and only after I had everyone’s votes in, did I look at the photos, focusing on the ones with most votes. It made life so much easier; “I was being critical of me, but not of the photos; it wasn’t the photos I didn’t like; it was me; another scary realisation”.

In the end I was able, with the help of those who know me well, to choose a variety of shots to reflect me in formal and more casual situations. I have these photos in both High Resolution and Low resolution, so can be used for whatever marketing I may need. Jo made a potentially uncomfortable experience fun and everyone was impressed with the resulting photos, so I have no hesitation in recommending her to others looking for a photographer.

Working on accepting me, is my next challenge!

Siân Faire is a Virtual Assistant specialising in content writing services, marketing and admin for Fitness and Wellbeing Clients. Siân had a Headshot Photoshoot with Jo Davies Photography,  in December 2020 and she has used them on her relaunched website, sianfaireva.co.uk

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