As a journalist and photographer, I regularly have to ask people for their profile photo. They send me all sorts- pictures of buildings with tiny dots in the corner, holiday snaps and low pixel images, which can’t be used for any kind of publication or platform.  

No matter what level you are at professionally, you need a decent profile picture. This includes your LinkedIn profile, social media, any kind of PR, headshots for auditions or an image for press- and no we can’t wait until next week.

Without the benefit of meeting people in person, where you can win potential business partners, employers or directors with your charm, wit and winning personality, a photo is all you’ve got.

It’s not about looks, more that you have made the effort to get a decent photo taken. Having a good photo of you will help you – not anyone else. It means you understand the importance of the virtual CV. Having a bad photo is like a grammar error. It can show lack of effort. Sure headshots aren’t important for the work you do in many jobs, but you will never do yourself a disservice by having a great one.  

Here’s a few issues I’m confronted with regularly:

  1. A lot of people don’t know the difference between landscape and portrait format. Landscape is horizontal and portrait is vertical. 
  2. A crowd is never good. I regularly get sent images of a bunch of nameless people with no relevance to the profile. These images cannot be used for a number of reasons, including legal ones.
  3. Holiday images, drinking beer, eating a meal, at a rave. These are not images you want in a business profile.
  4. Pending on what you are doing with your image, clothing is important. Wearing clothing helps for a start, any kind of beach images or holiday snaps look lazy. Generally singular colours against a plain backdrop or one which doesn’t take the spotlight from you will work. 
  5. The face- yes yours. It needs to be seen, not hiding behind a mask or looking the other way.
  6. Smile. If you look like a psycho in a photo, then people may not want to engage with you in person. 
  7. It’s all about you. Yes it would help to see you in the image, not a big skyscraper with the subject far in the distance. The person should be the focal point, not the Eiffel Tower.
  8. Get a photographer. Ok phones are great, but not everyone can use one. Email me on www.barbaramccarthyphotos@gmail.com or call +353 892195385 and arrange an on-location shoot for corporate, auditions, fun, profiles, editorial, bespoke and more.  You’ll never look back! Check out my photo website on www.barbaramccarthyphotos.com for more images. #profilephotos #headshots. I am Dublin based, but will travel happily.

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