Best Face Forward

Best Face Forward

Apr 10, 2015
  • By Colm Hannon
  • In General
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Ever since photography replaced the oil painting as the medium of choice for depicting people, it has been de rigueur for any serious business figure to have their portrait shot professionally in a studio by an expert photographer.

The danger in recent years is that the availability of cameras on phones as well as cheap digital cameras has led to a belief among many people that they can just wing it themselves and achieve an acceptable result.  Worse yet, some believe that their oh-so-amusing selfies are suitable material for their online profiles. Wrong….

Consult the Hannon Digital corporate explainer video and you will see that we stress how B2B executives need to ensure that they do three things well:

  1. Look professional online as individuals
  2. Look professional online as a company
  3. Communicate professionally online, both individually and as a brand

In order to carry off these essentials to the best of your ability, you need expert assistance. That is why we have set up a new arm to Hannon Digital, a Corporate Photography service. It offers many benefits but in this context, the one that I regard as absolutely critical is the ability for you to put your ‘best face forward’ on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Portraits

Last year, LinkedIn took a big step forward by offering an enhanced listing service where your personal page could be made more striking and appealing, with a widescreen image across the top and other personalisation options. Great if you do it well – but do you have the right image(s) to fill that space without it looking amateur?

I spend a lot of my time training and mentoring businesspeople on how to optimise their presence on LinkedIn. It is, after all, the place where most hiring takes place, and it is the premier business networking site in the world. Yet I cannot believe how many people offer up a fuzzy or unflattering image, or none at all…

Within organisations, all the executives should be listed under their own pages, linked to and in sync with the corporate page. In a well-ordered operation, this means a photographer attending to shoot professional portraits. While there, the opportunity can be taken to create informal group shots, team photos, product and service shots and images of the site(s) for general corporate use. In my experience, most businesses never get around to this. We are all so busy we don’t step back to consider the benefits of having a set of good up-to-date professional shots for ongoing marketing, HR and PR use.

So start with the LinkedIn imperative – to make that all-important first impression – and widen the focus to take in the other opportunities that flow from having our photographer on site for half a day.

Your branding

We are now familiar with the notion that we each have a personal brand, just as our business has a corporate one. Which is why I would never advocate that everyone must squeeze into the conventional suited three-quarters head and shoulders, deadly serious clichéd pose. For example:

If you are a professional MotoGP rider, you should be depicted astride your bike, clad in leathers with the sponsors’ logos visible.

For ad agency creative directors, it has long been the fashion for you to be shot in black and white looking miserable and standing on the fire escape. (I blame Campaign magazine). I think it’s time to ditch that style in favour of a look and a set of clothing that says “I’m colourful, unstuffy and fun to work with”.  I know which I would choose, as a client…

Many men feel it incumbent upon them to wear a tie, even if they do not in their everyday work. I am comfortable with a tie, but it’s not for everyone or every business.  It’s your call, but do think about it. Just as women need to consider their choice of attire carefully, but that’s an area I don’t presume to have any expertise in.

Socially adept

Finally, once your LinkedIn profile is upgraded, you can extend your new image to your Twitter page and your Facebook presence.  And having made the modest investment in the Hannon Digital Photography service, you will probably find that you have a range of new imagery that is crying out to be put to good use on Instagram.

Good stills can be utilised in many other ways:

  • Within explainer videos
  • On your website
  • In email circulars
  • In digital advertising campaigns

So a photography session really can have a long and productive afterlife.

To learn more or book a session, visit our new Corporate Photography web page.