It never ceases to amaze me how many professionals have dreadful corporate photos. You know the type – an over or under-exposed headshot against a harsh plain background. Often wearing a colour that does the subject no favours. What were they thinking? Actually, I don’t think they were. Thinking that is.

If you don’t believe me, just have a quick look on LinkedIn. 

And speaking of LinkedIn photos – don’t include your kids, your pet, alcohol (unless you work in that industry), you holding a cute little stuffed toy (really!) or your partner. LinkedIn photos need to be about you and only you!

It’s really not that difficult to have a great photo taken, and it doesn’t need to be expensive, especially in the age of the high-quality camera phone. Not to mention all the free online photo-editing tools and apps to help you with any exposure or other editing requirements.

The Cook's Notebook - Mel Kettle

Taken by Jen Dainer for my food and travel blog,  The Cook’s Notebook, and to promote Gourmet Trails South Africa, the food tour I’m taking to South Africa in 2016 – isn’t the zebra cute?

My top tips for a great corporate headshot are:

  • think about the look you want – serious, fun, relaxed – this will depend a bit on your industry. The photo I use on my food and travel blog is [now] different to the one I use on this blog. Mainly because I’m in the kitchen as opposed to sitting outside looking a little more corporate (not too corporate – I don’t own a suit!)
  • make sure you have neat and tidy hair and makeup. I know a lot of women who have a make-up artist do their makeup before a corporate shot and that’s a great idea, especially if you are not confident in doing your own. And men, you can benefit from a bit of translucent powder too, to eliminate that shiny-face that can so often be seen. Don’t go over the top – the key is to still look like yourself, not like you’ve just had a glamour shot taken (or, the “meat market” shot, as The Accountant calls them!).
  • think carefully about what you will wear. In both the shots I’ve used I’m wearing a bright green top. I love this colour and I know it suits me. I knew it would also work in the environment the photos were taken in (outside at Brisbane’s Powerhouse and in my kitchen). I took a couple of outfits along to the photo shoot I had taken at the Powerhouse – a white shirt (that I had to buy especially and have never worn again…) and the green one in the photo I ended up using. The photographer for the Powerhouse shoot was keen for me to wear a crisp white shirt despite me telling her I hated that look. I did acquiesce, as I thought she should know, as she is the professional, however I should have listened to my gut.
    Also avoid wearing beige or other skin colours that match your skin tone; stripes, spots, plaid or other distracting patterns; turtlenecks(ugh!); or flashy ties or jewellery that will draw attention away from your face
  • be careful of cleavage – I have seen far too many photos on LinkedIn where the subject showed waaaay too much boobage. And very inappropriate in most instances*.
corporate photos

Taken by Clare Smith – which one would you have chosen?

  • choose a photographer you will be comfortable with. The two I’ve used – Clare Smith and Jen Dainer – both have been fantastic. They immediately made me feel comfortable and relaxed, and that came across in the photos.
  • go to the shoot relaxed! If that means you need to have a sneaky nip of vodka, then do it!
  • be happy when your shot is taken. You don’t need to give a great beaming smile, but think happy thoughts – it will show through.

Do you have a great corporate shot? Do you have any tips to add?

* thanks for Marie Bismark for reminding me that my previous (and now altered) comment about porn stars not being on LinkedIn was not accurate given that many sex workers are self-employed (like so many service providers), and running a business with clients, suppliers and colleagues. Apologies if  I offended anyone before making the correction. It certainly wasn’t my intent.

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