Biz Advice: Say Cheese!

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Sonja Rasula
Sonja Rasula

For years I've been giving people business advice as well as conducting branding and public relations workshops. What's one of the most important things I tell people? "Get professional, great photos of yourself!" When an editor emails you for a photo of yourself, you should be able to email them something same-day. Don't miss out on a great press opportunity because you didn't take the time to get a head shot! Just like great product photography, having a few great photos of yourself can open doors when it comes to things like being considered to be a speaker at a conference, a judge for a contest, a new contributor for a website, etc.

You should know that I hate having my photo taken, meaning it's an insecurity of mine. But since it had been over three years since my last photo shoot, I was long overdue for new head shots. Two weeks ago I took some of my own advice and had the amazing photographer Bonnie Tsang take new photos of me... WOW! She did such a beautiful job I was blown away. Working with a professional ensures you get press quality photos, meaning he/she has edited them, corrected or touched-up their picks, and that you are getting high resolution photos (300 DPI) which are needed for print publications. As you can see below, I now have a diverse selection of photos to pull from when needed. Already two editors have needed my photo, and instead of using something random they find on Google, I was able to control my image and send them professional photos! It really makes a huge difference...

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Don't wear white, it bounces the light and makes it hard to photograph.
  • Wear something colorful, solid color if possible. Even if you normally wear black all-day, everyday, add a pop of color somehow to add something that catches the eye and brightens the photo.
  • Consider getting a professional to apply your makeup - not only will it look amazing on camera but it's a business expense!
  • Stay classic in style,  not trendy. Patterns and prints are great but they tend to be trendy, so wearing solid colors is best. Even people with larger-then-life personalities and products, such as clothing designer Betsey Johnson, tend to wear basics when being photographed so that it's not the clothing attracting attention but the face. ;) It makes the photo timeless and easy to use across a few years.
  • Practice make perfect... Practice your various smiles and "faces" in the mirror to get to know which you like, then practice them without looking into a mirror to get comfortable.
  • Remember that you are the boss. In other words, as a paying customer, it's your job to direct the makeup artist and photographer. Ask to see some of the shots during the shoot to see if you like the direction or not. Tell the makeup artist exactly what you want.
  • Smile and have fun!
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