The Instant Power of Your Image
Wow, it’s amazing when something clicks, when you have one of those ah-ha moments!
That just happened to me less than 5 minutes ago.
A friend said to me, ‘you’ve photographed this well-known person, haven’t you?’ I had taken their portrait previously and, if I do say so myself it was a cracking shot!
This well-known person had just published a big article in a major newspaper – a double page spread no less. As you would expect it was accompanied by the obligatory photograph – a headshot as it happened.
My friend showed me the article and, as evolution dictates, my eye was drawn immediately towards the photo. Unfortunately I let out an involuntary gasp of horror!
Which he knew I would., and said ‘I knew it, I knew it!’ as he whooped delightedly.
Before my brain even had time to process the face I was drawn to the person’s neck and the amount of creases it had.
Nothing wrong with a few laughter lines at all (I have more than a few myself). But, it was the posture of the person and the fact that the photographer hadn’t picked up on what they were seeing – or NOT SEEING in this case.
I never got the chance to appreciate the photo properly because I was appalled by the photographer’s lack of consideration or awareness for the subject. They missed a really unflattering issue and, it was in a national newspaper no less!
Anyway, my friend laughed and we discussed the photo a bit more and chatted about the article which was very interesting.
The Instant Power of Your Image
The point I am making is about how we look at photos and headshots on a wider scale of how we interpret visual information. We process it 60,000 times faster than we process text.
What does this mean for you as someone who needs a new headshot and wants to get the right?
Well, if you are applying for a job, promoting yourself on social media, presenting the right image for your brand or are an actor. Understanding the message your headshot sends and more importantly being aware of the ways you and your headshot photographer can influence that message is important.
In less than a second I had disliked the photo of the journalist. I had already decided that the extra skin around their neck was unflattering.
This made me make an instinctive, split second decision about them, in this case it was wrong and my ire turned towards the photographer.
If this headshot had been for a job application it may have a similar effect on the recruiters. If it was a tight run race between two equal candidates it may be the unknown subconscious trigger that has a negative effect.
It may cost you your perfect job.
It could have the same effect with social media and personal branding images. However, the bigger negative effect could be with the actor looking to stand out from the crowd and grab the casting director’s attention. It may cost the actor their dream role or at least the opportunity to show how perfect they are for a role.
This stuff is important.You and your headshot photographer need to be aware of it.
The Instant Power of Your Image Message
Understanding the message your headshot sends about you is crucial in creating a successful headshot.
The clothes you wear, the way you style your hair and makeup, the location you are photographed and your pose all send visual signals about you as a prospective employee or influencer. Those signals leap out at us so fast that we have processed them even before we have consciously thought about it.
These indicators can set-off alarm bells to potential brand collaborators and send them running.
It might seem unfair that how we look plays such an important part in how successful we may or may not be in our chosen field – and it is. However, in certain areas image is crucial.
We live in a visual world, we are primed by evolution to pick up on these signals.So let’s understand them and ensure our profile headshots send out the right message.