So it’s time to update your profile picture for social media, your website, business card, you name it. You’ve found a photographer and booked a photo shoot. What can you do now to get ready for the best results possible?
#1 Pick your clothing. Remember this picture will be cropped pretty close to your face so your shirt, jacket and or sweater are really what matter. Collared shirts work well as do solid colors. Make sure your clothes are well fitted. Too loose and you get bumps and folds. Too tight and you get bulges and an uncomfortable look. If your shot is going to appear on a page with others you might coordinate colors or at least discuss a color palette.
#2 Get plenty of rest. Not just the night before your shoot but hopefully the week before. I know we are a sleep deprived society but do your best.
#3 Drink plenty of water. See benefits here: http://www.mangosteen-natural-remedies.com/benefits-of-drinking-water.html. When you are properly hydrated you will feel better and when you feel better you look better.
#4 Lay off the salt. Salt promotes fluid retention which can make your whole body bloat. Surely you don’t want puffy eyes in your headshot. In fact if you are really serious about looking your best you might try the Dr. Perricone 3 day diet. http://www.everydiet.org/diet/perricone This diet is more about promoting health and reducing inflammation than losing weight. There is plenty of food so there is no suffering. I have done it many times and I think it makes a huge difference in my appearance, especially my skin and eyes.
#5 Do what you know works for you. If you have a favorite beauty regimen now is the time to take it up.
Photo day can be fun so show up rested, feeling great and relax.
It’s that time again, a New Year has arrived and we’re all thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. I have some ideas to help you find inspiration and achieve success for four of the top ten resolutions.
#1 Weight loss is on the list for many almost every year. Have you ever noticed how packed gyms and yoga centers are in January? Well as inspiration to keep up your work out regimen the REST of the year we can retouch a picture of you to look like your goal weight. Every time you feel like blowing off your workout you can look at the picture and remember your goal.
#2 Quitting smoking is another common resolution and for good reason. There are so many reasons to drop the nicotine habit but one I don’t think a lot of people realize is that smoking causes wrinkles, age spots and dark circles. The good news is if you quit smoking it can make a real difference in the appearance of your skin. As a daily reminder we can retouch out your wrinkles and you can have a concrete reminder of a new healthier you.
#3 Drinking is another habit people often want to quit and it too affects you appearance as well as you health. In fact all of these resolutions listed so far can make your look bad because they are bad for you. For one drinking alcohol is fattening. Alcohol is very high calorie and it increases your appetite. Drinking also does you skin no favors, think Rosacea. The eyes also suffer from a tired possibly blood shot look and puffy under eye area. Put a retouched picture of yourself where you normally keep your alcohol as a reminder of what you are doing to yourself.
#4 Number four is a resolution that can make you more beautiful on the inside. This resolution is to help others. Buddha said, “If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way”. Do you have a friend who has suffered the loss of their job? Why not give them a step in the right direction towards finding a new career by giving them a new professionally retouched headshot for all their social media profile pictures?
Whatever your resolution I wish you success & a happy New Year.
I see a lot of complaining about retouching on the web. I think a lot of these complaints are unfounded and hypocritical. Sure I understand the mocking of really bad or heavy handed retouching. Models with seemingly dislocated limbs or huge bobble heads are tragically amusing. What I disagree with is the idea that all retouching is evil and perpetrates a lie. The phrase “the camera never lies “ has never held water for me. The camera can pick up and exaggerate little flaws that a person might never notice in person. A slight 5 o’clock shadow can look like 5 days of beard growth; a few stray hairs can amplify into an electric shock look. On top of that some days we just don’t look like ourselves. For example, the day of my senior year picture I had an horrible sunburn. On picture retake day I had another horrible sunburn. Okay, I lived in Florida and was not yet aware of the skin cancer implications. The point is if you believe that pictures never lie then I must have been a puffy red-faced girl my senior year in high school. I think we’ve all had unfortunate picture days that could have used a little retouching to help us look more like ourselves not less.
But there’s more, here’s my other argument with complaints about retouching. How many of these words are part of your grooming regimen: tweeze, shave, curl, straighten, blow-dry, mascara, foundation, concealer, blush, lipstick, clip, file, toner, moisturizer, hair gel, hairspray? I would say most all of us have a daily grooming regimen designed to help us look our best. Why is this not frowned upon? Certainly we are not presenting ourselves to world as we naturally are after we are through primping. And that’s not counting the less frequent beauty treatments of facials, hair coloring, mani-pedi’s and the like that are so popular. I’m not even going to touch botox, collagen and the gazillions of other treatments that are commonly used today. So why is natural retouching seen as dishonest while giving ourselves a “make-over” is a celebrated activity? Perhaps it is just an adjustment period in attitudes as people realize that retouching is accessible for everyone now, not just movie stars.
You need to get customers to your page, of course, but what do they see when they get there? A Web page is part of building a competitive business, but this just gets you a store front on the Internet highway. What will make customers want to stop in and learn more? Bottom line: You have a Web site to enhance your image—then get your image on your Web site!
I want you to think about the value of good headshots on your business website. Small businesses thrive on personal contact and good service, but many have Web pages without featured photos of a company team. I suggest that this is a good idea. People do business with people and people should have a face.
I’m not just talking about slapping together whatever pictures your staff happens to have on hand either. Nothing looks more sloppy and unprofessional than a group of clearly unrelated headshots on a website. I’m talking about a coherent and attractive group of photos that have a similar look, crop and feeling. The look and feel can enhance your appeal. By the feeling of the photos I mean, do you sell candy? Maybe you want a playful and friendly feeling. Are you a team of therapists? Then you need to project compassion.
Well designed images convey the special qualities of your dynamic small business—personable, professional, and inviting. I suggest you think about concepts and strategies before photo day and send out a memo to those involved. Discuss clothing, theme, colors, and make sure everyone gets a good night sleep the night before. SHARE your ideas with your photographer so everyone is on the same page. Make sure you find someone with some design skills. Look at the Web page you have now; assorted pieces get you nowhere. You need someone with a vision of how everything can work together.
When the work is done, consider a little retouching to give everyone a polished look. Again, shop for the right person to enhance what you have—no tacky airbrushing! Your Web page is there to CONNECT with the customer, and YOUR image is the key.
Which one of these people is more appealing to you? Which one would you rather do business with? I admit I am biased towards Lisa Streib because that is me but I think most people would prefer to work with an identifiable person. Sure I’m no model but most of aren’t and that’s okay. I liken it to calling a business with a question. I want to talk to a live person when I call not go through a series of recordings. These blank profile pictures above make me think of an annoying recording that never gets me the information I need.
I’ve noticed something lately, I almost never see blank profile pictures on Facebook any more but I see them all the time on LinkedIn. This does not make sense to me. Do people care more about their Facebook page than their LinkedIn page? How could that be? LinkedIn is our professional presentation of ourselves on social media. Is this not important enough to take the time to post a picture of ourselves? Sure we are in a computer age but we still need people to make things happen. When you hire a company and invest your money you want to know that there are people just like you working hard to meet your needs. It’s not enough to list your past successes and post your resume on LinkedIn. Even recommendations ring hollow when there is no face to attach those recommendations to. People should have a face.
Examples of bad dating site profile pictures
Today’s blog would seem to be common sense, a no brainer as it were. I’m talking about what not to post on eHarmony, Match.com or any other online dating service. BUT a friend let me look at his dating service page and I could not believe some of the profile pictures people post on those sites. Aside from whatever info you post on your profile the only tangible idea of who you are on these sites is your picture. If you want people to reach out to you, I suggest giving this picture some thought. Basically you are marketing yourself as a potential date, what are you trying to sell?
I have used my finely honed skills as an illustrator to point out a few of what I consider to be bad dating service profile picture choices. Look out xkcd there’s a new artist in town. I’m not making these up, I saw tons of samples of these odd choices.
#1 Don’t post a picture with your ex haphazardly cropped out. What does that say? I’m on the rebound? I might be through with my ex? I’m lazy? None of this cries out pick me.
#2 Party photos, and by party photos I mean photos centered around drinking. I’m no teetotaler but these photos send a strange message to me. Ok you like to have fun, that’s cool, who doesn’t like to have fun? But unless your dream date has a substance abuse problem why advertise yourself this way?
#3 Please smile just a little. It doesn’t hurt. So maybe you’re an uber intellectual whose idea of a good time is arguing about economic turmoil in the Eastern Bloc. Still if you want a date you need to be at least a tiny bit approachable.
I could go on; put some clothes on, take a bath, turn the lights on but I think you catch my drift. Sure posting on dating websites must be awkward and scary. So scary you might tell yourself it’s just a joke and not take it seriously. But if you are serious think of it as an important interview and do your homework with your profile picture.
I have attached an image from a New York Times article posted yesterday. This article showcases models for New York Fashion Week in before and after makeup transformations. Click on link to see more. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/model-morphosis/
I think this highlights what I was saying in my first blog about natural versus unnatural retouching with respect to when unnatural retouching might be appropriate. Should the image on the right at the bottom of this post be printed in a fashion magazine I think heavy handed retouching would make sense. The model in the after picture does not look natural before retouching. The makeup she is wearing and I’m sure the clothes she will wear on the catwalk is highly stylized and dramatic. I don’t expect I will ever see anyone with makeup like this except maybe at a costume ball. Frankly the model is prettier without the makeup in my opinion but the clothing designer who requested this makeup is clearly going for a glamorous other worldly look. Such being the case I think this is a good example of a time when unnatural retouching would complement the photo.
Example of photo in which unnatural retouching would be complementary
I decided my last post on natural vs unnatural headshot retouching might be better illustrated with a visual example. There are tons of examples of unnatural retouching out there on the web but I have created my own below.
The model in the example is artist and songwriter Kristen Hope Justice, photography by twmeyer.com. The picture on the far left has not been retouched. The picture in the middle has been given the kind of unnatural retouching that I was remarking on in the coupon offer. The picture on the right has what I consider to be natural retouching. As you can see in the middle sample Kristen has taken on the appearance of a Barbie doll. Sure her skin is smooth but it has a rubbery or plastic look to it. Not only that, she lost all her freckles. And as a friend told me once, a face without freckles is like a sky without the stars.
Click to enlarge
I received an e-mail coupon offer today for a one hour photo shoot. The sample headshot on the coupon struck me as odd. The woman in the portrait was very attractive but the photo had been so heavily retouched she looked inhuman. She had been blurred so heavily that she had no skin texture at all, giving her the appearance of a plastic doll in my opinion. This kind of retouching is very distracting to me. When I look at the picture I don’t see her as much as the work done to the photo.
This brings me to the topic of natural versus unnatural retouching. There is plenty of room in the world for both kinds of retouching. It is a just a matter of using each style in the appropriate settings. I think we all remember the popular glamour shots from the 80’s. They came across as tacky because the same style of photography and touch-up was used for everyone. What is fitting for a fashion model is not the same as what is suitable for a six year old. Let’s face it, six year olds are not supposed to be glamorous.
So when is unnatural retouching suitable? I would say fashion photography and product photography are two good examples. Advertisers want the products they sell to look appealing. We all know window cleaning solution is not sexy but advertisers may try to make it look that way in an ad to sway customers towards one product over another. No one is fooled into thinking if I buy that product house cleaning will now become romantic. It’s just one way of promoting a product among so many others like the use of humor or a cute mascot. Likewise I feel a lot of fashion photography is designed to represent an idealized world not a realistic one. Even the clothes you see in the ads in a lot of fashion magazines are sort of like a concept car prototype. More than likely no one is ever going to drive the car that looks like it’s made entirely out of Lucite, just as most women will not find themselves sporting the latest runway fashions. These fashions are over the top concepts that will be pared down and simplified before mass consumption. Therefore an overly stylized and retouched image of such fanciful creations seems apropos.
When would natural looking retouching be a better choice. I would say most professional headshots and portraits should have an unretouched appearance. For one thing I think an obviously retouched image in these cases looks suspicious. A person might wonder what do you have to hide or why do you feel the need to look so phony? A professional headshot or portrait should present the world with a polished but sincere person, a person you would want to meet, a person you would like to do business with.
Below you can see a before and after retouching self portrait of my handsome friend and photographer, Tom Meyer, twmeyer.com. I think this is a good example of natural retouching. Tom still looks like himself after retouching, you would still recognize him on the street. That does not mean a lot of retouching was not done, it was just done with restraint. Tom still has wrinkles and veins, they are just less pronounced. It is always a subjective matter as to how far to go with these things but as a rule of thumb I would say less is usually more in retouching.
Sample of natural retouching done by Streibwerks, click to enlarge
For beauty secrets of the rich and famous, legendary actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn had this to say: “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness; for lovely eyes, seek out the good in people; for a slim figure, share your food with the hungry; for beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day; for poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.” Ms. Hepburn was a striking beauty with endearing qualities – a perfect example that real beauty comes from within. And that inspires me to help people look their best so that those qualities shine through on the web. The web is a fun place, a place we can’t stay away from it’s so much fun. But it’s also a serious place, a business place, a place where everything you ever post, including your headshot, never goes away.
Building a good online identity is a multifold project. Today’s focus is your online headshot. Just consider the potential viewers — a prospective business client, a prospective date, a prospective employer – each getting their first look at you and drawing all kinds of conclusions. It may be their only impression of you. Think about it. How many of your clients have you never met in person? E-mail and phone have become all too common place as a means of communicating with people instead of face to face. In a way this can work to your advantage. After all, one good headshot can replace dressing for success dozens of times!
So your online headshot is more important than you may have imagined. Don’t you think it should look great? You want to present the best possible you. Think about what you spend on haircuts, hair coloring, clothes, manicures, pedicures, teeth whitening, facials, waxing. For just a dip in the bucket of what you spend on all of those things, you can have your headshot professionally retouched. I am not talking about old school airbrushing or a phony overly Photoshopped version of you. I’m talking about a natural, professional, clean and polished you. It’s like sending your headshot to the spa so that the best you shines through. Think about it.