“IMAGE IS EVERYTHING”
Life is all about first impressions, Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov.
Forming a first impression takes 1/10th of a second.
In 1/10th of a second we decide someone’s Competence, Likeability and Influence by possibly viewing a profile photo of them.
How does this relate to Business?
- “People buy from people they like know and trust”
- If you don’t have a picture, how can you start the process?
- More importantly how do you go about getting a good profile image?
A couple of years ago “Photofeeler” carried out some research using 800 profile images. Viewers were asked to rate the images against Competence, Likeability and Influence. The research did not include the characteristics like gender, age, and physical traits.
The following were considered the important areas discovered by the research, are you surprised?
When viewing images of someone, people like to see the full facial features of who they are looking at. Obstructions such as hats, sunglasses or poor lighting can hide features and this reduces the likeability of what the viewer is seeing. Look into the camera, don’t hide.
Ensure that you squint slightly when looking into the lens. Having wide open eyes gives the impression of the rabbit in the headlights, it denotes fear.
Having a slight squint, increases the perception of your
competence, influence, likeability and feels more comfortable for the viewer.
Profile photos that show a defined Jawline increase your perception of competence, influence, and likeability.
I know we have all made excuses, “I don’t like smiling”, “my teeth aren’t white”, “I’ll crack the lens” but that’s what they are excuses.
Want to increase the perception of people viewing you? Then an open smile is a good way of doing so. By smiling you appear friendlier, happier, healthier, and more relaxed.
If your smile is a closed smile (no teeth showing) then your perception of competence, influence, and likeability is likely to drop by half of that with an open smile.
Be careful though don’t turn the smile into a laugh, although this was found more likeable the competence and influence was shown to have dropped. So keep the smile controlled.
The way you dress in a photo says a lot of who you are. Think it’s not important and anything will do?
The research showed that formal dress gained the greatest
perceived Competence and
Influence. That is a dark suit over a light coloured shirt/blouse, and men you need a tie.
By all means dress down for your photo but this will lose viewers perception of how credible you are. Also beware of stripes and bold colours.
Body Area Shown
How much of the body should be shown:
- Close-up of the face?
- Head and face?
- Head and shoulders?
- Head to waist?
The research showed that head and shoulders or head to waist shots fared better than face only close-ups.
Those people that used a full body shot negatively affected competence and influence.
The research never came up with an answer to this. However as a personal opinion the background needs to be plain or out of focus. The important thing is that the subject stands out.
Maybe you can experiment with different colours. Have your head-shot taken against a green screen and have a series of different background (colours or out of focus) being used.
Avoid direct sunlight images as you will either be squinting with the sun in your face or to dark (unless flash is used) with the sun at your back. Both of these viewers will lose confidence in you.
The key here is moderation; all digital photos benefit from some editing:
- colour correction
- contrast etc.
But avoid anything extreme.
All photographs copyright © Martin Harris. All rights reserved.
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