How to Pick a Good Picture of Yourself

photographer in studipSpeaking to a group of lawyers recently, I advised the attorneys to be sure to put a color picture on their LinkedIn profile. Afterwards a man confided in me that he hated getting a picture taken. He never liked how he looked -- and I totally sympathized.

I recommended he visit a professional photographer and then ask his friends and family to choose the best picture. That took the decision out of his hands. He was slim and mature and I told him he had nothing to worry about. He still wasn't happy about it.

When I look at pictures of oursleves, many of us are our worst critics. Here are some tips to rebut the inner fault-finder:

  • Do not go into a bathroom and take a "selfie" with your cell phone camera, unless you're using the photo on a dating site for teenagers.
  • Do not use an outdated photo when you were younger and prettier. When people see you in real life they'll be struck at how much older you've gotten.
  • Go ahead and get a picture taken when you're heavier than usual. Chances are you'll get more fit and when people see you they'll be impressed that you look better.
  • Dress the way you ordinarily do at work. Over the last 10 years I have visited a lot of law firms and casual dress is the norm today. When I do see a man in a suit and tie, it appears that the guy is trying too hard.
  • Ladies, wear something that flatters you. Do not wear tight or stretchy clothes unless you're a runner or someone in their 20s. If you have to ask your man whether the outfit makes you look fat -- it does.
  • Don't make a giant grin if it turns your face big and round. Try a Mona Lisa smile instead.
  • If you have a double chin, position yourself so that you look up at the camera. This pulls your neck skin tighter.
  • Should you have an eagle beak, look straight into the camera. Singer Joan Baez used this technique successfully.
  • Wrinkles are OK in my book. Even kids nowadays appreciate the look of experience.
  • Read Is Your Attorney Headshot Telling the Real Story?

larry bodine cartoon fiverrIf there is something about your appearance that troubles you, spend the money to pay a professional who knows how to make people look good. Lighting and angles make all the difference.  Photography is digital nowadays, and a pro will edit out your moles and splotches.

And just for fun go to Fiverr.com, where artists will do anything for $5. I sent a photo to an artist in the UK who turned it into a cartoon. I now use it for my Twitter Avatar.

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Madeleine Bryant-Kambe - June 8, 2012 6:47 PM

Thank you so much for a great and timely (for me) article! For most of the 32 years in practice, business came to me easily...before the web. Now, I am working on the online presence, and am preparing to take the photos...I was thinking about the whole suit business.

I have done a couple of tv shows which are on my old webpage in video. Do you think that is good? It is with a current judge and a fairly well known past TV personality. OK to put on there? We were humorous-not instructive, but my personality does show thru. What do you think? I am doing family law and trying to change to estate planning.

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