I recently experienced an image disconnect on two occasions. First, when I went to see an author speak and second when I opened an email newsletter with a video message.
With the author, I had read her book and seen her photo
on the book jacket. As I approached the hall, a giant poster of her
stood by the entrance. When I took my seat and looked to
the front of the room, the woman who was smiling and greeting us looked nothing like the photos. I thought this was someone who would
introduce the author or was here to make some other announcement. For a moment, I thought I might have entered the wrong conference room.
In fact, the stranger at the front of the room WAS the author. Her photograph wasn’t just a younger version of herself. It was an image
airbrushed beyond recognition and her book had only come out a few years
Her lecture was excellent both in delivery and content. But I could not
get over how completely different she looked from the person in the
photo right outside the door!
The second instance was in a monthly ezine I enjoy
reading. For years, it has featured a smiling photo of the
writer. She uses the same photograph on her website and blog. This
month she sent her first video ezine and it was a big surprise. Yes, I
recognized the woman but her photo is clearly from 20 years ago and
“touched-up” in the extreme. In a small way, I felt deceived.
When you’re building your personal brand, authenticity means a lot. We all want to look our best, smooth out the wrinkles, roll back the
years. Air brushing and photoshop-type software programs can work
magic on less than perfect pictures, but if you’re a speaker, going on TV or using video, you won’t keep the secret for long.
Get realistic professional head shots taken or perhaps have a friend who’s a
good photographer do some fun shots showing your personality with a prop, a
hat, sunglasses, etc. When I first started online, I pulled out an old 80’s head shot, but made sure I replaced it with a more current image pretty quickly.
I had new professional head shots done a couple years ago. They looked like me, but I didn’t really like them. That’s why I use my microphone shot and
an image of me on an old-fashioned TV from photofunia.com. They fit my brand image and I like how they look.
By all means, choose photos you’re happy with and commit to updating them periodically. I’d also suggest you use pictures that represent the REAL you as you look in the 21st Century.