A few years ago, I heard a highly-admired photographer speak in an online course about the value of a great bio, and specifically great images of yourself. While learning more about running her own business, she learned that the first place the majority of people go when they click on your website is to find more about YOU. They'll click on the "About Me" section or the "Meet the Photographer" section before even looking at your portfolio.
I was shocked, and yet it made perfect sense at the same time. I had spent all of this time working on my portfolio and, in the process, almost totally neglected my bio page.
I don't think I'm the only one overlooking my own story. Many people don't even have a pic of their own face on their website. I get it, we all struggle to like photos of ourselves.
I should be much skinnier 6 months from now, right?
I'll wait until summer when I have an inkling of a tan. These pale legs could use the love.
I belong on one side of this camera: behind it.
That just sounds awkward.
Ugh. What do I even wear? What says "I'm a grown woman, but I swear I'm also super fun"?
Wait, how could I only like THREE photos out of the three HUNDRED we took??
Nevermind. Who really needs to see my face anyway? They just need to see my work, right?
And so we remain faceless. No bio pic for anyone to judge. Or we just keep using the photo from three years ago when we liked ourselves more. But the truth is, your potential clients need to know you're human, just like them.
I stumbled across this quote while scrolling the gram in one of my (more-frequent-than-they-should-be) brain breaks, and it floored me:
"In general, people are not drawn to perfection in others. People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems, and an individual's life energy. Humans connect with humans. Hiding one's humanity and trying to project an image of perfection makes a person vague, slippery, lifeless, and uninteresting." -- Robert Glover
I had been a photographer (mind you, without a good photo of myself on my site) for almost four years before my friend Kaitie tricked me into getting in front of her camera. She said she "needed to test new lights" and so I gave in. No joke, we took three hundred photos in her living room late at night in front of backdrop with strobe lights and umbrellas. It was the most uncomfortable thing. Afterwards, as she scrolled through the images on her computer around midnight, I was so bummed with how many of them I hated.
BUT there were a few, like...three, that surprised me. I loved those three. They were me, and capable of communicating who I was. Before then, I never had a photo of myself that I was proud of, something I could put next to my bio as a way for the interwebs to know that I was real.
That was seven years ago. And these days I've accumulated a few profile pics that I love.
The bizarre thing about being on the opposite side of the camera was that I developed a whole lot more empathy for those being photographed. And since then Kaitie and I have purposely switched places (even when our pale selves haven't lost the weight yet) so that we're continually more understanding of how to help those in front of our cameras. And somewhere in the process, we end up with an image that screams "YES! THAT'S ME!!"
But, maybe more importantly, it has made us better photographers. I know what it feels like now.
When I first joined The Hive, a few of us gals started talking about having a day of pampered head shots. We threw out ideas of finding make up artists and hairstylists. And almost two years later, the team at the Hive (aka not me) made it happen! And I'm so glad I got to be one of the photographers.
I was so impressed with the women that participated! Many were running their own businesses/blogs, some were the face of instagram accounts, and a handful were in the process of applying for jobs. A few needed an updated linkedin profile pic and there was even a doctor who wanted a bio pic for her site.
These women were all so brave to do this and I'm crazy excited about how their photos turned out. I didn't want to overwhelm you, so I just picked a few of the girls to feature so you could see a glimpse of the variety. Hope you like them.
P.S. If you've never had a head shot of yourself that you love, let's talk. You deserve a photo you're proud enough to share with your potential clients, with potential bosses or even just Facebook. I genuinely believe it's helped me see myself in a better light, and that's my hope for you too.