by guest blogger Erin Keam
Are you ready for your close-up? In How to Supercharge your Image for your Website – Part 1, Stylist Erin Keam gave us valuable tips on how to create images that resonate. In Part 2 she gives us all-important advice on what to wear in our website photos.
Are your clothes attracting, distracting or alienating?
We want attention on your face. Eyes, smile, this is what humans respond to. We don’t want them to immediately focus on your outfit (i.e. below your neck) before they see your face. Even style icon Iris Apfel (who turns 100 this year!) balances out her look with larger-than-life glasses which draw the eye upwards.
Be sure to wear clothing in good condition and not obviously out of date, especially if you have been out of the workforce for a while. It may seem a no-brainer, but when we’ve had clothing a while, we often miss things like stretched necklines etc. And, there has been a shift away from corporate to casual in many fields. Research what your contemporaries/icons/mentors (I suggest of a similar age) are wearing. This also goes for your hair and makeup, and it depends on your field and identity.
Keep your website colors in mind
You don’t want your outfit to clash with your brand colors, or, if the website is vibrant, you don’t want to get lost. I made an error with mine in that my site is predominantly white, so the photos with a real background look a lot better than the ones with a plain off-white wall.
What colors flatter you?
This can be the most challenging thing for many. What colors are you drawn to and why? Which colors have gotten you the most compliments? Which wash you out and which make you look vibrant? Colors you used to wear may not suit you now, due to changes in hair color, aging, even a tan can alter the effect.
Quick tip. Identify your skin tone. Take test photos first in daylight, (yes, selfies are OK here) as the mirror isn’t objective but a camera is. You can test color variations with friends and social media, asking which shade people prefer on you, keeping everything else the same (lipstick, hair, style, background, lighting). They may not know why, exactly, but they will like one better than the other. Also, look for colors that don’t overwhelm you. Bright is great, but the orange or red you love might be better as an accessory, not next to your face. Or you could ask a stylist who has a sales and marketing background. Ah…like me.
Now you’ve got an idea of what to wear and in what color based on research and analysis, but you still might be in a quandary about details. Scoop, crew, turtleneck? Cap sleeves, sleeveless, mid-length? Experiment.
- A turtleneck may make your face look like it is floating in space
- A rounded neckline might emphasize the roundness of your delightful chin
- A halter will draw the eye downwards
- V-necks flatter most people.
- Sleeveless might draw the eye to your arms instead of your face (remember, that’s where we want people to focus)
Most online photos aren’t full length, but certain necklines suit different body shapes. Here’s where research comes in again. Or call me.
Now that you have your personal website photos…where to put them on the site?
I recommend your main landing page and up at the top, so visitors don’t have to scroll to see you. Definitely on your About page. And, your smiling face on your Contact page can help seal the deal. I’m cautious of using stock photos of strangers if they are seen first. It’s not always clear whether it is you or not. When you’ve found the perfect spot for your images, don’t forget to add Alt Tags to them to help with SEO. If you’re not sure what those are, ask Ms. Copywhiz!
And finally, if you saw your photo, would you want to work with you?
I know I said it’s all about your target audience, but at the end of the day we want to work with people we will like spending time with. What qualities do you admire most in others? Do your photos reflect those? For me, approachability, a sense of fun and kindness will win me over every time.
Erin Keam is a coach who wants your style to take you closer to who you want to be (and your ideal life). She has a background in sales & marketing, life coaching, media, theatre, radio, and animal welfare. She’s a podcast host (if you identify as female, she’d love you as a guest) and knows how to get you Zoom Ready. She offers free discovery calls with action steps. She is owned by a French Bulldog.