I’ve been a photographer for most of my life and often get asked to photograph executives, engineers, marketing personnel, and many other individuals for their websites. I’ve witnessed a trend in that not only do companies want photos of their staff, they go so far as to ask for staged shots for their websites. The staged photos are then placed throughout their website to enhance the look and fell. I think that many people just assume that the photos were purchased at stock photography websites although anyone doing business with these companies on a face to face level, either in person or via video conferencing technology would know that they aren’t.
I’d like to focus on the idea of putting individual photos next to an employee’s name (or your own name if you’re the business owner). Business of all sizes are deciding to place staff photos on their profiles (such as on LinkedIn.com) as well as the corporate website. Here are some perspectives to consider:
- Pursuasion is a big one in my book. When people visit your website they’ll often check out the company profile page(s). The Internet is a cold place and adding a photo often adds a personal touch. It can help your credibility and transparency which are both parts of the overall pursuasion section of the Internet Success Model™.
- People tend to trust and buy more from attractive people so you’re among that crowd, it could help you.
- People love looking at people. Having your photo displayed may leave a lasting impression.
- If you work in an industry where trust is especially important such as banking, investing, and high end sales, adding a photo can set a client’s mind at ease.
- Photos in social media profiles tend to attract a lot more attention. This can help with branding you as a professional.
- Privacy is rapidly growing into a major issue. Putting your photo online can be seen as an invasion of privacy.
- Knowing about how attractive people generate more sales and the Halo Effect, I’ve seen some companies use stock photos to represent actual employees or as made-up people in their testimonials.
- Staff come and go frequently and so adding and removing photos on a regular basis can be time consuming and a general pain.
- Small businesses often consider the hiring of a professional photographer to get a real headshot as a waste of money.
- Some people simply aren’t photogenic and placing their photo may turn people off.
- It could be dangerous (especially for women) to show what you look like.
- You may want to appear younger than you are (that’s what Photoshop is for!!).
Where Should it Go?
In most cases, I don’t advise placing a large photo of you on the homepage of your business website. If you rely on the Internet for the bulk of your business, you may simply want to place a photo on the about us page and leave it off of the homepage.
What Should It Look Like?
In most cases I suggest leaving your wife, kids, dog, and material goods such as a high end car out of the photo. One reason for this suggestion is that people like to work with others who they feel are similar to them. By adding those items, it sets you apart and fills in the gaps of differences in their minds where they would otherwise have filled them in on their own, possibly in a more connected light. Secondly, you want to come across as professional, not overly casual.
I recommend keeping your Internet presence as primarily business-focussed, avoiding posting all of the personal details of your life. (I’ll blog about that another time.)
Placing your photo on your website (and social media profile) may or may not work for you. It could be that your business niche isn’t one to do that kind of thing. Or, you could be a pioneer when it comes to taking the next step toward pursuading people to buy from you.
Consider your own situation. What do you do and why?