In the digital age, it’s easy to assume that photography is no longer an art form. After all, with a camera on practically every smartphone, taking a photograph has never been easier. However, just because photo snapping is no longer difficult does not mean that everyone you meet could be a professional photographer—at least not in the traditional sense of the word. But as with any creative pursuit, there are tricks and techniques to making your photos stand out from the rest of the pack. Whether you’re planning on uploading them to social media like Instagram or you want to use them for professional purposes like for your LinkedIn profile, these tips will help you choose a photo that best represents who you are as an individual and an employee.
Know Your Audience
Before you even start to think about what photo you’ll use, it’s important to know your audience. How do you think your potential employers will use your photo? How will your audience be viewing your photo? Photographers have been using the rule of thirds for nearly 300 years now, but do you know why? What about focal length? Understanding the basics and applying that knowledge to your photos will help you choose a photo that is visually appealing. Depending on who you are applying to work for, you might have to use different photos depending on the position you’re applying to. For example, if you are applying for a job as an accountant, you might have to have a conservative, business-casual photo, whereas if you are applying for a job as a car salesman, you may be able to get away with a photo that has a more relaxed, happy vibe to it.
Lighting is Everything
One of the best ways to make your photo stand out is by choosing a location that has interesting lighting. The best places to take photos are outdoor areas with lots of shade and/or sunlight. The sunlight will act as a natural light source, and the shade will prevent your subject from squinting or being blinded by the sun. It’s also important to make sure that you’re not taking photos in areas that are too dark. Photos that are too dark will either be too grainy to see or they will reveal that you were taking the photo in a poorly lit area. You don’t have to be in a fancy studio to have a great photo, but you do have to be conscious of your surroundings and try to make the most of them.
The higher the resolution of your photo, the crisper it will be. If your photos are too low a resolution, they will look grainy and pixelated. If you’re choosing to submit photos to an employer or if you’re using a photo for a professional purpose, you need to go high-res. If you’re unsure of the resolution of your photos, you can easily check by right-clicking on them. If you’re submitting them to an organization, you can ask your employer what the appropriate resolution is. Alternatively, if you’re applying for a job online you can use this tool depositphotos.com to generate the appropriate image size for your photo.
Don’t Be Afraid of Color
This may seem like an odd thing for a photographer to say, but if you’re trying to choose a photo for a professional purpose, it is best to avoid using black and white photos. Employers will be more likely to recognize a color photo, especially if you’re applying for a specific position within the company. While black and white photos can be visually appealing, they also send a message that you’re more artsy than practical. If you’re applying for a position in sales or marketing, for example, you want your potential employer to think that you’re practical, not artsy.
Show, Don’t Tell
Another way to make your photo more visually appealing is by choosing one that shows something rather than just telling something. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a photographer, a photo of you behind a camera will tell your audience that you are a photographer, whereas a photo of you taking a photo will show them that you are a photographer. Similarly, if you’re applying for a position in marketing, a photo of you speaking at an event will show that you’re out in the field marketing, whereas a photo of your laptop telling your audience that you are a marketer will be a bit dull.
Confidence Is Key
Your photo should not only show your potential employer who you are, but it should also project your level of confidence. If you’re squinting or looking away from the camera, you’re not projecting a very confident image. When choosing a photo, make sure to look directly into the camera to show that you’re confident in yourself and your abilities. It’s also a good idea to avoid smiling too big, as this may come across as unprofessional. Instead, you want to smile just enough to show that you’re confident, but not enough that it looks like you’re trying too hard.
A great photo can be the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. As such, you want to make sure that you’re choosing a photo that represents your personality and that is visually appealing. While there are no hard and fast rules for choosing a photo, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your photo is high-quality and properly represents who you are as a person and a potential employee.