Many people feel that we are living in a more casual world these days, and that it isn’t as important to have a professional look as it once was. Actually, it is more important than ever, and those who look professional are going to be more successful than those who don’t care about the images that people see and don’t take the time to make themselves look professional in their images. Here are some tips to help you make your images more professional.
1. Your Goals
Knowing your goals will help you decide if it is time to change your images. For instance, if your images show you as a fun-loving type and you want to be taken more seriously, then it is time to make some changes to your images. Or, you may appear too serious, and you want to appear more spontaneous and fun. Your images should reflect your goals. Remember, if you want to make waves in the business community, your images shouldn’t show you riding the waves or doing other un-businesslike activities.
There are certain times when it is a good idea to upgrade your professional images. For instance, if you are moving into a new line of work, taking on a public role within your company, etc., this is a big change, and your images should reflect that. Or, you may just be bored and feel that you are stuck in a rut, and changing your images may be the thing to help you get out of that rut. Talk to friends, colleagues, etc. and find out how they see you, and ask if they think you need to upgrade your images at this time.
3. Your Context
Take a look at your environment, and ask yourself what the norms are within that environment. What shows status in your community? Who do you want as your audience? How do others that you admire present themselves? The more you understand the context of your appearance in your images, the better able you will be to change the images to those that work for you and make you look like the professional you are.
For instance, if you wear a uniform for your job, you can add to your professional images by using customized patches on the uniform, rather than direct embroidery, which is much more expensive. Learn more about patches at WikiHow, PatchSuperstore.com and YouTube.
5. Working with Pros
Before you go out and have new photos taken, you need to put together a team of people who are going to ensure that your images are exactly what you want them to be. Your team should include a personal stylist (or a free styling service such as one from J.Crew) and a hair stylist instead of a traditional barber. Your photographer should be a professional, and not just a friend or family member who takes good pictures.
In addition to upgrading your images, you should be upgrading your overall style. Make sure that you do this with efficiency. The whole point isn’t to be vain, but to find standard clothing that you can wear regularly that become somewhat of a uniform. Take your stylist with you and buy everything at once, instead of making multiple shipping trips by yourself and just buying one or two pieces at a time. This way, you will tend to get clothing that all mixes and matches and becomes your personal uniform.
You might be surprised at what upgrading your style can do for you, and for your career (not to mention your love life). Just look at the Trivago guy. Just last year, he was considered “creepy” by many. Now, he is cleaned up and has a more professional look, and “creepy” has turned into “hottie”. You can do the same thing with a stylist and efficiency.
Featured photo credit: Chris Zerbes via flickr.com