If your job requires you to have a head-and-shoulders mugshot, then do yourself a favor and find a really good photographer. If you are a speaker, an expert, a realtor, author, CEO, entrepreneur, or even just a regular person who works only with a few clients or colleagues, a powerful picture goes a long way towards connecting with the heart and soul of the people you wish to influence.
But so often, the head-and-shoulders shots that people post of themselves are false. They don’t work. There’s a smile there, but the smile is forced. It’s there because the photographer said, “Smile.” But the eyes in most of these pictures tell a different story. They eyes say, “I hope this photo comes out ok,” or “I hope this won’t make me look fat,” or “I hope this gets me some business.” The eyes are the window to the soul and as such they broadcast what is being felt at the time of the photo. It does not match up with the smile. For there is no smile behind those eyes.
It’s all about facial shapes. A forced smile requires the use of only the facial muscles we think are required to move the corners of the mouth up. This is just a small fraction of the muscles used during a genuine smile. Similarly, the eyes, consciously broadcast your inner thoughts and worries during the session, and so they do not play into the smile maneuver, but instead, the muscles around the eyes stay either “business as usual,” or form a creased dichotomy of messages. Either way, the face stays split in half – the top half giving away worries, the bottom half merely mimicking the action of a smile.
We’re all in business to sell. Whether self-employed, salaries or in transition, whether we deal with customers or colleagues, we are human. And humans buy with their heart, and rationalize later. If you want people to “buy” you, then you must be genuine. The only way to appear as though you are genuinely smiling is to be genuinely smiling.
Find a photographer who can make you laugh. Find someone who you get along with, with whom you have great chemistry and who can put you at ease. This person will be worth his/her fee because the resulting photograph will draw the smile from the inside out. Full facial cooperation reflecting full internal joy. This radiates from the page and screen and will help distinguish you warmly and effectively from your competition.