Profile photos/avatars

(Sarah Hawk) #1

I suspect like most of us, I have one photo that I pretty much use for everything online. It was taken about 4 years ago and isn't especially corporate or professional, but it is the only shot I have of just my face, in focus, on a plain background. 

I've never been in a situation where I've had a professional headshot taken, and I never think to ask someone to take my photo on the rare occasions that I bother to put on makeup (oh, the joys of working remotely) so I just make do with this one.

Every time my mother sees it online in a professional setting (LinkedIn, conference sites etc) she comments on it. I'm not sure whether she's a bit 'old school' or whether she has a valid point.

I'm curious – does the professional (or otherwise) nature of someone's headshot affect the level of respect or authority that you afford them?

In short, should I be prioritising a new photo? 

(Janet Swisher) #2

I think your current photo is great for you and your position. It shows some personality, and yet I could still use it to recognize you at a conference. If you were a judge, realtor, or executive (or wanting to be one), it might be time for new headshot.

I paid a friend who is a professional photographer to take my headshot, and the one I picked to use is the one where she caught a genuine smile (vs. all the "I'm smiling for the camera" shots).

Just don't make the mistake of another friend, who picked a photo in which her dress was not visible, and therefore it looked like she was naked. She got some very crude responses that clued her in to her mistake.


(Sarah Hawk) #3

Heh, that's hilarious! How awkward.

That's excellent feedback, thanks Janet. I feel like some pressure has been lifted.

(Olivier Le Pord) #4

Shouldn't matter but it does to an extent. I had to look at the one I used for this community. It was professionally shot during a corporate event. I don't I stand out in any ways (not goofy, not making a statement of sorts). I remember a colleague who had chosen an avatar as a caricature G Bush not in his best day. My colleague was suggested to change this as it was sending the wrong side of his personality.

If not professionally shot, I'd go for some kind of selfie that does not look goofy. Modern smart phones can take pict with some delay. No excuse for not trying. and these avatars are so small: very tolerant of imperfections. we are not talking about a billboard...

Some super users on my community (3d design software) have an avatar that definitely relates to their private life. Not sure that it weakens their authority. but it's kind of an unfortunate misalignment.

AND there is nothing wrong with your picture :-)

(rhogroupee) #5

I agree that your current avatar suits your personality and fits in well at CommunityGeek! I have 3 or 4 different avatars that I use based on how formal the situation is...but am also feeling like I should just break down and get some real headshots made. Often for speaking situations, a larger sized, higher resolution image is needed, and I'm really lacking that one great shot.

(Alicia) #6

Don't change your avatar. It shows you have personality. I'm not a fan of the professional head shots. I like when people express themselves how ever they choose. You can tell a lot by a photo. Mom's are funny. It's difficult for them to stop mothering at any age. :)

(Sarah Hawk) #7

Thanks for the positive reinforcement! I needed to sense check and you've been great.