Hey friend! Hard to believe that we have just about flown through Q1. The time is flying by in 2018 so far, I’ve been hard at work preparing for our inaugural dinner for the Catalyst Conversations dinner series (still 1 spot left, apply now!), and recording loads of podcasts (yes, it will actually launch in April, stay tuned!)… Speaking of the podcast, I recently interviewed two of my favorite women entrepreneurs, and we talked about Photoshopping your headshots among other things – Amanda Tress, a digital marketing consultant and personal trainer, and Lesley Bohm, a super successful photographer for celebrities, entrepreneurs, and sports figures, and down-to-earth beauty.
Amanda is naturally beautiful inside and out, and as a powerful woman entrepreneur and fitness expert, she simply refuses to buy into photoshopping the shape of her body or adding fake abs, all that vapid boloney a lot of fitness experts are engaging in these days. Lesley works on the other side of the camera and her philosophy is that she’s capturing you in the moment, not your “look.” She doesn’t want someone to see your photo, then meet you, then wonder who that person in the photo is. She wants to make the genuine you look your best, inviting your audience into your life.
Pleae note, we’re not debating the technical merits of Photoshop (Adobe, I love you), we’re talking about the place that manipulating images has in your headshots and why you (mostly) shouldn’t do it.
Why mostly? Sometimes you need to correct lighting, maybe you want to do something fun like tweak the color of your scarf to match the background enviroment, or (my personal fave) your face decides to erupt like you’re 16 again the morning of your big photo shoot. Great, no problem.
But some of us take photo manipulation to the dark side – we think Photoshop should take the years and pounds off, we want to “fix” our noses, or make other major cosmetic changes (yup, right here, early in my career I made these kinds of requests and now I feel downright silly). While I’m normally a fan of doing what makes you feel good, I’m not a fan of this kind of manipulation.
First, Photoshopping your headshots means you’re not happy with you. Yes, we all have our stuff – I’ll be the first to admit that I would like to change a few things about my physical appearance, but I have worked for years at being more conscious of my inner script, and at learning to love myself inside and out, flaws and all (not that I’m all totally love and light and fairies and I’ve overcome all my struggles, it’s day by day). My philosophy is that self-acceptance and transparency is a major step toward happiness.
Second, photoshopping your headshots means you’re messing with your audience. I’m all for looking good, and of course beautifully curated images are important for a polishd brand, especially on social media. But when eveything is unnaturally perfect, you’re setting up the people who trust and follow you with unrealistic expectations. Strong leaders don’t want to lie in order for people to “like” them, and they place value in demonstrating that they are feeling good as much as looking good.
When I work with a client who is tempted to heavily manipulate her photos, it tells me there are some conflicts with her inner brand (how she feels about herself) and her outer brand (her public image and how she makes others feel about her). Want to talk it through? Bringing forward the best, authentic you for a leading personal brand is my expertise, let’s chat.