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Your Online Profile image – The Importance of Good Portraiture

I first met Katrina Taggart when she started out in photography within Northern Ireland over ten years ago. I was so fortunate to mentor her back then when she was just starting out (I can’t believe I have been mentoring businesses for over 10 years!).  I love Katrina’s style – you can see the raw and honest side of people in her photos especially the portraits. I caught up with Katrina and asked her to share some tips on online profile photos.

Tell me about your career to date Katrina.

I began my career in photography working in my local newspaper where I became accustomed to working with people who did not really want (or more likely hated) to have their photos taken. I became familiar with rejection as I would repeatedly  be told to get the camera away! Maybe this is where I firstly learnt how important it is to make the person feel comfortable in front of the camera. Working for the newspaper I would have been sent out to a job to most likely meet someone for the first time, have very little time to introduce myself and get the photograph needed for the paper. There was no option of going back to the office without the photograph. It was during these years as a news photographer that I learnt that it didn’t matter if you had the best camera equipment in the world and the best technical training, if you didn’t know how to work with people then you were done. Fortunately I have a genuine interest in people, I love hearing peoples stories, finding out who they are, what makes them who they are and I also have an understanding of the importance of these images. They may have been to highlight a cause or to celebrate an important person, whatever the purpose I was always aware that these images were to be archived and would become part of the historical evidence of my local community.

What do profile images say about people?

It is important for people to think about the image  they want online of themselves? We all know how important first impressions are, and as we do most of our networking online now your profile photo has never been more important. They say that people today have an attention span of less than 9 seconds (less than that of a goldfish). In person you have the advantage of being able to use your personality and charm to show you you really are and impress others, but online your first impression is visual, that is your profile photo. Yet so many people overlook taking the time to get a good profile photo and ignore the quality of their profile photo. How many of us know the feeling of being asked to send an image on and realising that you are still using an out-dated photo from years ago-or even worse scrolling through your camera roll to find the best from your collection of selfies. A few things to ask yourself about your profile photo:-Is it recent or out-dated? -Is it a true reflection or me and my personality?-Is it good quality? Are you Iow resolution phone pic or a sharp high resolution jpeg.-Is it colour or black and white? These choices affect how people portray your profile.-It is consistent with your brand?-If you work with a group of others, do your profiles all match each other? If  you realise it is time for a new one let Katrina share some tips on how to get the right photo to improve your online presence.  From all these years of taking portraits of people, I have used my experiences to give a few tips on what I believe helps to make a good portrait, and how to get the best from your portrait session.  –Be YourselfYour  portraits should be an enjoyable experience, an expression of who you really are. Yes a smile in a portrait will make your look more approachable and warm, but I also know that that may not feel natural to a lot of people (myself included).  –Keep it Simple : This is where the studio setting has major advantages -using a nice clear background with uncluttered backgrounds. In my studio the lighting gives a clean professional finish to the image, and I have an area for natural light, which gives a gentle, softer look. What to wear? What you wear for your portrait depends on the industry that you are in. If you are professional in the creative industry/fashion/design then you may want to wear something that stands out, showing your unique style. A law firm employee would be best dressed in a smart outfit, suit or jacket. Your profile will usually be cropped to your top half for your profile pic so the top half is more important than the both half. How to pose? We all react differently to having a camera placed in front of us. You may feel totally comfortable and know exactly how you like to pose or you may have no idea what to do. As the most important thing is to get a portrait that shows the real you, then it is so important t be relaxed in front of the camera.  Ideally I like to chat to take your mind away from the camera in front of you, but I can also guide you in what pose will look best for you. I also like to do a number of different poses so that you can choose which you prefer yourself. And yes I do like to include the classic arms folded pose too as it can usually be the winning pose. Katrina’s Professional Portrait sessions packages start at £75, email or call 07872538806 to find out how she can get you a new and improved online portrait. The Photography Studio- 475 Lisburn Road. Here’s a slideshow of profile photo portfolio —

Picture of Niamh Taylor

Niamh Taylor

I am the Founder and CEO of Digital Twenty Four. I’m an award winning digital marketer who took a risk, and left the safety of a well-paid, super safe in-house head of marketing role to launch Digital Twenty Four in May 2015. But -it was a risk worth taking because I now own a brilliant company, with a brilliant reputation, and with the best humans working within it. And an award-winning digital marketing expert with over 20 years experience in marketing.