Do I want to look sweet? Stylish? Clever? Do I want people to think I am smart? Fun? Quirky? As I went digging through my costumes recently, getting ready for Halloween this weekend, it got me thinking about who we are every day. Every year on All Hallows’ Eve the masks we wear are entirely literal. It is a fun time to get dressed up, to dig into parts of our personality that normally wouldn’t see the light of day. But in our day-to-day lives we all wear masks of some sort; whether it is intentional or not. We have different parts of ourselves and our character that come out in different situations and contexts. We have varied ways that we would like to be seen by others.
As a social media photographer I deal with this concept of self-promotion every day, with my own business and also with each one of my San Francisco photography clients. When I’m editing photos of someone and trying to narrow it down to my favorites, I usually have a set of adjectives running through my head. After spending time together during our shoot I create a list of descriptors of what this person might want to project.
If it’s for dating photos, perhaps its words like warmth, friendliness, laid back attitude, or even goofiness that showcases a sense of humor. And for my more corporate headshot clients the words are more in line with confidence, integrity, approachability and even competence. The words are always different depending on the person, but I find them super helpful in narrowing down a huge batch of photos.
It can be challenging to choose what photo to post on your various profiles. My advice is to think of what words come to mind when you look at each photo. Rather than picking out flaws or specifics about what you were wearing, try to simply look at the overall energy of the shot and see what words come to you. If the words fit what you wish to portray then post away! If not then move on to the next shot!
You may have a great shot of yourself at a Halloween party, but that obviously isn’t the right energy for your LinkedIn profile picture. And your corporate photo might be a little too stuffy for Tinder. There’s getting good photos of yourself, and then there’s knowing where to post them.
So, as you are gearing up for dress up over the weekend, think about exactly what you want to show the world in your online presence. How do you deal with your everyday Halloween?