Like most things in life the expected quality changes with time. When I got my first auto in the late 1970?s even the most expensive tires and drum brakes would seldom stop you in a heavy downpour. You had to hit them a few times to keep the brakes dry enough to work when needed. Today disc brakes stop even under water and ABS keeps your wheels from locking up in an emergency. This is the standard everyone expects. You can find thousands of examples of overall quality improvements that make your life and business more efficient and profitable. I know when I got my first cell phone in the 1990?s my business became much more efficient and I could take business calls when I was out of the office and even out of town. That was a great improvement over voice recorders or pagers.
Today clients expect you to answer with a text or call back within minutes. I know I picked a import broker because he responded within minutes of my email request for information while others waited a day or more to get in touch. In fact I did the same with an insurance agent. The one who made instant contact got the sale. Funny I am still waiting to hear back from a couple other agents who I actually took business photos of in the past. Guess they are making too much money to return calls.
Unfortunately when it comes to head shot photography the opposite is true. Easy to use cameras have made the “acceptable” quality of business photos the lowest I have ever seen. This goes against the idea of branding which is a well known topic today. People spend hundreds on a logo and sometimes thousand on a web site only to fill it up with junk photography that degrades the business. Now the real issue is what is good photography. You might say if the client likes it must be good. That is the same as your accountant saying the checking account is only a couple dollars off balance but you have overdraft protection so who cares. No CPA worth paying would ever say those words, at least not one that you would use. Also a perfect example of why your friend doing free photography is not a good investment. Even though photography is an art it still has standards that should be met. After the basic standards are met then the photographers artistic vision can be explored.
On face book I saw a post talking about this very subject. The photographer was saying other members of the group were hurting themselves and other photographers by being under priced and by not delivering high quality photos. The example was professional photographers (anyone with a camera) shooting images with blue skin tones or orange cast. Usually the results of having the camera in full automatic mode because they don’t understand how to really use it. Within seconds all those who don’t have a clue bashed him and said it was artistic expression, if the client was happy why would anyone else care. The reason is the client is not expected to know what real quality photography looks like. Few business men can pick a tie that looks good so don’t expect them to know what a professional photo should look like. Same for a lot of women. You have seen a few of those outfits walk into a business meeting and the gasp heard is not because it looks good.
A poorly shot business photo can hurt your business and your personal brand. For example lack of eye contact makes you look as if you are hiding something or that you are not interested. That blue skin tone makes you look weak and maybe a little sick. If you appear stiff in a photo then it might be better not to even have one on your site because it passes on that negative energy to viewers. A good photo is a combination of little things that done right make you look professional and approachable. A well done photo will have A positive response from viewers resulting in a email or phone call. A bad photo causing A negative reaction will make them continue to look for someone who they feel more comfortable about doing business with.
Don’t believe me, then do a test yourself. Take a look at LinkedIn and find others in your profession. Scroll down until you see a photo that makes a positive impression. Most likely you will scroll through 15- 20 before a really impressive image is seen. Now out of those 20 thumbnails who would you click on to learn more about.