We’ve been needing new profile photos for a while now, and when I say for a while I mean more towards the years side of the spectrum than the days one, which obviously meant we did the only logical thing possible and completely ignored it for as long as we could.
Because it’s blooming hard to achieve just the right profile photo.
When we talk about profile photos we tell people 2 things - you have to be recognisable and you have to think about the message you want to portray.
And while it is completely true, when I started thinking (or overthinking) about it, it all went downhill from there - this is The One, the photo that will represent me, that strangers (and worse, people who know me) will see everywhere, that when I show my LinkedIn profile in workshops and courses, people are going to think - “is this really the best she could do”?
A couple of days ago we took the kids (fine, the kids agreed to go with us) to watch Barbie, and there’s this moment in the movie when America Ferrera explains what being a woman feels like, and though it might not resonate with everyone, for me it really hit home, because that is exactly how I felt about the pressure of the Perfect Photo - it has to be smiling, but not too much, professional but not too much, approachable but not too much, serious but not too much, pretty but not too much, skinny of course, not too young and not too old, and why aren’t you wearing some makeup, and how can you show white hair and wrinkles?
And it’s not like I haven’t tried. We take hundreds (and though I do tend to exaggerate, this isn’t the case here) of photos of every possible moment, but none of them was better than the profile photo that’s already there (and which, funnily enough was a photo Hidai took in a restaurant in Malta), we even went down the professional route and tried 2 photographers who completely disregarded what we wanted (because they knew better) and managed to produce photos that looked totally wrong and nothing like the way I see myself or the way I want the world to see me.
So we just left it with a “we don’t really change over the years”…
But in reality we do, and more importantly I needed headshots for leaflets & posters, so we had no choice but to find a solution.
Which is how we got to John Murray - who literally saved the future of our business and my campaign by forcing us to stand in the weirdest positions imaginable (but don’t forget to look natural), making us laugh for 2 hours straight, and mostly by listening to us and respecting our wishes, and managing to create what I had in my mind, only better.
With the white hair, wrinkles, and tilted head.
It’s not his fault I'm finding it hard to say goodbye to the profile photo that was my public face for so long - but I promise I will change it in the next few days (or weeks).