By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
The other day, I noticed that only one member of the SPJ freelancers’ blog had made her photo part of her blog posts. After about two seconds’ thought, I contacted our blog manager and asked about adding my photo to my posts. The result is the list of “how to” tips included below – and some thoughts about why it’s a good idea to add our photos to our blogs or posts to other people’s blogs.
I realize that many colleagues may be shy about adding their photos to their blog posts (or their websites), but it’s actually a good idea – and not all that hard to do. I also realize that some people may be worried about somehow being vulnerable to identity theft by posting their photos, but I really don’t think it’s that big a concern.
Putting your photo on your blog makes you seem far more real and credible than using the weird little avatars that show up automatically. A good photo also makes you look more approachable – more like someone who really might offer good advice and interesting insights than that anonymous little avatar thingy.
If you ever get together with colleagues in person whom you haven’t met before, having your photo at the blog is a great way to make it easier to find each other. You can just say, as I often do, “It may not be the best image, but check the photo at my website so you have an idea of what I look like and don’t go up to total strangers when you’re trying to find me at the meeting.”
My only caveat is that, if you do provide a photo, make it one worth using.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive professional portrait shot – it can be an informal family snapshot that you especially like. If all of those are only available as prints and you don’t have a scanner, ask a friend to scan it in (and crop it for you) or take it to a local camera shop or computer center for scanning.
And you only need a headshot (so it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or that your desk is a mess!).
Use a photo that really is of you, not some glamorous clipart model – either use your real self or go back to no photo at all. There’s no point in making your professional, collegial image of someone else!
Don’t include the kids, the cats/dogs, the spouse, etc. – people just want to know what you look like, and those other beings usually aren’t relevant in a professional arena anyhow.
Either black-and-white or color is fine; don’t sweat that detail.
And make sure the image is small enough to fit the blog or website format. If you aren’t sure about that, check with a local camera shop to make sure you understand the camera settings you need for online vs. print images. I look forwarded to seeing everyone!