Taking a good headshot: discover why a remarkable professional photo matters--and how to get one

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Author: Amanda Vogel
Date: Feb. 2007
From: IDEA Fitness Journal(Vol. 4, Issue 2)
Publisher: IDEA Health & Fitness
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,594 words
Lexile Measure: 1500L

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A hot prospect is deciding whether to call you or your competitor for personal training services. He hasn't met either of you, so to help make the decision, he logs on to your respective websites. Your services and credentials are similar, but, alas, the prospect calls your competitor.

The deal breaker? It was that grainy, underexposed photo of yourself. The amateurish snapshot couldn't compete with the other trainer's sharp, bright and beautifully composed image, taken by a professional photographer. That subtle first impression swayed the prospect.

Your picture is a reflection of your professional image. Here's how to create an image that says what you want it to say about you in the fitness industry.

Why You Need a Professional Photo

Whether you're preparing for your first photo shoot or trying to determine whether or not you should refresh the promotional photo(s) you already use, Cory Sorensen--a professional fitness photographer and owner of Sorensen Photography in Los Angeles--advises asking yourself, "What does my headshot say about me?"

"Your potential clients make assumptions and judgments about you based on your headshot," says Sorensen, who regularly shoots covers and layouts for health and fitness magazines, including Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness, Bicycling and Men's Fitness. "They will do this without ever meeting you. Projecting the wrong image can cause you to lose clients without you ever knowing it!"

Think of your professional photo as an important element of your overall marketing package, says Sharon Donaldson, Toronto-based owner of Fitness Resume, a service that helps fitness pros accelerate their careers on the international fitness convention circuit. As a former convention and special events director and a former member of IDEA's presenter steering committee, Donaldson has seen hundreds of headshots and says that a photo's quality has a definite impact on a fitness pro's potential success.

"When I see a well-done headshot, it tells me that the presenter is a true professional who knows how to market him--or herself properly," she says. "That fitness pro has taken time with the application, so I will take the time to give it a fair review. On the other hand, poor-quality headshots that have as much charm as a bad passport photo say that the presenter isn't taking the application process seriously, so why should I give him or her as much time in the review process?"

Making a Memorable Headshot

Producing a professional-looking photo is...

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