My Picture Sucks

Jason Alba in Goth?Since I started JibberJobber I have been getting various criticisms. It’s actually really good because most people don’t criticize my and my projects (or at least, then won’t tell me what they really think). Only when someone says “Jason, do you realize that xyz sucks?” that I come down to earth a little and think about changing something that I thought was brilliant.

Such is the case with my professional head shot. I had never considered getting a professional head shot until Peter Clayton asked for one. So I called the two photographers that I knew (I tend to do business with people I know and like :)) and was able to schedule a short-notice photo shoot with one. We spent a couple of hours shooting various poses, with different shirts and suit coats and ties. For some reason the picture on the right is the one that I liked the most.

Right after the interview with Peter Clayton I was asked for a professional photo for some articles that would be posted in a job board network across the country, and I was grateful to have it ready. Shoot, I really like the picture on the right! But not everyone does – here’s two comments I’ve received in the last few weeks:

Quoted from an e-mail: [On] the subject [of] personal branding. It’s time for … you … to get better photos. … yours is too darn dark and gloomy. Was it a Goth phase you were in? You want to brighten people’s days, be the knight in shining armor for their job search… . Your creative and innovative (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone). Your photo needs to reflect that.

And, from someone else: And, get a better picture. I think the shirt is too dark. Look at Kent B’s picture. If I looked like that I’d be a big exec. When you shrink the pic it looks even worse darker as a thumbnail. (this is from John Reinke, sent after I put my picture on an e-mail newsletter)

The first was a great e-mail because I have a strong relationship with the person who told me, and he said that he needed to change his picture also. I was amused by the way he told me to make it more professional (Goth???), at the same time cringing that I’d have to pay to fix something that I didn’t think was entirely broken (or, that bad).

Oh well. My book publisher said the picture is TOO SMALL, and I can’t find the disk with the originals. So I’m headed out this morning to meet the other photographer and get some non-goth pictures. Wish me luck.

And now, about you. Do you have a professional headshot? I had no idea I would need one… but having one has been quite handy. If you are interested in your personal brand it seems this is something that should be on your list of things to do!

10 thoughts on “My Picture Sucks”

  1. Yes, I like having one also. I made friends with a pair of artists – one a photographer and one a makeup artist. They are married and moved to Utah from LA. He used to take pictures of models (in swimsuits) for Playboy. He kept having me leave my mouth slightly ajar.

    It’s a decent headshot because I think it looks most like me in real life, except it’s practically flawless.
    Sometimes I get tired of my own headshot and want to delete it. But the feedback has been good except for one comment saying they liked my former more news looking one better (that’s on my MySpace page).

    I don’t mind your headshot except for one thing. The shadows and lighting – too dark. Hence the goth comments.

    I’m sure you’ll get everyone’s opinion on the new photo. I’m with you – it’s necessary – everyone should have one.

  2. Okay what can I say? I agree it’s just the lighting but goth isn’t a good look for a book or business shot. 🙂

    Hopefully we have you set up now and please…just CALL when you need something!

  3. I agree with Julie and Janet; it’s too dark and gloomy – looks dated. These days anything on the web should be bright, light and preferrably against a light background. Think about website design for instance; how many professional and modern websites do you see these days that have a black or navy background? Very few. Most have white or light colored backgrounds. The same goes for photos. A crisp white shirt with a primal color tie, set against a beige or even light grey background would look very fresh.

    Can’t wait to see the new pics! 🙂 Good luck!


  4. One of my interests is photography. I have done foto reports, photo shots for others. I don’t like to pose myself. My goal is always look: not too professional but cool, not too funny but normal, not too cold (stranger) but on the ground. It’s very hard to be that way on the photoshot. I really don’t like my photoshot on drive license – I’m sure that many of us too. Mostly we look scarred, sometimes so funny – we cannot recognize even ourselves.

  5. Photoshot makeup. Use good counceler to cover all blemishes, uneven skin. Foundation, should be match and never darker. Don’t forget to apply foundation on neck, eyelids area; sometimes decolette (depend what you wear).

    Use good, waterproof mascara, so the color is not dissolve, spread on eyelids. Eyeliner – very sharp for nice, gentle (not too heavy) lines. Smoke (corners eyes darker) shedows for fotoshots looks great. Lipstick – not too light, but be critical to yourself and remember – too strong, heavy makeup makes us look older, and tired. Have fun with makeup. Over lipstick use lip gloss (looks sexy).

    Check colors (shadows) – follow checks bones; use under checks bones line, than spread nicely. To achieve good fotoshots be prepare before.

    Be appreciate to youself and invest for feeling good. Take good one or twice facial. Facial makes skin more relaxing, free from blemishes, and after – we don’t need to use too much makeup application.

    Have done waxing eyebrows. Eyebrows is face frame. Imagine beautiful picture – but if the frame is not match so, doesn’t look good.

    Picture looks good on little darker wall shadows. Clothing – top darker but mix, and don’t forget smile.

  6. Jason,

    As usual, I am odd man out. I like the picture. It looks professional, but not like the standard head shot you see over and over. I think professional, but different, is the way to go. Depending what field you are in, trying to look cool can hurt your credibility.

  7. Ok, so it doesn’t *suck*… I found the other quote (and updated the post appropriately), and will post my new pics this week 🙂

    Thanks for the dialog here… it’s been interesting to get these comments (Rand is the only guy, and he says “it’s cool” whereas the ladies say it’s a needed change :p).

    Hang tight for the new pics coming this week 🙂

  8. Hi Jason,

    I like your photo and think you look very friendly and approachable in it. And yes, I do have a headshot myself, one colour and one black and white in both high and low resolution. In fact, having a professional headshot is one of the tips included in the article Top 10 Tools for 21st Century Success! And it’s sparked quite a conversation too. Can’t wait to see what your new pics look like!

    Linda M. Lopeke

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