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Monday, July 18, 2011

Professional Photography for Social Media Head Shots and Avatars | Maris Ehlers Photography

Entrusting your image, honing your brand, finding your look.

To put it bluntly, I wanted a photographer who would make me look good in ways I could not imagine. I pride myself on providing thoughtful, energetic PR and leadership services to my clients.  I wanted nothing less from my photographer and would not rest until I found one. 

Selecting a photographer was as important and strategic decision for me as having a short-list of trusted professionals who deliver excellent, reliable service to my professional and personal life: designers, CPAs, physicians and mechanics to name a few. 

Quality photo shoots are a fairly new requirement for service professionals.  In my 24 year career in public relations, I had never needed one for myself until I decided to start consulting. I visited websites of local studios, made a few calls and didn’t feel I had found a confident, talented photographer with whom I could entrust my image.

Finally, through personal reference, I reviewed Maris Ehlers Photography's website, became comfortable with Maris’ ability to capture professional images I sought and engaged her services for a winter photo session. For the first time in my PR career, I was commissioning a shoot for myself, so well in advance of our session, we exchanged a lot of information.  She was as interested in my goals as she was in preparing me for the shoot. But still, changing roles from PR pro to model wasn’t easy. Maris and her team assisted me graciously.

So, from a Norwegian Lutheran perspective (vain IS a four-letter word!), here are 5 points to consider when selecting a photographer to capture your look and how Maris Ehlers Photography delivers.

5. A head-shot with a gray-smoke backdrop will earn you a C in your marketing materials.

4. Your photographer should care about your hair, make-up and wardrobe selections.  The more these key points are discussed, the more you recognize your photographer’s mind is scanning and processing for color, depth and contrast.

3. Your photographer is part of YOUR marketing team. Maris reviews your website or existing materials and asks questions about planned use of the images from your shoot.  Colors, themes and formats all factor into her plans for you.

2. Looking comfortable and natural is key. Landing the gig today requires trust and confidence in a person’s ability. Your images will show your clients and prospects that you don’t settle for ordinary and put your own best forward every time.

1. You will be so satisfied, you’ll never have to look for another photographer.  Cross that chore off the list, because you and your circle will never waste money again on dull, unimaginative “head shots” or family photos.

Whether you’re a sole proprietor or professional in a large organization, marketing budgets today are tight and distinguishing yourself from others requires strategy. People sift through thousands of pieces of information daily, so this is your chance to leave them with an unforgettable impression: You!  

You can see Maris' work on my website at:

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Cynthia Bemis Abrams provides leadership advising and training that emphasizes change, values and communications. She is Board Secretary to ClearWay Minnesota and a contributing writer to Leadership and Community and MinnPost.

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