What's in a picture? Well for one... it seems a black suit should be!
I found this email in my inbox from a good friend a couple of days ago,
"Meant to share this earlier, and apologies in advance if I already have. For those relying on online profile photos for job hunt, client hunt, etc hunt - the website www.photofeeler.com provides a free tool for the evaluation of your mug. Just submit your profile photo, evaluate a handful of other submissions, and receive your unbiased feedback. Don't like the feedback - change the photo. Give it a try."
So I did.
As I got into PhotoFeeler I found that a "quick evaluation" was available for free, but like so many things of this ilk, you can use cold hard cash to upgrade and get more feedback. The categories for photo evaluation are Business, Social and Dating and each category has three characteristics that people rate you on; for example, with the Business category people rate your picture on "Competency", Likability, and "Influence".
I have a standard business photograph that I use on my website and various social media sites including beBee. It made sense to start with this, and this was the feedback:
Not bad... really high in the areas of "Competence" and "Influence" and just the right level of "Likability"; what I mean by this is if you are too likable people will think you can't make the tough decisions. That's true isn't it?
Since I'm a curious fellow and do like my data, I couldn't help but try out the other two categories. I started with the Social category; with that I determined I needed a new photograph because Social is different than Business - Isn't it?
Well this isn't exactly what I expected. I'm good with the confidence, but what's with "Authentic" and "Fun" being less than 60%?
I think I'm pretty true to myself, and after a martini or two I'm a bunch of fun... this is disappointing!
As the saying goes, "In for a penny, in for a pound", so it's a new photograph and onto the "Dating" category; after setting some parameters regarding age and orientation, I submit and waited patiently.
So it seems a shiny penny is brighter than I am, that you probably can't trust me as far as you can throw me, and as looks go, it has been suggested that I've been beaten quite liberally with an ugly stick.
There had to be something wrong!
Something just had to be done. This had to be fixed!
I knew what I would do! The black suit to the rescue.
Now, that response is much better!
I can live with 86 % attractive... after all, I am no Brad Pitt.
But now what?
Well, after burning up twenty minutes of my life that I will never get back, I suppose it may be worth looking at what I've learned from my efforts...
- This was fun. Yes, I have added more pictures onto the web that people with "facial recognition software" can exploit but hey, that's the way of the world and we have to learn to live with it.
- 10 votes is probably not statistically relevant so all of this data is suspect. PhotoFeeler offers the ability to gather more data, so depending on your goals and how you want to use your image, it may be very helpful.
- With consideration to point number two, there is some indication that having a black suit may offer some advantages for presenting a positive image. With this said, it may also suggest that wearing sunglasses offers up a negative one ... my guess is people want to see your eyes.
- Data is just data... you can't say it's good when you like it and bad when you don't. The question to ask is, "What are you going to do with the data to help meet your goals?"
- Like it or not, people will judge you.
- People will make interpretations based on your photograph, so choose wisely regarding the image you want to portrait.
In all of these photographs I am the same person (with all the same strengths and weaknesses of the human condition), and because of this twenty minute exercise I ultimately asked myself the simple question, "Am I pleased with who I am?" And although I am still a work in progress, the answer was "Yes".
In the end, using the appropriate photograph is just an exercise in good "Marketing".
PS: I have no association with PhotoFeeler whatsoever.