Sunday, November 13, 2011

We've Moved!

Hello! As of November 14, 2011, we've moved! Please visit us at out new home at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

5 Tips For Looking Good On Camera

More and more people are using photos and videos to promote their business. These visuals can make or break you. Viewers make assumptions about how well you do what you do and what it’s like to work with you. Good pictures promote your business by building trust, demonstrating professionalism and making potential customers feel comfortable enough to contact you. At best, bad pictures make you look like an amateur, at worst, they create distrust that chases away potential customers faster than you can say cheese!

It‘s hard to look good on camera. It’s much easier to create bad visuals than good ones. How do you look good? Here are some suggestions for creating videos and photos that support you.

1. Look like what you do:
The photo/video of you is a representation of how well you do your job. If you are a financial planner, look like you are successful with money. If you build things, look like you can get your hands dirty. If you are an interior designer, design the photo and the background.

2. Look like who you are:
If you are serious, look serious. If you are fun, look fun. If you are smart, look smart. Viewers want to know what it’s like to work and be with you and will expect you to be like you are in your picture.

3. Look like you:
Be recognizable. Look like you do in real life. If you are 50, it’s okay to do some touch-ups, but it’s not okay to take off 20 years and 50 pound! Your hair, makeup, clothing style, expressions and posing in the picture should resemble what you look like in real life. This speaks to your honesty. If you hide what you really look like, viewers will wonder what else you are hiding.

4. Choose the background carefully:
Does your background reflect what you do and the way you do it? Does it flatter you? Do you stand out? If you choose an old-fashioned canvas backdrop or the fake autumn vista from your 5th grade school picture, viewers will assume you are old fashioned or imitation. The background is an extension of you.

5. Pay attention to the technical elements:
The technical elements of the picture make a difference too. They speak to whether or not you pay attention to details.

· Lighting: Avoid shadows on your face, body and background. Bad lighting and un-calibrated cameras will emphasize fine lines, under eye circles, distort your features, create distractions and shift colors.

· Makeup: Everyone needs makeup (even men). At a minimum everyone needs powder and lip balm. Women usually need full makeup, even if it’s applied in a very natural way. The makeup should counteract any shine and color-shifting caused by lighting, background colors, and photographic equipment.

A picture says a thousand words, so here are some examples of pictures that don't work so you can view them for yourself. There are also two videos on the same topic - one works and one doesn't.

Do you want these people to take care of your dog? The dogs and the people look miserable! Will they keep your dog in the hallway too?

Do you want her to help you sell your house? Do you think she'll do a good job advising you about how to stage your house to sell fast?
She's a realtor too. What's going on with her posture or hair? Can she be trusted to carefully review your purchase and sale agreement, seller's disclosure or closing documents? Will she be out late partying and show up to your closing late?

Do you want your fitness trainer to leer at you like this when you're wearing your workout clothes?
Where are this fitness trainer's hands? Is he going to touch you like this when you workout with him?
Can you find the stylist in this messy room? Is this the before or after picture?

The stylist teaches you how to wear red shoes. Is she or the model enjoying the experience? Do you want to work with her? Do you want to wear an outfit like the model?

Same questions

With some planning and attention to detail, you can avoid these pitfalls have pictures and video that support your business and yield the results you want.

If you liked this post, you might like these ones too

What does your picture say about you and your business?
What is Ines Sainz really asking for?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

You Might Be Speaking, But Do They Hear You? – Image Tips For Speakers

The content of a speech is more important than the image of the speaker. However, people hear what they see. If you’re a speaker, your audience won’t trust what you say unless your image supports your words.

In January 2011, an expert appeared on the news to give advice about how to have more sex in 2011. The topic was provocative and had the potential to generate lots of exposure for the expert and high ratings for the show. But the expert was unkempt and didn’t have any sex appeal. His image completely undermined his credibility on the topic. The audience didn’t believe him and changed the channel. The expert’s image got in the way – of the expert’s success, of the show’s success and of the viewers’ potential for getting more sex!

There are 4 elements for speakers to consider as they create their image for a live presentation, video blog, or tv appearance: message, environment, stance and equipment:


As a speaker, your topic and your look must support each other, if you want your audience to believe what you say. If your topic is interior design, you should look should be designed and coordinated like the rooms you create. If you speak about the interaction of Baby Boomers and Gen Y in the workplace, your image should reflect Boomers, Gen Y and business. If your topic is provocative, your outfit should be too (i.e. not revealing, but cutting edge or unexpected in someway).

Speaking Environment/Stage

You literally want to be "easy on the eye," so it is easy for the audience to see and look at you. Consider the décor and lighting of the stage, so your outfit works in the environment. Your outfit should contrast with the décor so the audience can see you clearly. If you wear a beige outfit in a beige room or a dark outfit in a dark room, you’ll blend in with the background and appear to be a “floating head” without a body. If the room is busy with lots of patterns and colors, keep your outfit simple and monochromatic so it is easy to see you amongst the chaos. If the lighting is bright, make sure your buttons, pins or jewelry have a matte finish so they don’t reflect blinding lights into your audience’s eyes.


Consider the positions you will be in during your presentation and Q&A session. Clothes fit differently depending on your stance, pose and position. Make sure your outfit looks good when you are standing AND sitting and in any other position you will be in during your speech. Are fabrics around buttons, waist bands and seams pulling, straining and gaping? Will necklines or hems reveal too much skin in you lean forward or sit down? You want your audience thinking about what you are saying, not about the weird wrinkle in your jacket or the skin popping out of your neckline.


Amplification equipment can wreak havoc – turning a great outfit into a hot mess. After you create you outfit, ask these questions. Is there room for a lapel microphone, wires or battery pack? Do you have a place to attach the equipment (lapel, collar, waist band/belt, bra band, thigh holster)? Are fabrics sturdy enough to support their weight? Will jewelry or clothing details rub against the mic and muffle or interrupt your voice?

That red or navy suit that everyone tells you to wear to speak at a conference, business meeting, or TV appearance probably won't work. When you create an outfit that is in alignment with who you are and what you say, you allow your audience to connect with you, trust you and ultimately to be transformed by your words.

p.s. If you're going on TV, here are some other things you should know about image.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Forget Dress For Success, Dress For Yourself

Everywhere you look, in magazines, newspapers, on TV, at family gatherings, work and networking events, someone is telling you what to wear. Written and unwritten dress codes; fashion trends of the season, geographical region and generation, the advice goes on and on.

No one tells you the most important rule - you have to dress for yourself before you can dress for others. What happens when you feel uncomfortable, unattractive or inauthentic in your outfit? You hide out, your clothes pull attention so you aren’t fully present at work or with loved ones, or you don’t speak up when you can or should. What does that cost you, your employer, and your family? How can you be the best you in that condition? You can’t.

Feeling great in your clothes and when you look in the mirror equips you to walk out into the world empowered and energized. That enables you to perform at your best and contribute to others. Here are the two steps that come before applying any Dress For Success guidelines.

1. Flatter Your Body – Only wear styles and silhouettes that make your body look good.

2. Figure Out Your Dressing Rules – This is your personal recipe for getting dressed. Every outfit must contain every ingredient no matter where you are going. And fyi, your rules won’t make sense to anyone else. Here are some real examples discovered for some clients:
Pile on the necklaces, forget Coco Channel and put on another one.
Cleavage is always covered, all of it, every hint, shadow or suggestion.
Every piece has an interesting detail, skip anything plain.
Mash it up - mix styles, colors, textures, etc.
It’s gotta move – one element has to move around (i.e. hair, fringe, charm bracelet, flowing skirt)

3. Apply External Rules - Then and only then, apply dress codes or fashion rules in a way that works for you. All the articles and tv segments provide general information. It’s up to you to pick through that advice and choose the aspects that apply to you.

Once you do steps 1 and 2, dressing and shopping get easier. Paying attention to the image advice of the day can be very useful. Just remember to put on your own fashion oxygen mask first.