Does Image Matter?

Quick, which of these photos conveys leadership?

CS small size casualCS small size grin






Both photos were taken by the same photographer on the same day.  I thought that the photo with the evil school teacher glasses was more professional, conveying friendliness, confidence and competence.  We all know that first impressions are critical, and photos are important, especially online. What I didn’t know is that even subtle differences between photos can convey very different impressions to viewers. My friend, the digital marketer, shared a website called PhotoFeeler.com, which evaluates profile portraits on three attributes: competent, likeable and influential.  Here are the results of the two photos:

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 12.02.03 PM

Not bad. I was happy with likable and influential, but the competent numbers left me a bit cold.  Now look at the next picture’s results.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 12.03.18 PM


Are you surprised?  I was.  As you can see, the more casual photo is assessed as far more competent, likable and influential than the more “business-like” photo.  You can imagine that I immediately changed my LinkedIn profile photo. PhotoFeeler has conducted a study of 60,000 participants to identify secrets to a perfect photo.  These tips might change your thinking about the right photo for you online presence. We know that people form impressions, including leadership impressions very quickly. Research suggests that we can predict just through photographs which person is a leader and which person is a follower.  So what is your next step? Perhaps it’s time to test your profile photo, ditch the selfie, and get the right photo on your profile.



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