When running a financial advisory business, getting professional photos taken isn’t often top of mind. There are client meetings, financial planning, and investment management to occupy your time. That is when you’re not focusing on also running a business.

One of the biggest themes we’ve noticed at Exchange: An ETF Experience is advisors and other financial services professionals discussing how to best build and package their brand.

This is an area where professional photos can help. Having a strong website is invaluable for growing your business and engaging with clients; it helps inspire confidence in your skills when prospects are looking for more information. This, paired with a strong user experience, can help ensure clients feel satisfied and confident when building a relationship with you.

One of the easiest ways to make your website feel more put together is through professional headshots and photos.

Get Ready For Your Closeup

Getting headshots taken is a strange experience reminiscent of grade-school class photos and yearbooks for many of us. Your headshots can directly contribute to building positive first impressions in the professional world. Knowing that, does it change the way you dress or smile?

Beyond headshots, many websites require photos as design elements. It’s common to use stock images of nature to convey peace, a city to embody finance or Adirondack chairs to represent retirement. However, none of these convey anything personal about your firm. They can be (and often are) used by any generic financial advisor.

If you’re looking to stand out, consider working with a professional photographer to get images of you, your team, and your office. If you have a small office, expand beyond the immediate physical space. Get photos of you interacting with your child’s softball team or reading books on finance and researching at home. These might seem a little silly or staged, and they probably will be to some extent, but they can be critical to adding uniqueness and value to your business.

“Professional photos don’t need to be boring or stuffy. Who are you, what do you stand for?” says Shana Sissel, Director of Investments at DC-based RIA Cope Corrales. “Taking the time to be thoughtful, to think about your overall image, is an important part of making connections with your audience.”

Clients and prospects need to be comfortable enough to talk to you about their money, often a taboo topic in American culture. To take those steps, they need to feel that they can trust you. Seeing your face and how you exist in the world will inspire more trust than generic photos anyone can purchase or download.

Brand Building

“A professional photo is part of a broader brand strategy,” Sissel adds. If you don’t have a branded, go-to look in your logo, font, or colors, these can be built with images to create a sense of high-quality professionalism for your website. Ideally, you want any photos that you take to fit in with the broader branding you’ve already built. If you have a lot of green in your logo, you might want to take some of your photos outside in greenery.

These small details aren’t always detectible by clients, but the overall impression is often significant. If you aren’t sure where to start when booking a photographer or what kind of photos you want, go back to basics with your logo and branding. Ask the photographers how they might capture images, or customize headshots, to help convey who you are and what you do.

Sissel’s advice? “Find a photographer who is willing to be creative, share your vision of who you are and what you want to convey to your audience.”

Ultimately, the goal of these photos is to take some of the pressure off you in person. With some of the get-to-know-you and confidence-building out of the way, your conversations with clients and prospects may become more meaningful and substantial.

Do you have experience with professional photos? Tweet us using #ETFintwit. You can follow Shana Sissel on Twitter @shanas621.

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