by Anne Pryor

As a former Director of Marketing with Lifetouch, the world’s premier photographers of portrait memories, I have some expertise in eyeing a professional looking, attractive portrait. Here are some tips that I recommend:

Be Happy – Your state of mind matters. Feel good about yourself. TIP: Practice smiling, yep, you may not have done it in a while, so check out your smile in the mirror. Do you look better with or without teeth showing? I look better showing teeth showing, so I’ve been told. I actually laughed for one minute while sitting in my car in the parking lot before my portrait appointment. It put me in a great state of mind.

Be Comfortable, Current and Polished – What you wear matters. Does it portray the brand image that represents what you want to be known for, as my business partner, Kathleen Crandall would say? TIPS: It’s best to stay away from stripes, checks, plaids and busy prints in photos. Get a make-over if needed. Update your glasses, hairstyle and make up before the session. Check magazines for the latest styles. (I just visited ReVamp Salon Spa, Christopher Hopkin’s salon, in Minneapolis for tips on how to use make-up the right way for my face shape and age. Yep, I’d been doing it wrong from some 50 years! Christopher is my high school classmate and a make-over expert.)

Be Approachable – Close up head shots are great for the small space on LinkedIn. I suggest having the photographer also take a head and shoulder photo so that you have room to crop. (In case you have a large nose like I do and want to pull the shot back a bit.) TIP: Also, the background should complement your coloring and not be distracting.

Be Engaging – You look most engaged if you’re looking at the viewer; eyes toward the camera, and if you’re turned towards the copy on the page. Since LinkedIn changes the placement of the photo on the profile from time to time, I suggest posing left facing, right facing and straight on. (Most people like one side of their face better than the other, I do as well. (It’s the nose thing again.)

Be You – Some are opting for more “personality photos” and not the traditional head shot. This is fine depending on the brand image that you are trying to project. You may want to stand and try more freestyle posing. The photographers will work with you to get the most authentic pose.

The Technical Stuff – LinkedIn requires that you upload a JPG, GIF or PNG file (File size limit is 4 MB).

Special Photo Offer – I still appreciate the good work that Lifetouch does, so I had a photo taken at the JCPenney Portrait Studio.  In case you didn’t know, Lifetouch owns and operates studios in JCPenney and Target stores nationwide.  I’ve set up a partnership with Lifetouch to provide my friends with a special offer to get your LinkedIn photo offer from Meaningful Connections.

Just click here: Lifetouch Portrait Certificate LinkedIn Photo Offer.

The Unveiling

After (Photo by Cory, JCPenney Portraits, Eden Prairie, MN)

I like second chances.  Did you know that there are two New Years in a year? January 1 and July 1 (fiscal year).  Each July 1, which happens to be two days after my birthday and this year was a milestone, I take time to reflect on the past 12 months and see what I choose to change, improve and incorporate into my life so that I can be the best that I can be.

Here are my five goals for the new fiscal year.  Do you have yours (written down)?

1)  Live and Thrive My Freedom Plan Portfolio Career – My intention is: “I am wealthy – I have more money than I can ever spend in this human lifetime.”  My actions:

–         Only buy what I need. Ask myself if I really want/need the item.

–         Shop consignment.  For all clothes, other households.,          

–         Revisit my net worth and monthly expenses and see what I can cut back. the net worth and cash flow forms.  (I just saved $900/yr. by having the courage to color my own hair)

–         Pay myself first.  Save 20% of my income.

–         Give back. Start five endowed scholarships for five former high school teachers and college professors that were extremely influential in my life.  Blessings to Diane Ferber Busack (Redwood Falls High School), Carmen Dekoster, Dr. Hugh Curtler, Eileen Thomas (Southwest Minnesota State University) and Dr. Priscilla Herbison (St. Mary’s University of Minnesota).

–         Pay if forward. Donate 16 hours per month at Ready For Success, a wonderful non-profit organization in MN that helps lower income men and women prepare for job interviews.

–         Be willing to allow unlimited possibilities in my business ventures

–         Say YES and THANK YOU to opportunities that present themselves. (Speaking and teaching opportunities)

2)  Challenge myself to move outside of my comfort zone. My actions:

–         Meet new and interesting people that challenge me.

–         Blog more often and share my personal stories.

–         Read the instructions and try to put together mechanical things. (I’m not mechanical)

–         Be honest.  Share my true feelings.

3) Be physically fit and healthy.  I will maintain a consistent and deliberate wellness practice and approach.  My intention is: “I am healthy, beautiful, sexy, powerful and alive at my ideal weight. My actions:

–         Nordic walk 2-5 miles daily.  (Train for the Burke)

–         Meditate for 20 minutes, pray for 10 minutes and do stretching exercises for 5 minutes every morning.

–         Eat only when and what my body desires.  Take wheat grass, flax seed, fish oil, Vit. D and eat five fruits and veggies daily.

4) Nurture loving and meaningful relationships. Send Lovitude = Love & Gratitude. My actions:

–         Love myself first.

–         Think “How Can I Help You?”

–         Understand what other’s desire and connect them.

–         Schedule Meaningful Connections monthly sessions.

–         Attend events that allow me to connect with people I desire to meet and can help.

5) Enhance my spiritual practice. My actions:

–         Pray twice daily.

–         Send blessings to my clients, connections, friends and the Beings that I see, touch, think about, and read about.

–         Attend weekly services.

–         Attract a spiritual guide to help me to further open my psychic abilities.

–         Be grateful. At the end of the day, write down five things that I was grateful for during the day.

–         Listen to webinars.

–         Be kind.

–         SMILE.

“For everything that has been… I say Thank you, Hao, Mahalo.  For everything that is still to come…I say YES!”

Have a wonderful New Fiscal Year!

You’ve heard the saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”  That statement is so true – especially in these challenging economic times.  If you’re looking for a job, you may have and MBA with 15 years of experience in your chosen field, but so do tons of others out there that you are now competing with.

How do you differentiate yourself? It takes more than just skill and a well written resume. You need to harness the power of networking, establish your own personal brand, and take control of it.  We launched Meaningful Connections to help people like you learn how to make yourself stand out among a sea of other well qualified competitors.  We look forward to talking with you.