How often should a business photo be updated? I think the answer depends on how much the person being photographed has changed.
Earlier this year, I met another real estate professional at a closing. The first thing he said to me was, “You look NOTHING like your photo! I didn’t even know who you were!” It was obvious as he said a few more things that he was not complimenting me. He was telling me I looked older than my photo. He insinuated that I should have an updated picture done to reflect the “real” me.
I didn’t bother telling him that his picture also looked about 20 years old. I kept that to myself (until now). But the fact was, his comment was just the stimulus. I had been thinking about getting another picture anyway. My first real estate agent photo, shown on the left, was taken right around my 50th birthday. I remember getting my hair done the morning of the photo shoot, and then heading to a photographer to get a picture done. It came out wonderfully and I’ve been using it since.
That being said, it’s been 6 years since this photo was taken. My 56th birthday is imminent and I certainly do think I look older. Not only that, I earned my Associate Broker license this year so thought I should update the photo to make me look a little more professional. So once again, I scheduled a photo shoot on the same day I got my hair done. At my age, gray hair definitely makes itself known from time to time. I visited my wonderful hairdresser who hid all those pesky grays, and then I drove to my photographer’s studio.
The resulting photo is to the right. You’ll notice my only contribution to the professional look are the pearls. That’s it! I think if my head had been tilted exactly the same as the picture above, I had been sitting at the same angle and I had done a better job of combing my bangs, I would have looked very similar to the photo above.
So since there isn’t a big difference, I’m not changing my picture yet. I think I look much friendlier and approachable in the photo above, not this newer photo. I look too formal in the new one. So my new plan is to take a casual photo in front of a mountain or waterfall or some other area where I’m truly “me.” And I might be hot and sweaty with a bit of gray hair peeking through. But it would be me.
So the answer to the question of, “How often should a business photo be updated?” is “When it’s necessary.” Some people might need a new one in just a few years, but some can wait much longer. I’m waiting a little bit longer.