Low-quality photos and self-esteem

Brand photography on a beach

We live in a time when we have access to hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of ourselves.

Most of these photos languish in the camera rolls of phones and are never looked again.

This is probably A Very Good Thing.

I mean ... Look at this awful, AWFUL phone photo above which I took of myself on holiday in Lewis a couple of weeks ago! 

Shitey photos = shitey mindset

Most of the images we have of ourselves suck spectacularly, due to ...

❌ Crappy angles
❌ Crappy light
❌ Weird distortion
❌ Trees growing out of heads
❌ Medusa-like hair (well, in my case anyway!)
❌ Focus being over the hills and far away 

So OBVIOUSLY we're going to look at these phone photos, scream internally "DO I REALLY LOOK LIKE THAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!" and bewail the cruelty of the universe.

The shitey feelings that seeing horrible image after horrible image of ourselves stir up in us start to take their toll. Belief creeps in that the hackit old troll on the phone screen is not only what we really look like, but who we really ARE.

How low-quality business photography subtly erodes your confidence

I've already written about how selfies damage your brand, but did you know that if you've only got selfies and phone photos, that can also damage your self-confidence?

Sub-par business photography has a grossly underestimated impact on your self-assurance, and even seemingly minor visual discrepancies can all add up to to a major blow to confidence.

How? Well ...


Poor quality business photographs are unflattering

Poor quality photos often distort facial features and body proportions, leading to unflattering images which can make you feel embarrassed and unhappy with how you (think you) look. 

Images taken with the front camera on a smartphone (aka selfies!) are particularly dreadful for this.

If this kind of image is all you ever see of yourself, imagine the cumulative damage that does to how you feel? 

Why you should fix this

Seeing yourself as a successful, capable professional through professional business images can trigger a positive mindset shift.

This shift can influence your decisions, actions, and overall approach to your business.

Brand photographer Edinburgh business woman

Not a poor quality business photograph - not unflattering!


Poor quality business photographs lead to comparisonitis

Others in your space who have had their business photographs professionally taken look great on their websites and on their social media channels. 

Expert. Professional. Friendly. Bags of personality.

You feel you look like crap in comparison to your competitors.

You suspect (and you'd be right) that your low-quality photos can give the prospective clients you'd love to work with the impression of unprofessionalism and lack of attention to detail, potentially affecting how they perceive your business competence.

Oh brilliant. You're on the back foot right away now, aren't you? 

Why you should fix this

Because you don't want to be left behind in your market place. You know your service is as good as - or even better than - your competitors', so make sure you're doing everything you can to show potential clients this too.

Don't let them overlook you, or make judgements on you right away based on your visuals that simply aren't true. 

Imposter syndrome is far too common, and professional images can help combat this by visually reinforcing your legitimacy and accomplishments. Feels good!


Poor quality business photographs amplify physical insecurities

Shitey photos of yourself can magnify any perceived imperfections and insecurities you might have, creating a negative cycle where you can become overly focused on these flaws.

How come every single photo you take of yourself makes you look like you have ten chins? 

Wouldn't it be great if you had some images of yourself where you have only two extra chins? Or, even better, none

Professional portrait photographers are accustomed to hearing pleas of "bin the chin" and know how to do exactly that. 

Why you should fix this

Apart from the fact it's just plain miserable feeling that you look rubbish, you're spending valuable time and energy on negative thoughts which are much better spent on something productive!

Don't you have a universe to conquer?!

Brand photographer Edinburgh business owner

Nobody will ever know what this business owner wanted "de-emphasised", because I used posing and lighting strategically in this image to achieve the desired effect.


Poor quality business photographs can lead to missed opportunities

If you're only using poor quality, unprofessional looking photographs for marketing materials and in your online profiles, potential clients might hesitate to engage with you.

Unprofessional looking photos can give the impression that your business settles for mediocrity. Clients might perceive your business's products or services in the same light: lacking in quality.

This can really tarnish your business's reputation and discourage potential clients from contacting you.

After all, if your business isn't presenting itself professionally, can it deliver on its promises to clients? YOU know it can - but do they? 

Selfies and poor-quality images which don't capture your best qualities can, over time, lead to a sense of powerlessness, making you less likely to put yourself out there and take initiative. 

These missed opportunities can mount up, resulting in creeping feelings of inadequacy. 

"Why are they not picking me?" you fret. 

Why you should fix this

You need to operate at your potential, and a big part of that is allowing yourself to be seen by others as you should be seen.

Expert. Professional. Relevant to your ideal clients.

Don't risk looking mediocre or worse.

Don't miss out.


Poor quality business photographs inhibit projecting yourself confidently

When you're dissatisfied with, or embarrassed about, your business photographs, projecting confidence and enthusiasm in networking events, client meetings, and presentations can become more challenging.

Often, online photographs of you are what people see before they meet you in person. 

What kind of first impression are they forming of you? 

Why you should fix this

It's really hard to change a first impression. If people are seeing images of you online that don't show you at your best before they even meet you, then you're starting off at a disadvantage right away.

You have to work extra hard to overturn a negative first impression.

When you have images where you look professional and confident, you're more likely to project authority and competence. This can lead to better client interactions and partnerships.

Professional photogrpahy can capture your unique qualities and personality, helping you embrace what sets you apart from others in your industry.

This, in turn, helps foster a sense of pride and self-assuredness in what you're doing.

Brand photographer Edinburgh small business owner

A great first impression really boosts your confidence!


Poor quality business photographs make you doubt your brand

Blurry, pixelated, poorly lit and composed photos certainly don't align with a consistent and professional brand image. People may even wonder if your business lacks a clear direction, or if it's struggling to define its identity in the market.

Inconsistencies can make you doubt your ability to convey a cohesive identity.

Your brand has a story to tell, and visual elements, including photography, are a key part of conveying that narrative. When images lack clarity and quality, they do a shitty job of communicating the brand's story, leaving potential clients with an incomplete or unclear understanding of what your business stands for.

You know what you WANT your visual brand to say about you, but it's not working. You're just not establishing a resonant emotional connection with your audience somehow ...

Why you should fix this

You can end up going round in circles wondering why's are things not working? Where am I going wrong? Why am I not attracting enough of the right clients? Am I even on the right track to start with?

They're confused. You're confused.

Self-doubt is a gremlin many business owners face.  Having images which highlight your strengths can help you overcome these doubts and embrace your capabilities.

Wouldn't it be great to show properly exactly who you are, what you do for your clients, and how, so they get to know/like/trust you then book you?

Brand photographer Edinburgh sevice based business owner

High quality images strategically designed to show you doing certain things successfully tell your brand story and engage the people you'd love to work with.

What we think and what we feel often doesn't match up

Logically, we may know we're unique, creative, hard-working, clever, funny, audacious, and fearless. All shades of marvellous af, basically.

But ... The image we have of ourselves doesn't always match that.  (Even though we know we scrub up bloody well when we eventually peel off our muddy breeks and pick the dog hair off our jackets.)

A fight starts in our head between who we are think we are and what we think we look like. We eventually lose confidence, playing smaller than we're capable of, and our light dims.

Smart, capable, competent business owners tell me this all the time:

❌  "I hate being photographed"
❌  "I always look like ghastly in photographs"
❌  "No but I really AM unphotogenic - you'll see!"

I'm on a mission to help stop this

... with really good photographs who show business owners as others see them.

I'll NEVER get sick of hearing "I didn't know I could look like this!" Or "That is the absolute best picture I've ever seen of myself!" Or even just "I look so different - so, so different, I can't believe that's me".


(For the avoidance of doubt - I'm not just all heart! This stuff bigs up my ego like nobody's business.)

Show up - look great - your confidence increases

The confidence that comes with showing yourself as you SHOULD be seen is priceless.

Whether you just need a simple headshot or whether it's time to really show your worth and invest in a collection of unique images which show who you truly are and why people should work with you, I can help.

Do you need to book a brand photographer to show yourself and your business at their best?

I work with clients accross Scotland as well as in Edinburgh - find out here what kind of business photography you need!

Edinburgh branding photographer


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