John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

Don't be the "ugly duckling"


Need to submit a speaker photo for a conference?

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait shot of upload photo screen-1242.JPG

Think before you submit…


I was chatting with a client the other day, and the topic of speaker submission photos came up.

She brought up a recent speaker gig where she appeared on a panel and then conducted a breakout session.

There were 5 other speakers involved in the conference, and each of them had to submit a headshot months in advance in order for the conference to promote their appearances on the event website and social channels.

According to my client, 5 out of the 6 speakers submitted professional headshots.

And then, there was that one person - there’s always that ONE person, right? - that thought they could get away with the cameraphone selfie taken in a horribly lit room.

She said that the photo looked so bad that she almost felt embarrassed for that speaker because it stuck out like a sore thumb that’s been out in the sun for way too long.

What’s worse is that she knows that speaker well, regards him as a trusted colleague, and despite her urging, he’s avoided a professional headshot session if his life depended on it.

Ugh, jeez.

When you are a professional speaker, the details matter to those you serve, regardless of whether or not you want to admit it.

The way you present yourself through your online presence matters. The images that you leverage to promote your expertise and services matter.

And, the images that you submit for a gig?

Yeah, that matters, too - especially when your photo will be occupying screen space next to other speakers who’ve invested in their brands with images that befits their status as the go-to authority in their space of expertise.

If you post a half-assed headshot taken hastily with a phone camera in a rush and allow it to occupy screen space next to a series of polished and professional portraits, how do you think the attendees will view you?

How will your fellow speakers view you if they’ve never met you before?

Granted, this is not a reflection of your level of expertise or who you are as a human being, but, is this the way that you want to introduce yourself to those you serve, because yes, this is how most of the people in the audience will be introduced to you.

Although you have your time on stage and in the breakout to illustrate why you were asked to contribute to the conference, but, why start behind the 8 ball with such a crappy headshot?

When people sign up for the conference and they see who is speaking, you damn well know they are forming opinions about EVERY speaker based on their bio and headshot. You know who does that?

ME - and I’m definitely not alone.

Don’t give them the opportunity to form a negative opinion of you before you even get a chance to open your mouth.

Invest in at least ONE professional image that you can confidently leverage everywhere, including all of your speaker, podcast and all other media/press opportunities that come your way.

Don’t settle for “good enough.”

Strive for “better.”

Before you send out another horrendous selfie that does more harm than good, think before you click, :)

If you need help in this arena, please let me help.

If we’re not a fit to work together, not a problem - I still want to help!

I’d be more than happy to refer you to another photographer who can collaborate with you to create an image that captures you in a confident and approachable light.

But, for the love of Pete, don’t be the “ugly duckling” that stands out for the wrong reasons with a headshot that does your thought leadership zero justice.

PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you, because I care, :)