Selfies are the bane of my life, as a journalist. I know many of you will have either read or heard me bang on about how selfies just won’t ‘cut it’ when the media ask for photos of you. I’d go as far as to say, I hate selfies!
I also not good at taking selfies myself and I rarely make that effort. Also the very term ‘selfie’ tends to mean to me that it’s ‘all about me’ and contrary to what some people think I’m not all ‘me, me, me’.
However, there are times when you won’t have a professional photographer with you, and a selfie can tell people where you were at a special moment. For the media, this has to be a very ‘special’ moment, not what you might think is special.
A recent example might be the man who dressed as Gandalf bumped into none other than Sir Ian McKellen, the real Gandalf, who was appearing in the same city in a play and happened to come across him in the street late at night. Now that is a ‘selfie’ moment when it comes to the media.
Don’t get me wrong, selfies have their place of course. Just pay attention to when they make sense and when they don’t. Also what are they saying about you? If you always feel you have to be in the picture – what’s that about? Mix it up.Variety is the spice of life after all!
History of selfies
Since cameras were first invented in 1885, we have always liked to see images of ourselves. With the introduction of digital photography in the 1990s, it has been possible to take photos of ourselves more easily. Then with the camera phone, and the rise of social media, when they converged, around 2005, the word ‘selfie’ became a world phenomenon.
The selfie has changed dramatically in a short space of time and is becoming a casual means of communication and also a perfected art form. They have helped to launch people’s careers in every field from entertainment and art, to marketing and business.
So, when is it ok to take selfies, and when is it not ok – for your business? Well this is only my opinion yet it’s based in experience. Ultimately you can decide when a selfie is the ‘right’ option and when it’s not. Do consider the ‘intent’ and also the ‘impression’ you may be giving others.
7 occasions where it is ok to take selfies for business.
The best times are selfies taken as social proof which speaks to the credibility of your business, and sometimes when captured with a famous person, or in a famous venue, helps build your reputation. Or it could be around some kind of celebration or something quirky or unexpected.
If you take pictures of other people as part of your ‘selfie’ moment, try to ask for their permission for you to post on your social media, and if they’re happy to be tagged. This is not a legal requirement – after all they’ve agreed to the picture in the first place – however it’s courteous to do so if you have a chance ot ask.
Capturing you at:
- Venues you are visiting for your business. You may be visiting a venue where you are going to be working the future, and want to show your clients.
- Famous places. You may be dining out with a business partner/client at a very famous restaurant, or working in a famous building, and want to show your clients that you actually do move in ‘those circles’ and visit ‘those places’.
- Products in special places. You may have recently gained an opportunity for your products to appear somewhere that is exciting, and a high value place for your product to be. Take a photo on your phone of your product, and of you with your product. It’a great way to make it fun. (Generally not a media story though)
- Working with special people. It’s great to take selfies with people you are collaborating with, or someone you admire who is well known in your industry – as long as you have their permission. Again, it shows your clients that you are moving in the ‘right’ circles. (If that person is famous, and ideally with their permission, I’d consider making that a story for the media)
- At work, capturing you working ‘in’ your business. Take some selfies with yourself in action, again, with clients – if they agree.
- Expos or trade shows – when you have a stand at an expo, take pictures with people who you connect with, in front of your business banner. As well as linking with them, it helps you keep a record of who you’ve met.
- Business networking – capturing selfies with people at business networking is always good and speaks to a relationship. This often helps the network to spread their name too, and shows that you’re having a good time.
Where it is NOT ok to capture selfies for your business.
- Images to sell your products or services on your website.
- Headshots. You need to pay a professional photographer to take photos of you, with the best light, with the best background, at the correct size and orientation. Using selfies for your headshots make you look cheap and unprofessional. (I once had a professional photographer send me a selfie for his headshot – journalists will know if it’s a selfie and they won’t be impressed. It’s a quick way for your story to be spiked).
- A moment which shows something in the background where the intent is to shame or ridicule someone, particularly if they are vulnerable in some way. This is poor taste and can, in some cases, be illegal.
- Important events for your business. Yes, capture some fun images for your social media, but for the media, and your website and any print materials that might be used afterwards, hire a professional photographer.