One of my favorite problems for my clients to have is “I can’t decide which photo to use…I’ve narrowed it down to, like, fifty that I love!” We all want to have this problem after a photo shoot. It’s much better than the actual problem of “crap, I just threw away 700 bucks on a photographer and can’t find ONE good image!” But it’s a real issue, because ultimately we will end up using one or maybe two images to represent us, online, as a headshot, in a pamphlet….one or two images that should capture who we are. So how DO you decide?

First of all, I’d say there are a few things NOT to do

Don’t show your photos to your mom.

Your family (hopefully) loves you, and whether you shaved your head, have gained weight, or are making a silly face, they are going to think that “you’re my son” and that you look adorable. Thanks. Not helpful. Show your mom your vacation photos, not your marketing material.

Don’t show your photos to too many people.

Even if you show your photos to all the right people to get their opinions on which to choose, too many opinions ultimately become overwhelming.

Don’t just choose the photo in which you “look hot.”

Look, we all love when we get a photo taken and we’re like “ohmigod, I look so good in that photo.” Great, so go ahead and use that for your profile, but when it comes to choosing how you want to market yourself, how you want to represent yourself professionally, ask yourself if “looking hot” is enough.

So how DO you narrow it down and find that one awesome pic?

Ask yourself what you want your photo to say about you.

Whether you’re an actor, an entrepreneur, or a businesswoman, you’ve taken the step to get professional photos because you want to be taken more seriously, and you want your image, this photo, to say something specific about you. What is it? That you are confident? That you are young? That you’re flexible? That you seem friendly, serious, smart, nerdy, cute…? Just as my job in capturing you as a photographer is to let all these personality traits come out, so too is your job to locate what you are trying to communicate with these photos, and to determine which does that best.

Show them to a select few, trusted, coworkers.

Chances are good that your co-workers are most tuned-in to who you are professionally, as well as to what your specific industry is looking for when looking at an image of you. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a list of photos that you like, ask a few trustworthy coworker friends what their honest opinions are. Share with them what you are trying to communicate, and ask them which one(s) succeed in communicating that.

Ask your photographer.

If I’ve done my job right, then I will have aimed to capture a the essence of what you are trying to say with your photos. We will have had a conversation, and throughout the shoot, we will have gotten a variety of images to choose from. Chances are good that I may have an opinion already on which photos I believe are a best fit for you, and chances are even better that, if you have already narrowed it down, I should be able to help you find “the one” that captures who you are, the way you want to be seen, and yes….where you also happen to “look hot!”