You’re Being Judged within 0.3 Seconds…! – Carola Moon Interview on MarlowFM with Melissa Gale
Live Recording of the Interview
The Interview Highlights
Melissa: For you, what is Personal Branding all about?
Carola: For me Personal Branding is all about imagery that speak to your ideal clients. They show off the best version of yourself as well as your intrinsic, defining values. Great Personal Branding images portray effortlessly what you stand for, and whether you’re trustworthy or not.
Melissa: So, you’d create images that share what the person is about, which is received literally in moments.
Carola: Exactly. The Journal of Neuroscience has undertaken a study where they found out that we humans judge within 30 milliseconds whether someone is trustworthy or not. And that is even prior to our brains having had a chance to process what, or who we’ve seen. So within 30 milliseconds you decide whether you want to see that person again, or whether you want to work with that person.*
*Sources:  Download the paper here: Amygdala Responsivity to High-Level Social Information from Unseen Faces |
 Write up of the findings: Our Brains Judge a Face’s Trustworthiness—Even When We Can’t See It.
Melissa: So, when you’re guiding a client, can you give me a good example of how you would get them into the desired pose? I assume those images then would go on to their various media platforms like website and social media, like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.
Carola: The way I get the correct pose is by guiding their bodies down to their fingertips, including their expression. But the whole creating of the images start way earlier than this.
It starts with discussing how they want to be photographed, what for, where they’ll use the images, who their target clients are, what their business is about and what their core values are. There is a whole host of information I’m gathering ahead of the photoshoot. All of that feeds then into the colour of the backdrop, outfits, poses and expressions. It informs whether we’re going to create light and airy or rather dark and moodier portraits, whether the images will be more stylised or natural.
It’s this whole creative process that delivers the final images that we’ve set out to create.
Melissa: Would you pose someone very differently if they’re a solicitor to a life coach?
Carola: Yes, definitely. For all aspects of posing, background, outfits, expressions they will be different for another profession. And also the personal values and characteristics play into the creation of the portraits.
Melissa: That’s interesting! So it’s not necessarily what the person is wearing, but the essence of their characteristics and whether you can trust them. So, for the onlooker, if you had a couple of solicitors the one in the formal suit would be trust-worthy, but also the casual one with the open shirt.
Carola: Yes, because we are all very different, and we each bring something very different to this world. It’s all about staying true to your message and the right clients will want to work with us when we’re being authentic. The corporate attired solicitor will attract a different clientele to the casual one.
Melissa: We’ve been talking of how the onlooker is perceiving the image. Let’s go over, why do we need a professional photographer instead of just using a selfie? Why should people in a professional capacity consider a professional photographer?
Carola: The way I see it is two-fold: You’re asking someone to invest in your services and business, and if you don’t then put your best foot forward with a professional portrait representing you, why then should your customer or client trust you?
The other reason is that professional photographers have mastered their craft, which typically cannot be learned from a few YouTube videos to take your own images.
Also, most people immediately freeze when they have a camera pointed at them. You see it in their tension in their eyes, mouth or jaws. It’s not something they’re necessarily aware of, but onlookers can read those tensions in photos within milliseconds as we’ve discussed earlier. So to avoid turning potential clients off before you’ve had a chance to speak to them, it’s worth hiring a professional photographer.
Melissa: And you combining your professional photography skills with your coaching gives you that extra influence out there in the market. These days, for anyone with a business, you won’t get too far if you’re not out there on social media platforms with your name and picture. I find Linkedin always interesting; if a person runs their own business, or is a representative of a company, they’ll obviously use Linkedin and have their website, and maybe even a Facebook Page and personal profile. This all ties in.
Linkedin does throw up quite an array of pictures, doesn’t it?
Carola: Very much so! You see all sorts of photos on there, even if you just spend 5 minutes on there. Almost every 5th photo on there is a party shot or just shows the person with their partner’s arm still around their neck…
Melissa: …Or pouting! I’m not keen on pouting!
Carola: I’m not either at all!
Melissa: In regards to Linkedin, whether you have your own business or not, it’s very much about personal branding. That style of photo is going to give an indication and idea of what you’re about. Whether someone goes down the professional route or not, what sort of tips would you advise for people in regards to their linkedin picture. What could they do and what should they definitely not do?
Carola: The most important tip is to have a photo of just you, not with anyone else on your arm etc. Wear the kind of attire that represents you well in your business or field. Choose a background that is solid and won’t take attention away from you – an office wall will do, or if you’re a gardener, leafy bushes further back will do nicely. The most important pointer is that all eyes stay on you and won’t be distracted. Also watch out for the right light! We want to see into people’s eyes to be able to read them. To create some nice catchlights, face towards the window, or into the open sky (if outdoors, stay in the shade to avoid harsh shadows).
Melissa: Should it be a headshot, a smile, a side-stance? And should it give an idea of your profession?
Carola: Whether you show a bit more of your body or do just a headshot is entirely up to you, how you want to come across. People do trust others more who smile. So a natural smile is much better than a non-smile. But whether you do a hint of a smile or a full smile is again up to you, your personality and what you want to come across about you. What is a good idea is to check out other profile images on Linkedin to see which ones speak to you. They will typically speak to you for a reason, you’re most likely attracted to that look. Then find out whether it’s the backdrop, colours, expression etc. You then can recreate that in your own images.
You can also use Pinterest for this to collate images you’re drawn to. I actually use that with my clients regularly, it helps them to communicate what they like so that we can create our version of that.
Melissa: Does it come down to being genuine. So if a big cheesy grin isn’t your thing then you won’t be able to pull it off. And then also, the reading of the image is in the eye of the beholder. So not everyone will appeal to everyone.
Carola: Yes, and that’s the beauty of it: it actually allows people to be attracted to you who are ‘your people’, and it will detract people who are not the right fit.
Melissa: It creates your own USP, isn’t it? Because if you’re projecting yourself genuinely and authentically, and presenting your best you, that will connect with you who is in tune with you. Did you see my Linkedin picture? Dare I ask, what did you think of that?
Carola: I love your expression, there’s nothing distracting from you, you look genuinely happy & approachable. If you were to really press me on what you could improve, I’d move your fringe out of your eyes, and actually, you don’t have a fringe anymore, so you’re due an updated profile image. I’d also make sure to have more light in your eyes to create these beautiful catch lights.
Melissa: Funny enough, a colleague of mine saw my Linkedin picture and he said: “It doesn’t look like you!” and I was quite surprised by that. But I suppose especially we women change our style quite regularly, including hair styles, which makes us look different.
Carola: That’s actually a good point as well, we sometimes think we don’t change, we’re in this phase of 30-50 and we don’t think we change, and then suddenly we realise we have. We constantly change, somethings it’s a different hairstyle, hair colour, different glasses, different clothes style. It’s generally a good idea to keep your personal branding images up to date to reflect your style of your phase of your life.
Melissa: Especially us ladies we can change quite a bit, our wardrobe and hairstyles. I suppose the core personality trait is still there?
Carola: Yes. Taking it back to your Linkedin image, I knew who you were from your profile image, and recognised you straight away – and not just because you were standing right next to a microphone! So yes, you don’t want to look too different to your personal branding images, because you don’t want anyone to walk past you when you’ve set up a meeting with them.
Melissa: Going off on a complete tangent, that’s made me think of dating agencies. You hear of these various apps, where some are not being so genuine, I’m sure many of them are, where they show that one fabulous picture that’s not really reflective of who they are or what they’re about.
Carola: That’s a big no-no. You really don’t want to show a photo of yourself of 20 years ago when you looked very different and maybe were a lot fitter. By all means show a photo that shows the best version of yourself right now, but stay away from photos that aren’t true to you anymore.
Did you like what you saw & read?
Get in touch for your own set of authentic brand images
that have your dream clients fall in love with you and your brand.