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The looming question that always comes up

About three (3) weeks ago I was contacted by an aspiring specialist on the west coast who was trying to take his company to the next level.  The question came up about posting pictures of him with his clients on his website.  I immediately took my hard stance from my perspective and gave him my advice.

Here is the way I see it.  There is a certain client base that depends on anonymity and non disclosure.  That is where my client base is.  If I post an identifiable picure of one of my clients on my website any potential client who researches my company could draw a broad conclusion that non-disclosure is not a rule within my company.  Subsequently, they may pass us by and move to the next company.  With my client base, I potentially lose by posting pics and it goes against the very code that we live by-Silent Professional.

There is another sector of clientele (particularly notables) that don’t care if their pictures are posted.  In that case posting a pic on the website “may” benefit the specialist and/or company.  Any potential notable client, in this case, can relate to that picture as a photographic resume especially if they personally know the notable in the picture.  Here’s the reality; a picture is a frozen point in time with you and someone in a certain place.  The question you have to ask is does it really show that you know what you are doing?  If the picture is a one of you and the notable  where you have asked them to stand and take the picture with you…..ah lets say, you need to keep that one on your “Me” wall.  That picture, to me, has no business value whatsoever, but that’s a decision you have to make.

Having someone dedicated to taking pictures of you and your team in action is something that makes me cringe. So the question came up, what about photos that are taken by paparazzi or news media that are posted on the internet.  Yea, I understand you didn’t take the picture but all rules still apply.  But here is something you need to think about.  The photographer has proprietary rights to that picture and by using it for gain you may find yourself getting a call.  I have countless pictures that were taken of me and protectees, but they go in a file for intelligence purposes.  Those pictures that are taken by the client’s official photographer that may be sent to me are kept as well. This past year a former white house photographer was hired by my client to take pictures during a week long convention.  Those picures went up on the client’s official website as a real time daily journal of the event.  All pictures that included any member of BPI was sent to me as well.  One photo I had photoshopped and remove the head of the principal as we were working him and placed it on the BPI Security Facebook fan page as a test. As I suspected…..no comments, emails or otherwise.  The headless man pic had no measurable value.

In the end the decision is totally up to you. As for me and my house I don’t think any series of pictures can convey the amount of real work that goes in to what we do prior to and after that picture and for that alone a picture for me has no value.  If you are going to post them you need to take in consideration that people in this industry critique every pixel in the photo.  “Why is he/she in that position?”  “Why are their sunglasses on inside the venue?”  “Why are their blazers buttoned up?” And so on and so on.  Sure, this may not hurt you from getting you a new client, but it can hurt you from garnering a relationship with another company who is looking for new reliable assets.  I am only relaying to you what REALLY goes on behind the scenes that no one is going to tell you when they cross you off the list.

The absolute main thing you should always strive for is this: Let your work speak for you and not a captured moment in time.

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