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Writing Bios in the third person


TomG e2
7 3 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2011 7:59PM
What are peoples thoughts on writing Biographies/About sections of websites in the third person?


So rather than "I am a Photographer currently working for National Geographic*. I have a number of projects for various clients etc....."

its reads as

"Tom is a Photographer currently working for National Geographic. He has a number of projects for various clients etc..."

Personally I can see arguments both for and against so was wandering what other folks thoughts might be.

Cheers
Tom


*yeah right.....

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Ewanneil 4 1.1k 2 Scotland
14 Mar 2011 8:11PM
I think it depends upon a number of things some of which are:-

1. In what person are the other sections written and does consistency across the site matter or not,
2. What tone are you trying to create (formal, detached, friendly, casual, etc. etc),
3. Who is the site aimed at and what might those visitors' expectations be by way of style and content when they visit your site,
4. What is the purpose of the site (business or pleasure)

Could you give us a bit more to go on?
TomG e2
7 3 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2011 8:46PM
Hi Ewan

Nice questions. I think what you're getting at is that a Bio/Website should be pitched towards your target audience and the language used should represent that.

1. I have kept the site very basic, keeping of the style of Portfolio. The Bio is one of the few pages of text and so consistency is not a major issue.

2 & 3 Here's the problem: At the moment my client base ranges from a reasonably large financial institute through to a local charity running a very small community event..... Im quite happy working for both as they offer different things but its quite hard trying to put together a pitch that wouldn't alienate either.

4. The site is a business site and is there to bring in more work, appealing to prospective clients.


All kind of raises a separate question of whether its a good thing to not specialise in a particular aspect of photography.

Cheers
tom
Ewanneil 4 1.1k 2 Scotland
14 Mar 2011 9:03PM
Based on your last post I think the most important consideration is your relationship with your clients. Is their only contact with you via the website or do you have phone conversations or meet with them? If you have (or wish to create) an informal relationship with clients then I would suggest the first person. If your relationship is (or you wish it to be) more formal then maybe the third person is more suitable.

Having said that, I feel that web-based relationships, including client-based ones, are generally expected to be slightly less formal so I suppose I would probably err on the side of the first person. You can still write it in a formal style if you wish.

Hope this helps.

Ewan
joolsb e2
10 27.1k 38 Switzerland
14 Mar 2011 9:12PM
Using the third person gives the impression that you're so well-known that other people write stuff about you. If creating this impression is important to how you market your photos then go for it. The problem for me comes where use of the third person is coupled with typically amateur photographs. Then it can seem pretentious.

My own feeling is to avoid it unless you are entirely confident of the image you wish to project.
kaybee e2
10 4.0k 24 Scotland
14 Mar 2011 10:08PM
I much rather reading it in 1st person. 3rd person (to me) comes across as pretentious and impersonal
thewilliam e2
6 4.9k
14 Mar 2011 11:31PM
Is it easier to be complimentary without seeming as big-headed when it's written in the 3rd person?
joolsb e2
10 27.1k 38 Switzerland
15 Mar 2011 7:45AM
It still comes across as big-headed. There's no point in trying to 'big yourself up', imo. Just let your pix do the talking and be suitably modest in your bio.
meercat e2
5 278 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 7:50AM
I personally think bios written in the third person come across as pretentious all the time, you know it is written by the photographer so why try to pretend it isn't? It would be different if you were writing the bio for a page other than your own webpage, then it is possible that it is someone else writing about you.
Using the third person way always seems to include something along the lines of "Algernon is a superb photographer"
In first person you don't feel you can do that without appearing big headed.

I hate third person write up's, definately pretentious, and would much rather a nice personal write up.
28 Mar 2011 11:34AM
I think a bio should be in the first person unless there is an
obvious reason why it shoukld not be (such as you are dead).
Whenever I see one written in the third person I instictively
ask myself why is this in the third person? Did this person
engage a writer just to write up their own bio? Why would
anyone do that? If this person wrote it, what effect is he or
she trying to achieve by writing in the third person? Are they
trying to big themselves up? Is it a sales pitch?
I think this question is easy - if you want to come across as
natural and unaffected with no ulterior motive, use the first
person.
digicammad e2
11 22.0k 37 United Kingdom
28 Mar 2011 1:30PM
First person if it is your own individual business site. 3rd person if there are more than one of you on the site, or if the bio is for a gallery/stock library.

Ian
keithh e2
11 23.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
28 Mar 2011 1:32PM
Oddly enough, most author bio's, especially first novel/book, are asked to write their own blurb and bio - in the third person.
mattw e2
11 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
28 Mar 2011 5:38PM

Quote:First person if it is your own individual business site. 3rd person if there are more than one of you on the site, or if the bio is for a gallery/stock library.


That is exactly how I feel about it - with the one cavat that it is also acceptable to talk about oneself in the person of the third if one happens to be the Queen.

I've never understood tha fasion for 3rd person bios when it's clear that it's your own site. Like othes, I find it pretentious and off putting.


Quote:Oddly enough, most author bio's, especially first novel/book, are asked to write their own blurb and bio - in the third person.

A book published and sold by a publisher is rather different to a website paid for and presented by a photographer to show their own work.
keithh e2
11 23.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
28 Mar 2011 6:10PM
Kind of but worth bearing in mind next time you see a gushing bio inside the dust jacket Wink

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