Don't just fly - Soar! Walt Disney

The Winds of Change

Every spring New Mexico is rocked with gusting winds. They push dunes into new shapes and trampolines into new yards. This spring the winds of change blew into Sparrow Creative Studio. This is our 7th year providing Marketing and Design services in New Mexico and across the country. In that time we’ve worked with countless entrepreneurs, schools, businesses and non-profits. Through our work we’ve noticed that we repeatedly share key pieces of education. We’ve also noticed that even though each business is unique, there are common elements that cross demographic lines.

So, time for some change. We’ve decided to add a few elements to our repertoire to share some things we’ve learned along the way.

In the winds of change we find our true direction

Introducing Altitude!

Altitude is a digital magazine for those go-getters that are committed to succeed in all areas of life; dedicated to professional excellence, personal development, and business success.

At Sparrow our goal is to help you take flight. We have designed a life we love, and here we will share our insights and experiences with others who want the same.

Let’s begin.

3 Elements for your best first impression

Pleased to meet you. 

As a business professional, the impression you make on people you meet – virtually and in real life can have an impact on your future. So, it makes sense to make your best first impression. Time, however, is not on your side.

A person begins forming opinions about you within the first seven seconds of your encounter, and non-verbal elements have over four times the weight over what you actually say. You may not have the opportunity to say anything in person at all. Your first encounter may be through LinkedIn, your web site, a Yelp review, or interview. So how can you set yourself up to succeed?

3 Elements for your best first impression

1. Your personal brand.  Take the extra time to consciously craft your personal image. What you wear and how you present yourself can contribute to achieving your business goals. For example, you might wear something in your brand color to networking events to visually align yourself with your business identity. Choose outfits appropriate to the occasion and ensure your outfit fits properly and is in good repair.

Dressing well is a form of good manners. – Tom Ford

Your digital first impression deserves the same consideration. Ensure your email address matches what you bring to the table. Are you an MBA graduate with a partydog64@ email address? Update that now. Check out your profile photo while you are there. Just as if you were meeting in person, select a profile photo that matches your business goals. Choose an in-focus, good resolution, current likeness of yourself for your web site and social presence. For a professional business impression, use a professional headshot.

2. Your focus. Before you launch into your elevator speech, take a moment and think about the kind of person you’d like to meet. Is it someone who just goes on and on about themselves? Probably not. A great conversation is two-sided. This is true whether you meet in person or digitally. First, focus on getting to know this new person.

Harvard social physchologist Amy Cuddy says warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate you. Further, competence is evaluated only after trust is established. So, hold the elevator speech until the connection is established.

Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark. – Jay Danzie

3. Your followup. End the encounter with the same deliberateness as you began. Use your new acquaintance’s name.  Thank them for their time. In the next few days, if appropriate, strengthen the connection via LinkedIn or a personal note.

Finally, remember that best first impressions occur every day. The person next to you at the preschool recital could be across the conference table in your future.

Sparrow 3 tips to ace your professional photo session

Make your head shot work for you

I highly recommend a professional headshot to my customers. The investment pays off tenfold in credibility (and also time saved searching and editing your vacation photos).

Megan and I had our session with Max Woltman photography. Professional head shots are a new step for the Sparrow Gals since we are usually behind the scenes helping our customers shine. As introverts, we were a little nervous about being in front of the camera, but we needn’t have worried. Max and Denise put us right at ease and the session was fun!

A pro photo session typically includes a few wardrobe changes, so you can work with your photographer to match the style of your shoot to your profession and your goals. At Sparrow Creative we support many events, so we had some shots taken in our LBDs. Megan also chose a casual outfit in an artistic setting specifically for TEDxABQ and other volunteer activities. Our business incorporates marketing strategy as well as creative design, so we chose outfits in classic styles with our own artistic touches incorporating our brand colors for our final shots.


Max was running a great special that included makeup – which was a bonus as I am not a makeup girl! Our faces were done by Denise Van Arsdale-West, a professional artist for the NM movie industry. Her expertise with makeup for the camera helped us look our best. To match the creative aspect of our business we had our photos taken in a local art gallery and in a few creative ABQ downtown spaces.

In just a week we had a wonderful collection of professional images for our business! Below, Max Woltman shares his wisdom for others who are ready to invest in their professional image.


1. Choose clothing wisely. Remember that a headshot is a reflection of the impression you want to give to your clients. Do you want to present yourself casually, formally, with an artistic edge? Even the choice of color affects the “psychology” of the images. For example, blue generally conveys calmness, red represents passion, etc.

2. Come to the photography session with an open mind. Every photographer has a different way of working and his/her unique style. If you have familiarized yourself with the photographer’s work and communicated what you are trying to accomplish, let go of the rest, have fun, and let the magic happen.

3. Ask peers for help in choosing the images. We are our own worst critics and often dwell on things like a specific feature of our face (i.e. a big nose, a crooked smile, etc.). Remember that a good headshot has just as much if not more to do with conveying the big picture of who you are as a person than it does with glamour or vanity. The first impression someone gets when he sees your headshot should ideally be the first impression he gets when he meets you in person.

The first impression someone gets when he sees your headshot should ideally be the first impression he gets when he meets you in person. – Max Woltman

Great advice!