How To Take The Perfect Freelance Headshot Photo: Tips & Tricks


Headshot photos show potential customers and partners who they are dealing with. It is therefore important that you take the time to invest in creating appropriate headshot photos on different networks. Read on to find out how you can take the perfect headshot photo and find examples of some professional pictures!

Tips for taking the perfect headshot photo

As the famous saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words – and that couldn’t be more true for a headshot photo. Your picture gives potential customers a first impression of you. 

With your social media profile, website, and bio being one of the first things potential clients will see on contributor websites, having a professional, attractive headshot photo is an essential element to your business.

Your face is a part of your brand online, and as such, you need to carefully consider what kind of images you use to present yourself.

How To Take The Perfect Headshot Photo
How To Take The Perfect Headshot Photo

Your photo is not just about how your clients and potential clients recognise you. It’s one of the first impressions they’ll have, so presenting yourself as professional, capable, and friendly all through an image is definitely something of which you need to be aware.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to keep in mind when choosing the perfect headshot photo:

1. Selfie or professional photo – the network decides

Selfies rule the world, but they are not appropriate everywhere. A selfie is suitable for casual social networks like Instagram or Facebook, where content is generally more personal and relatable.

However, on a career network like freelancermap or LinkedIn, you want to radiate professionalism. Here it can be worth hiring a professional photographer to create your headshot photo. Keep in mind though that if you use your social media for business as well, the question you need to ask yourself is: What message do you want to convey with your picture?

2. Select a suitable image section

You may have noticed it from other photos: The perfect picture detail is the key to a good picture. If you photograph your face up close, you may appear unsympathetic or too striking, if the camera is too far away, people can see you as a whole, but may not recognize your face.

Therefore, the rule of thumb is: Your head and shoulders should be visible in the image section.

3. Better crooked than perfect

People who smile in their profile picture appear sympathetic. An American study has researched what kind of smile is best received by viewers. The conclusion: The main thing is authenticity. If you smile broadly by nature, you can also show your teeth in your profile picture, if you are more reserved, a slight grin would suit you better.

💡 If you’re struggling to smile naturally on command, think about a moment in your life that made you happy when you take a snapshot.

4. Turn your head slightly to the side

If you let a photographer take your profile picture, they will ask you to turn your head slightly to the side. This way the focus will be on your chin and jawline. You can also use this headshot photo tip if you choose to take your own photo.

5. The perfect choice of clothing and colour

Clothes make a person – and that also applies to headshot photos and general appearances on various online platforms. The rules for the business look are well known – a dark jacket or blazer, a white shirt or blouse and neatly pressed pants or skirts. 

However, you come across as really likeable when you radiate authenticity, and that usually works best when you feel comfortable. You want to choose clothes that make you feel great, and that reflect your personality perfectly. So if you’re more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, taking photos in a formal business suit may not be the best idea for you!

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Try keeping your clothing semi-plain (no crazy patterns or neon colours), smart, and well-fitted. They should be an extension of your personality, but not the star of the shot. It can also help to consider your target audience and to dress to impress them.

For example, if you’re targeting a larger business, having a more formal look may be more appropriate. If your target market is young female entrepreneurs, on the other hand, a more relaxed image may be more relatable. It almost mimics the classic idea of “dressing for the job you want.”

6. The background of your headshot photo

Also think about the background of your headshot photo. To be completely in focus, it should be discreet and stay in the background in the truest sense of the word. You look particularly good if the background contrasts in colour with your clothing.

Also make sure you have good, natural lighting with no reflections or shadows. A professional photographer will know exactly how to light a photo for a clear, appealing image. However, if you are taking the photos yourself, make sure you take your picture outside in the daytime but be mindful to avoid the sun when it is at its strongest and most glaring!

7. Take high-quality photos

Ensure your photo is crisp, clear, and is high-resolution. There is nothing more unprofessional than having a blurry profile picture! It makes it look as if you don’t care about how you appear to potential clients; a low-quality picture can send them flying away, regardless of how overqualified you may be.

These days, getting a crisp and clear photo shouldn’t be a problem; you can easily get a great quality photo with your phone camera (at least with many of the phones out in the market). Better yet, borrow a proper camera from a friend for a really high-quality aesthetic shot with great visual appeal.

How much does a photo cost?

Of course you can take a selfie or ask an amateur photographer friend to take a picture of you. But to be on the safe side, get professional help from a photographer or go to a photo studio. There are big differences in price:

Self-made photo $0
Passport photo $0.35 – $15.00
Professional business photo $75 – $375

Depending on the studio or photographer, there are also costs for image processing and the number of prints. Professional business shootings with several outfit changes and masks can easily cost several hundred dollars.

Great headshot examples at freelancermap

Freelance Headshot Photo 1
Profile Example 1

Someone working in the corporate IT world would be expected to display a professional persona and dress smartly – which is exactly what Fernando Caamaño Blanco has done. He’s picked a dark suit that contrasts well with his background and has combined it with a friendly and genuine smile.

Freelance Headshot Photo 2
Profile Example 2

As stated above, darker clothes are always a good choice for your headshot photos. The profile above displays professionalism and the good lighting, head tilt and subtle smile all combine together to give us a complete perfect shot. 

Freelance Headshot Photo Example 3
Profile Example 3

Being in marketing means you have to be creative, sharp and willing to keep up with the latest trends. And this is what Jan Kutschera portrays up above with his fun, yet professionally acceptable profile picture. 


Having a professional freelance headshot photo is one of the best ways to effectively market your business, so stay relaxed and natural and you’ll have a photo that represents your personality best.

Remember though, you should not only provide your professional networks with a good profile picture, but also your private channels. HR managers and potential customers can also use these to actively search for information about you.

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Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin Purnell is a content creator at She has a great deal of experience working as a freelance copywriter and has enjoyed the Digital Nomad lifestyle. She is in charge of bringing you amazing freelancing tips and experiences that will help you boost your freelance business.

By Yasmin Purnell

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