While many of us freelance writers prefer to hide behind our screens and let our words do the talking, these days having a presence online is as just as important as having great writing skills. The same applies to any other niche you might be working as a freelancer.
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.
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.
So clearly, a headshot is without a doubt a key element in your marketing as a freelancer, but how do you get that winning shot?
Here are a few things to avoid, and a few of our best tips to getting the perfect shot for your business.
What to Avoid in Your Freelance Headshot Photo:
1. No Selfies!
A photo of you at a strange angle with your arm (or a selfie stick!) in the frame doesn’t not put across the most professional image of you. Always pick a photo taken with a tripod or a proper camera set up for a more professional feel.
2. Untidy, Ungroomed Photos
Your photo is one of the first things people will associate with you, so you want to put across the best image of yourself possible – and that’s not you on a Friday night in your PJs, or after you’ve had more than a few drinks at your local pub.
3. Photos Taken From Far Away
Your headshot photo should have the aim of presenting you as a person, giving a small insight into your personality. A full-body photo taken from a distance will make it hard for people to get a real feel for who you are as a person and to recognise your face, which could make you less relatable and hurt your business. Of course, using a mix of headshots and full-length photos on your website will be just fine!
How to Take a Great Freelance Headshot Photo
So now you know what to definitely avoid for your headshot photo, here are a few of our best tips for getting a really great image to use for your freelance business.
1. Hire a Professional Photographer
Having a friend to take a few shots of you may be cheaper, but a professional photographer will be able to capture your personality within a photo far better.
Photographers can tell you how to stand, at which angle to face, and so much more; this will give you a selection of high-quality photos that truly represent you as a freelancer. This can be a great investment for your business.
2. 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 you appear 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 over-qualified 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.
3. Appropriate Clothing
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!
Keep your clothing semi-plain (no crazy patterns or neon colors), 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 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 mimicks the classic idea to “dress for the job you want.”
Another great reason to hire a professional photographer is because they know how to properly light a photo for a clear, appealing image.
If you are taking the photos yourself, keeping the lighting of your shot in mind is important for an attractive shot that is easy to see. Taking your picture outside in the daytime is a great idea, but be mindful to avoid the sun when it is at its strongest and most glaring!
Great headshot examples at freelancermap
As an SAP consultant, it’s often expected to dress conservatively, so Miguel picked a suit that perfectly combined a friendly and real smile.
Wearing a turtleneck is always a great choice for women. Good lighting, her positioning and a bright smile complete a perfect shot. As an Agile product owner, you have to be communicative and great with people, and that’s exactly what she shows with her picture.
We clearly change the niche to something more creative, and you can easily identify it from this headshot. A closer shot that shows a friendly, outgoing and fun designer.
Most importantly – have fun with it! 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.