Your portfolio site is the home base for your biggest selling points: your work samples. But there are aspects of your site that serve to impress potential clients and convince them to choose you over every other service provider. Something that’s easy to overlook, but actually fairly important, is your freelance headshot photo.
Let’s get one thing clear right away: you won’t be passed over or hired based on your looks. Your gender, age, and weight are all superficial and have absolutely no bearing on your success as a freelancer. Truly the only thing that matters is that you are a fantastic service provider.
Having said that, it is important for many clients to put a face to a name. The photo on your website is not for people to judge you, but so that they can feel comfortable that they’re dealing with a real person.
1. Avoid Blurry Photos
If the photo is blurry or grainy, it will look unprofessional and even a bit untrustworthy. Your headshot must be a clear picture which presents an image of confidence and expertise.
2. Show the Real You
Not only are you a competent freelancer, you’re also a human with a personality. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you think about how to infuse your uniqueness into your freelance headshot photo:
- What’s your personal brand? Are you quirky? Goofy? Friendly?
- What are some of your hobbies and pastimes which will help you stand out from the crowd? Can you incorporate them into some of your photos?
- What colors or settings will help you present your best self to your prospects?
Absolutely put your “competent and trustworthy” shot on your homepage. And then sprinkle in your personality shots on other pages that make sense.
3. Getting the Lighting Right is Important
The look on your face communicates the very definition of professionalism. But if the photo is either too dark or backlit, it won’t look great. Try facing your light source and, as much as possible, use natural light. Taking a photo outdoors is perfectly fine! You don’t necessarily have to be in your freelancing environment.
4. Make Eye Contact
Although you can experiment with different poses, it makes an impact when you look directly into the camera. People feel like you’re interested in them when you’re looking at them. Mimicking eye contact will help engage your viewers. For best results, use your eyes to establish a natural connection with your potential clients.
Do You Need to Hire Someone to Take Your Headshot Photo?
This is a common question, and one we can’t really answer for you. What is your budget like? What about your timeline? How much experience do you have with photography? Do you have a friend who’s willing to help you out?
No matter what you decide, don’t underestimate the skill of a professional photographer. They know how to get both the lighting and feeling of the photo just right.
If it’s just not in your budget to hire a pro, I recommend at least giving yourself a crash course on natural lighting photography via our good friend Google. You can learn about light angles, and then ask a friend to help you implement your new knowledge.
If you have the cash, though, hiring a photographer for your freelance headshot photo session can be a great investment in your career. Not only will a good headshot last for years, you can use it across your online presence (like LinkedIn and social media). Plus, a professional will have the knowledge and the equipment to go the extra mile:
- They’ll give you the best light.
- They can suggest the best poses.
- And they will help you identify the best shots for your site.
There are photographers who specialize in headshots, so look for someone who has the right experience. Remember, you can always check out their portfolio to discover the most impressive photog in your area!
Your turn! How did you decide which pictures of yourself to put on your site? Let us know in the comments below!