• Lifestyle

How to take great amateur headshots

Freelancers need headshots, too!

As a freelancer, it may be hard to figure out your place amongst the working stiffs. Freelancers have to work harder than most to cultivate connections and potential jobs, which is why it is so important to have a strong presence on various job and social media sites.

Unfortunately, no matter how impressive your CV is, the first thing that people will invariably look at is your photo, and what may work for Facebook might not cut it on LinkedIn or your website.

Here are a few guidelines to follow for professional selfies, hereby known as #profies (boom internet, just invented a hashtag).

1. Make it natural

Make sure your pose and expression are not awkward or forced. It’s also important to remember that much like a fake laugh, people are pretty good at spotting a fake smile, so make it sincere. If you need some help here’s a gif:

2. Dress the part

If you are a freelance CPA, then perhaps you would do best in business attire. If you are a personal chef, maybe a suit would be awkward. In general, neutral or darker toned clothes are a safe bet because these colors won’t take any attention away from your face. Avoid any styling that is distracting or superfluous.

3. Lighting, setting, and position

There are three important factors to consider for the overall composition of your shot: lighting, setting and position.

Lighting: Natural light is great for a soft, even light. For foolproof #profies position yourself in front of a solid wall or backdrop, and face directly towards the source of light.

Setting: Where you choose to shoot is very important for your headshot as well; it should be purposeful and a part of the context of who you are and what you are trying to portray.

Position: Similar to pose, you should consider how you are oriented within your setting and how close up or far away the photo is shot. Given that you are typically limited by selfie arm length, you may have less options on distance depending on what device you use to take the photo. Or you can get one of these things (as unbelievably stupid as they are, whoever invented them is an evil genius).

4. Facebook vs. LinkedIn vs. Twitter

We live in a pretty connected world, and it’s hard to stay confined in one location without being cross referenced in others. Additionally, you may want to link to a Facebook or Twitter page from within your LinkedIn profile or website. While you may choose to use your headshot for your professional platforms, you should be mindful of your profile photos across all social media platforms given that potential clients will most likely see it, and therefore it should be a good representation of you.

Professional or #Profie?

Ultimately the choice is yours, if you go the professional route your photos are going to look, well, more professional. If you are willing to go it alone, grab your digital photography tool of choice and see what you can do on your own (even if it is just to give you a frame of reference for having more professional shots done later). Of course if you do go pro, why not support a local freelance photographer?

Some do's and don’ts:

Winning #profie! Great smile, sweater, lighting, setting, and position! You’re hired!

Almost there, ditch the scarf and the earrings and you’ll have yourself a stunner. Also, a little close up. Also, your smile is fake. Also, look at the viewfinder, not at yourself.

Nothing about this is right, unless you are seeking a career as a botanist, but even then.

You have mastered the #selfie grasshopper, however, it’s not quite #profie material due to the setting and position.

This would have been a good one if it weren't for the lighting and the mysterious rivet next to your temple. Bright backgrounds can make your #profie stand out! So keep it in mind.

What are your tips for #profies freelancers or have you ever had professional headshots taken?