It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer, or looking for a full-time job, the first thing a prospective employer is going to do is Google you. On any of the freelance marketplaces we’ve extensively covered (99designs, Upwork, DesignCrowd, etc.), employers flip through profiles in a matter of seconds. At least a resume is a page long, online you have a profile picture, a rating, and two sentence description of yourself. That’s it.
Now, it’s not the first thing I’m going to look for. You know that I’ll always implement the “Brown M&M” technique and read the first sentence of their cover letter before anything else, more on that on my guide to hiring online freelancers. But like anything else, it could slide the scale on whether or not you’ll get hired. Heck, there have been multiple studies that show that just your name can determine how a person perceives you. The country you’re from will effect how people perceive you. And of course, your profile photo. You can’t really control your name or where you’re from (or at the very least it’s inconvenient to do so) but you can control your profile photo. And you don’t have to break the bank to change it.
How to Get a Good Headshot
First off, you could really do anything with a profile photo. Some people just keep it blank, some use their company logo and some have a random illustration. As a hobbyist headshot photographer, I recommend having a tight headshot (and you can checkout my portfolio for a few examples). No full body shots, not even half length – get up really close. Back in the day, casting directors would flip through actors headshots on 8×10’s. Today, they’re thumbnails on a computer, tablet or phone. If you’re shooting from the waist up, no ones going to see your face. That’s why I prefer to shoot tight, sometimes cropping a little bit of the forehead… because that maximizes your real estate. And while any headshot photographer should help you accomplish this, you could do this yourself or with the help of a friend. But honestly, there’s plenty of photographers who specialize in headshots that charge less than $300. If you paid $300 for a logo, you can pay $300 for a headshot. There’s somethings on a business that you shouldn’t skimp on, and a solid headshot is one of them… especially if you’re freelancer.
Whether you have to absolutely have to do it yourself, or you’re ready to hire a professional photographer, checkout these videos by famed headshot photographer Peter Hurley for tips: