Look Your Best: A Guide to Headshots

Your headshot is the quickest way to make a good first impression, and get you on a successful path towards getting hired. Especially in the digital marketplace, where clients are looking through online profiles of many top freelancers, a bad headshot may lose a recruiter's attention before they even take a look at your CV.

Here is a simple guideline with the best tips to help you get the best headshot: what poses work best, how to get a headshot that won't cost you any money and examples of common mistakes.

As a freelancer working remotely, you need to signal you have an effortless relationship to technology. A bad quality picture says the opposite. Do not use an out of focus photo. Make sure that your photo is high resolution. You can get the required quality with most smart phones, but if you have access to a digital camera that's even better.

If you will take your own picture, you can stand in front or to the side of a window during a sunny day. Try to avoid harsh lighting (like a camera flash) that can cast shadows on your face. Blur the background if you can, many smartphones have a built in portrait mode that automatically do that for you. If you are unable to do this with a camera, a camera phone, or a photo editing software then try standing in front of a neutral background, and do not to use a picture where a non professional setting is visible (such as a vacation scene, or other people.)

You do not really need expensive equipment like a tripod. You can use put some books on a desk to elevate the camera or the phone to make sure you are taking the picture from eye level. Set it on auto-timer and try a few shots.

Frame the shot to leave some room around your face. There should be some room above your head and the photo should be shot from shoulders up.

Wear something appropriate for work setting. Neutral is your friend here too. Things that may not look professional include t-shirts with distracting big prints, sunglasses, hoodies, headphones.

Stand up right, have good posture. This will exude confidence. You can look straight to the camera or at a slight angle, but do not pose for a full side profile. Make sure you are looking directly into the camera. Eye contact (even if it is with a photo) is a great way to grab the recruiters attention.

Don't edit the photo too much, avoid distracting face filters.

Remember a great professional headshot should be well light, well shot and display you clearly, but it is not a social media post.

An illustration

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