If you are a solopreneur, consultant, coach, or freelancer, your headshot may be your most important visual asset. If you are building your brand as a one-person company, you must get a professional photo taken of yourself.

Your Headshot Is an Important Part of Your Personal Brand

What is a headshot?

A headshot is a photo of a person that usually shows their head and shoulders. It can be as simple as how you remember your old school photo or a more detailed portrait. Your headshot should clearly show your face. 

How is your headshot part of your brand?

The way you are sitting or standing, the clothes you wear, and the background are all ways to change the feeling of your headshot. You can look casual or formal, serious or fun. You can choose to be photographed in your office, in nature, or with a neutral background. You can be wearing bright clothing or a scarf, or your photo can be taken in black and white.

Like every other part of your brand, your headshot suggests what it will be like to work with you. Your personality and style come through the photo.

The quality of your headshot suggests the quality of your brand

As a business owner, there are many places where you’ll need to post your photo. If you don’t have a professional headshot, you’ve probably dug through the images on your phone looking for a good shot of yourself. Next, you may ask a friend or family member to take a photo of you.

Think about the impression that photo makes on your LinkedIn profile or website. 

Don’t let your photo be the one you cut out from a family vacation, so you’re sunburned, and your shoulder has a random hand hanging over it. 

This screams, “I do not take my business seriously.”

What makes a good headshot

A good headshot has many of the same characteristics as any good photograph. 

Your headshot should be clear, not pixelated or blurry. Any professional photographer will have the right camera to produce high-quality images, and if you’re using a cell phone, make sure you get a high-resolution version.

You and your face should be well lit. Poorly lit photos can look grainy if you try to brighten them up. You can use ring lights or natural light to make sure you don’t look shadowy.

Your face and body should be well framed within the image. This is why cutting yourself out of a selfie photo with your girlfriend looks particularly bad! 

The background should enhance and not distract from your face. It can be a plain photographic background or show you in an environment like your office or outside. The background elements can be in-focus or blurred back, but make it intentional.

Those are the basics for a good-quality headshot. But there are ways to make it unique and more distinct for your brand. 

You may want to consider:

  • What colors are you wearing with your clothes?
  • What colors are in the background?
  • What type of personality are you showing with your facial expression or body position?
  • What does your environment say about you?

Where to use your headshot

Effective branding is all about consistency. Once you have a professional headshot, start using it everywhere. Use it on your social media channels for a profile photo or avatar. Use it on your website alongside your bio or company information. You can use it on your proposals if you write estimates.

Should I have a headshot on my website?

Yes (well, almost always).

If you have a service-based business—for example, if you are a hairstylist, carpenter, or freelance writer—you should have a photo of yourself on your website. Now you may think, ‘Why does someone care what my carpenter or writer looks like?’ The fact is that seeing a natural person puts us at ease. We immediately trust a business if we see there are real people responsible for the work.

If you are a one-person business, put your headshot on the website even if you’re selling a product. Your bio and photo don’t have to be on the home page, and they could be put onto an ‘about’ page. 

People like to buy from real people. And you will feel like more of a natural person if your customers can see your photo.

Some small business owners want to make their business feel bigger. They are afraid that listing themselves (and no one else) will let the secret out that they are a one-person business. There are many consultants and independent contractors these days, so that you may be worried unnecessarily. Or, you can always position yourself as owner, leader, or president and suggest that other team members are not pictured support you. 

Get your professional headshot photo

Choose a competent photographer to shoot a high-quality, on-brand headshot of you. Make it look professional, high-quality, and unique to you. It should represent how you see yourself as a business owner.