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The Pros and Cons of the Profile Picture (Avatar)
(Page 2 of 3)
As with the rest of your profile,
the quality of your portrait or logo is important. If the picture is
poor, it will undo all of the benefits that I described above. In fact,
a bad picture will not only fail to help you in obtaining freelancing
projects, it may cost you ones you’d have gotten if you hadn’t
bothered with a picture at all.
A good quality portrait or logo shows
that you are a professional who cares about his or her image. A bad one
shows that you either don’t care, or that you don’t understand
the importance of image in the business world—either way,
it hurts you.
The most important advice I can give
you when it comes to profile picture quality is to do it right. Unless
you are a photographer, I recommend hiring a professional; a portrait
artist can be found easily in most places, and a “head shot”
is generally not expensive. If you insist on doing a photograph yourself,
here are a few brief suggestions:
- Take a Dedicated Picture: This image should
be one you take specifically for professional use. Recycling a
snapshot from your summer vacation will make you look unprofessional.
- Keep It Simple: You want a simple head
or head-and-shoulders image, with nice, neutral lighting. Avoid full
body shots (except in rare cases where this is relevant), because it
is your face that people connect with, and they won’t be able to
see it. Watch out for distracting backgrounds. Try not to use on-camera
flash if possible; it tends to make images look like jailhouse mug shots.
- Look Your Best: Even if you’re a
generally casual person who likes to hang around in T-shirts and sweatpants,
this is not the time for it. Women should put on make-up if they feel
this makes them look better; men should shave or groom as appropriate.
Both genders should wear appropriate, professional attire (at least from
the waist up!).
- Smile: Some people think that a professional
portrait must mean you have a stern, serious face. I disagree strongly.
An honest, warm smile exudes confidence and friendliness; that gives
people a good feeling about you, which in turn makes them more likely
to want to work with you. Exception: if you are one of those folks who
can’t smile naturally, then skip it.
If you’re going with a logo,
contract with a designer to make one that will represent your company
well. This will cost you more than a portrait in most cases, but a logo
is important for your business in many ways, not just for this particular
use. It is a one-time cost that can be easily justified as part of the
cost of setting up your freelancing business. If you can’t afford
to get a logo made, you’re better off not using one than using
something that looks cheap and amateurish—such a graphic sends
the exact opposite message from what you’re after.
One more tip: regardless of what type
of image you use, find out what maximum image size is allowed for the
site, and resize the image yourself using editing software (or have the
person you hire do it for you). Otherwise, the site itself will resize
the image, which often degrades image quality significantly.
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The Online Freelancing Guide (http://www.FreelancingGuide.net)
Last Site Update: December 13, 2011
© Copyright 2001-2011 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.