Copywriting For you

Why Every Copywriter Needs a Great Headshot

I recently chatted with a friend about my desire to get new headshots. My friend paused momentarily, turned to me, and asked, ‘Why do copywriters need headshots? Aren’t you just writing all day?” So, of course, I have plenty of answers for that second question because we write all day, but any copywriter knows there is far more to it than that. But as for the first question, the answer is a resounding YES! And if you’re a copywriter without some great headshots, it’s time to phone a friend for some referrals for great photographers.

Your headshot can impress clients and swing them your way

While it’s true that your selling points as a copywriter are your print and online writing portfolios, in many cases, a photo will accompany that byline. Of course, not all copywriters write to achieve a byline. But believe me whether you are ghostwriting, copywriting under someone else’s name, or writing under your byline, you indeed need some great headshots. Those professional headshots can help impress potential clients and swing them your way.

First, it’s important to note that your appearance has nothing to do with your success as a copywriter. Your gender, age, weight, etc., are irrelevant; what matters is that you write great copy. However, having a picture of yourself on your website, LinkedIn profile, Upwork profile, or wherever and wherever you source your work can make people feel more comfortable and see that you’re a real person.

Your professional headshot should be clear and well-lit to present you in the best possible way. Grainy pictures can look unprofessional and give off the wrong impression. Your headshot should also convey competence and trustworthiness. If you have a unique personal brand or memorable hobbies, you can include a secondary shot that showcases those, but your primary headshot should be professional and convey those traits.

If you’re on a tight budget, try natural lighting photography and take dozens of pictures with a friend to get the right shot. However, invest in a professional photographer once you start landing clients and making money. And don’t forget, this is a business expense you can write off at the end of the year. While many people say you should find someone specializing in professional headshots, I’m not sure I agree.

3 headshots that every copywriter should have

For copywriters, you need three headshots.

  • The somewhat traditional headshot from the shoulders up, wearing some appropriate business attire
  • A similar photo to the above but with more casual clothing, perhaps something that represents the real you when you’re not hunched over your laptop hammering out a story
  • An at-work image that shows you hard at it, plugging away and writing the best possible words for your latest client’s website

The goal, of course, is that your headshot should last for several years. When taking a photo, it’s often best to look directly into the camera to catch people’s attention and make a natural connection. Remember, your headshot is just one element of your professional image, but it can make a big impact.

Location, location, location​

Now, while I said that every copywriter needs three headshots and mentioned the need for a tried-and-true traditional headshot, there is a caveat. The way I see it, the days of the old boring background are a thing of the past. Those roll-down canvases photographers would set up behind you in the studio?

Photography today has become much more creative. Fantastic photo locations are lurking almost anywhere you can imagine. So, don’t think your traditional headshot needs to have that boring blue or grey background. Work with a photographer who has an excellent eye for location. From textured walls at a coffee shop to the cafe at your place of work to the local park, there are bound to be some great backgrounds that can demonstrate your professionalism but create a more visually appealing effect.

So what does it all mean?

Whether you are a new copywriter or you’ve run the marathon of all writing marathons, you need some great headshots. Get news headshots every one to three years. If you’ve changed your look, your fashions have evolved, or are just tired of the one you have, now is the time to get a new one. There are thousands of amazing photographers just waiting to help capture you at your best and help you showcase the real you to all of those potential clients.

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