Put Your Best Face Forward: Update Your Professional Headshot

When did you last update the head shot on your LinkedIn page or website? If it’s been more than two years, it might not resemble how you look to potential new clients or employers. 

The headshot you post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, on your website, and in your email signature should always reflect how you want to be perceived as a creative professional. An outdated headshot raises doubts about your self-confidence, credibility, and willingness to change with the times.   

In her excellent blog post “Why Do I Need a Professional Headshot?” Cincinnati photographer Kim Dalton emphasizes that today a headshot is your first impression: “Would you go on an interview or to work, in your swimsuit, college hoodie, or favorite Hawaiian shirt? In most cases, you wouldn’t. But I see people doing this every day with their headshot.”

Kim Dalton head shot
Head shot photographer Kim Dalton

Dalton illustrates her point by showing the difference between some of the head shots her clients had posted on LinkedIn before and after they came to her studio for a professional headshot. The “before” photos were perfectly fine, but the “after” photos really make a statement. And it’s clear Kim can work her photographic magic on professionals of all ages.

Learning from Experience

Like many writers, I hate having my portrait taken by professional photographer. As a “mature” creative who works in the technology field, I had a hard time finding a photographer who delivered the results I wanted. My headshot shouldn’t make me look older than I feel. I want potential clients and employers know that I remain eager to work, learn, and change.

But because some portrait photographers made me feel rushed and unnatural, I tend to look stiff and uncomfortable in my headshot photos. To save money, I tried taking selfies that I could crop and edit however I wanted. But that approach failed too, because my instinct was to go overboard with the retouching.

Without a flattering, natural-looking head shot, I was even more reluctant to promote myself than I usually am.

I first met Kim Dalton several years ago when I was writing a series of articles called “Cincinnati is Creative” for WCPO.com. I was one of the freelance writers that the Cincinnati-area broadcast station hired to help them quickly beef up their online content with more local feature stories and profiles.  I contacted Kim after noticing that her photographs of Cincinnati depicted the city in a fresh, intriguing way.

She remembered me because that story on WCPO.com attracted thousands of visitors to her website. So when Kim contacted me about her switch to head-shot photography, I was immediately intrigued.

After reading her blog post and viewing her before-and-after pictures, it was clear that Kim was taking a different approach to headshot photography. So when she offered to shoot me, I couldn’t resist.

Before our appointment, she gave me clear, detailed instructions on what type of clothing to wear, depending on how I would like to be portrayed (business executive, business casual, or casual). She encouraged me to bring more than one top, so if one color or neckline style didn’t work, we could try another. 

Her approach to posing, lighting, and shooting was also more fun and different from anything I had experienced in other photography studios. Instead of issuing a routine series of posing instructions, Kim took a genuine interest in coaxing a more confident look and natural-looking smile. Because her camera was tethered to her computer, we immediately reviewed the results of the shoot so we could pick out the favorites as we went along. Being able to see the results during the shoot motivated me to relax and lighten up.

You can see the difference in the photo that Kim took in December 2018 and the photo I had taken in 2017.

Eileen Fritsch Headshot 2017 and 2018

When I asked why her before and after results are so striking, Kim reminded me that all photographers see things differently. Getting a great head shot may simply be a matter of finding a photographer who understands the type of image you want to project.

Kim studied headshot photography from Peter Hurley, a New York-based photographer who shoots headshots for well-known models, actors,  media personalities, and corporate executives.  Hurley wrote a book for professional photographers entitled, “The Headshot: The Secrets to Creating Amazing Headshot Portraits.” He also founded The Headshot Crew, a global network of Hurley-coached headshot and portrait photographers.

If a bad headshot inhibits you from actively promoting yourself online, don’t despair. You don’t have to resort to using an old photo, avatar, or cartoon to represent yourself. Finding a professional headshot photographer whose style matches the quality of your work as a writer, designer, or artist can make a world of difference.

If you live in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region (or travel here for business), check out Kim’s work on her website:  https://kdaltonphotography.com/ Or, find a member of The Headshot Crew in your city.   

ThePaperWorker.com Helps Artrepreneurs Make Memorable Impressions

Building an identity for yourself as an artist, designer, author, or photographer is a challenge. Not only are you judged by the creativity and originality of your work, but you may also be judged by how creatively and professionally you present yourself.

Whenever you interact with fans and customers online (through your website, blog, and social media) and in real life (at art fairs, book signings, or photo exhibitions), every interaction adds up to make a memorable impression. (Marketers call these interactions ‘touchpoints.’)

How you package your products also speaks volumes about your commitment to your craft. Is your packaging bland, boring, and cheap-looking? Or do customers feel like they are receiving a wonderful gift to themselves when they receive a box in the mail from you.


One company that can help you make a consistently first-class impression is ThePaperWorker.com.

Through ThePaperWorker.com, you can use online templates and digital design tools to order as many boxes as need, whether it’s 5, 10, 20, or 100, or anywhere in between. At the same time, you can order presentation folders, tabletop display signs, or banners that you can take with you to events where you will be selling your works in person.


“Our packaging has detail and dimension, we have created ways to make the process easy and straightforward for our customers, regardless of their knowledge of custom packaging,” said Todd Anson, president of ThePaperWorker.com “Pricing is broken down simply by quantity, product descriptions are detailed, templates are provided in PDF/EPS formats, and 3D PDFs are available to view on every product.”

If you prefer to have an experienced package designer create your packaging graphics or review the designs you have uploaded, you can request those services on ThePaperWorker.com website.

If you deliver files on DVDs or thumb drives, you can create presentation materials that remind clients of why they should continue to work with you.

Expertise from The Colad Group

All of the products available through ThePaperWorker.com reflect the deep expertise of The Colad Group, a company that has been developing custom presentation materials and packaging for more than 60 years.

Until five or six years ago, The Colad Group could only serve customers who needed at least 250 boxes. That’s because their printing processes required making plates for each color of ink and dies for cutting and scoring the box designs on a die-cutting press.

Digital printing and cutting technology has changed all that. Orders submitted through ThePaperWorker.com are produced on automated digital presses and finishing equipment. Full-color photographic images can easily be printed on the boxes without the extra time and costs associated traditional offset printing.

For more information about the benefits of custom packaging, see the infographic posted on The Colad Group blog.

More about The Colad Group’s commitment to using and recycling environmentally friendly packaging materials, is available on their website.


BlueCotton Custom Prints T-Shirts for Authors, Artists, and Design Studios

BlueCotton is an experienced provider of custom-decorated T-shirts, sweatshirts, athletic wear, hats, and other garments as well as promotional items such as tote bags, drinkwear, and notebooks.

Using an assortment of screen printing, embroidery, and digital printing equipment, they have supplied custom-decorated apparel for major brands (such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Juicy Couture, and General Motors), small-business owners, and amateur sports teams. They also print custom-designed T-shirts for individuals planning reunions, weddings, or other events.


While there is no minimum order for most custom-designed products (you can even order just one!), you get better pricing when you order six or more. BlueCotton typically uses digital-printing technology for orders up to 20 items, and traditional screen printing for orders of 20 or more.

T-shirts for Authors and Artists

Through a close working relationship with the Print Mafia design studio, BlueCotton has seen how musicians and performance artists use T-shirts to promote themselves and supplement their revenues. Print Mafia reproduces their visually distinctive hand-lettered, hand-cut art on posters for rock concerts, tours, and festivals as well as tour merchandise.

According to Brad Wayland from BlueCotton, Print Mafia specializes in screen-printing their art on heavy, archival-grade paper but works with BlueCotton to produce T-shirts because “We have a vast array of sources for both high-end boutique-style shirts as well as basic tees.”

BlueCotton believes authors, photographers, and visual and performance artists can benefit by using custom-printed T-shirts either as promotional giveaways or fanwear.

BlueCottonCemetaryGirlPosterRecently, BlueCotton produced custom t-shirts for author David Bell. Bell used them during and after tours to promote his novel “Cemetery Girl” and “The Hiding Place.”

“Not only did the T-shirts look great for both books, they also proved to be one of the most popular giveaways we did,” says Bell. “Let’s face it, almost everybody likes getting a cool, well-designed T-shirt. They have a practical use–we have to wear clothes most places we go–and they are also conversation starters. People ask about the book, or the image, of the colors, and that can lead to instant connections and interest.”

Artists may want to have a few custom T-shirts printed for a gallery opening.

“Not everyone who attends a gallery opening can afford an original piece of art or even a giclee’ print, but they may certainly be able to carry home a custom t-shirt bearing an artist’s signature or mark,” says Brad Wayland. “A T-shirt embellished with the artist’s website address, a few words from the artist’s statement, and a representative image can help promote the artist and her work, and may spark a conversation that brings a collector your way.”

He points out that, “Installations or performance art events are perfect opportunities to offer custom apparel or other promotional merchandise because it enables the audience an opportunity to take away a tangible token of the experience when the art itself is not for sale.”

While digital-printing equipment has made it easier to reproduce photographs on T-shirts, many photographers still use custom T-shirts solely for branding purposes. T-shirts imprinted with the photographer’s logo are worn by the photographer as well as assistants in the studio or at art fairs or exhibitions.

If you’re a photographer, consider the extent your work can be used on promotional items such as T-shirts. Certain sizes and resolutions translate better in the screen printing process, and BlueCotton’s design team can give you tips on what types of images render the best results.

Design Your T-Shirt Online

Like many screen-printing firms, Blue Cotton regards printing as a craft. They have a natural rapport with artists and designers and strive to find creative ways to get the best possible results within the limitations of their equipment. While there are still some technical limitations as to the type of art that can be reproduced on T-shirts, the experts at Blue Cotton will advise you if the imagery that you upload to the site won’t reproduce well.

Through their online, interactive Design Studio, you can select the type of garment you would like printed, upload an image, and position the image and/or text on the garment. Images must be no larger than 5000 x 5000 pixels. They recommend uploading a 200 dpi PNG in the exact size you want the design reproduced.

As printing technology continues to improve, so does the quality of the T-shirts and imprinted designs. Whether you want to improve your branding, get your name out there, or show off your unique personality, you can show off your style and have a shirt that is an expression of who you really are.



Print Mafia


T-Shirts Can Complement Your Online Marketing

PHOTOGRAPHERS. ARTISTS. Last month, I researched and wrote an article about the 100-year history of the T-shirt business. So when I visited a local art fair (Summerfair), I couldn’t help but notice the many different types and styles of T-shirts people were wearing.

At the entrance to the fair, Summerfair organizers sold T-shirts with the same vibrant artwork as the poster for the 2013 event. The T-shirts were very reasonably priced, suggesting that fair organizers understand that the selling more T-shirts gives them more opportunities for year-round exposure for the event and the implied endorsements of the T-shirt wearers.

But I also noticed that an exhibitor who was selling fine-art photography was also selling T-shirts featuring his vintage-style photography alongside his notecards and matted prints.

What a great idea! People don’t send nearly as many handwritten note as we should. But people of all ages wear T-shirts–to show where we’ve been and what we like.  And if people wear T-shirts that promote their favorite musicians, why shouldn’t they wear T-shirts bearing the images of photographers and artists whose work they admire? Imagine how cool it would be to see people walking around wearing your art or studio logo.

ASIReportCoverAccording to a 2012 Global Advertising Speicalties Impressions study by the Advertising Specialty Institute, 43 percent of all consumers in the U.S. own at least one promotional shirt. Promotional shirts are particularly popular among younger people: 49 percent of people ages 21-36 own at least one promotional T-shirt and 46 percent of consumers in the 35 to 44 age group own a promotional T-shirt.

The ASI report notes T-shirts and other advertising specialties are unique forms of marketing. They point out, “Unlike other forms of media, where the advertiser’s message is seen as an interruption, ad specialties are used by consumers…And because the products are kept and use repeatedly, the advertisers are remembered.”

The study estimated that on average, consumers in the U.S. will keep a free, promotional T-shirt for 5.7 months and wear it often enough to achieve 1,990 impressions for the advertising company.

ASIReport1990ImpressionsMy hunch is that anyone who buys a T-shirt directly from an artist they admire is likely to keep it longer and wear it more often–achieving even more exposure for the photographer or artist.

A new breed of direct-to-garment and sublimation printing technologies is making it more feasible to reproduce certain types of photographic artwork on short runs of T-shirts. Direct-to-garment printers don’t require the screen set-up costs involved with conventional screen printing. Companies that offer short runs of digitally printed shirts include: Jakprints, Spreadshirt, and Blue Cotton.

Skilled screen printers can also print gorgeous photo reproductions on T-shirts. For example, check out the Elvis photo reproductions on “The Wertheimer Signature Collection” of apparel. The T-shirts feature a few of the 2,500 images of Elvis that photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer shot between 1956 and 1958 when the singer was just beginning his career. The images on the T-shirt are included in a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition entitled: “Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer.” The T-shirts were screen-printed by Campus Collection in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and are available to wholesale retail distribution.


Bottom line: If you haven’t yet considered using T-shirts as a way to get your work seen, maybe it’s time to give it a try.


Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Studies, v. 3: Advertising Specialties Institute

Campus Collection

Exhibition: Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer

T-Shirts: The Wertheimer Signature Collection

Spreadshirt: Design Your Own T-Shirt

Blue Cotton: Design Your Own Shirt



Laura Roeder Explains How to Create Your Own Fame

If the thought of creating a “brand” to promote yourself makes you uncomfortable, maybe it’s time to view the self-promotion process from a different perspective.

During the International Freelancers Day conference sponsored by the International Freelancers Academy, conference organizer Ed Gandia interviewed social-media marketing expert Laura Roeder about how to become the “go to person” in your field.  Laura specializes in teaching small businesses how to create their own fame. During the interview, she emphasized that her approach doesn’t require pretending to be someone you’re not, or puffing yourself up in a way that seems phony.

Before starting her current business, Laura Roeder was a freelance graphic designer. And, like many freelancers, she met most of her first clients at networking events. The problem with this approach, said Roeder, was that each time she introduced herself to someone new she had to start from ground zero, explaining who she was and what she did. The process was long and time-consuming, taking hours away from the time that could be spent on performing billable work.

When Roeder switched from web design to social-media consulting, a project she did for an actor-friend helped her discover a self-promotion process that can make it easier for self-employed creative professionals to find their next gig.

“Through that process, I saw that you can really make yourself famous,” said Roeder. “And you really need to. You can really create your own community. And that can be a very, very small community because you don’t need that many customers.”

The goal is to create a circle of people who know who you are and will approach you when they have projects you can help them with. So, instead of trying to sell yourself to every person you meet, said Laura, you create fame for yourself within a relatively small community of people.

“The  thing you have to remember is that every single person starts at zero,” said Roeder. No website or blog starts with traffic. And every mailing list starts with zero people. It’s a process that takes time and effort. But once you start getting small amounts of online exposure, the cumulative results of your efforts will begin to snowball.

One way to start attracting traffic to your website or blog is to get yourself interviewed, advises Roeder. “When you watch an interview with someone, it automatically positions them as an expert because we think why would they bother being interviewed if people didn’t want to hear what they had to say?” Being interviewed is a way to make people think you’re an expert, without you having to say it yourself.

Finding places to get interviewed has become very easy, says Roeder, because so many people now publish blogs and podcasts and have a constant need for fresh content and ideas. To get herself known as a specialist in motion graphics, Roeder went to the iTunes store and searched for podcasts related to marketing. She made a list of all of the podcasts that small-business owners might listen to, then approached the creator of each podcast one at a time. In a very brief e-mail, she said, “I’m a freelance designer and I specialize in motion graphics. I thought your audience would like to hear a few simple tricks you can do to make your motion graphics look great, even if you’ve never done them before.”

The important thing is to pitch interview ideas that the audience will value, said Laura. You have to figure out why an audience might want to listen to what you have to say.

Another way to create fame for yourself is to offer to write guest posts on blogs that are read by people who might want to hire you.

“What’s cool about guest posting is that it’s all indexed on the Web,” says Roeder. Thus, when a potential client Googles you before they hire you, they will find a page filled with articles that you have written and interviews that you’ve done.  Even if you post on a dinky, little blog that doesn’t have a lot of readers, it still lives in Google forever, so people will continue to see it.

After you have been interviewed on podcasts or written guest posts, make sure that visitors to your website see where you have been featured. Posting small icons or logos of all the sites on which you have appeared quickly creates a visual impression.

One other tactic you can use, says Roeder, is to ask to be a speaker at the conferences you would like to attend. It can be as simple as sending a nice note expressing your enthusiasm for the conference, then mentioning that “if you’re looking for more speakers, here are some topics I can talk about.” Conference organizers won’t always say yes, but you aren’t likely to get invited to speak unless you make it known that you’re interested.

Gandia wrapped up his interview by asking Roeder to share some parting thoughts.

“The most important thing is to just give it a shot, even if you don’t feel like you’re ready,” said Roeder. “In my experience, no one feels like they’re ready.”  Don’t wait until you reach some sort of pinnacle in your career, because working to create fame for yourself is partly how you reach that pinnacle.

To learn more about Laura’s “Creating Fame” online training program, visit: www.lkrsocialmedia.com.

To see some of the inspirational online training that the International Freelancers Academy offers to solopreneurs, visit their website.


Laura Roeder: LKR Social Media

About LKR Social Media

International Freelancers Academy