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Using Your Own Picture in Your Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of December 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Do you have a headshot handy that you could send to a media organization quickly?


Today I got an email from a rather large media publication requesting a picture of me for an article that they might include me in (they were being a little cagey and wouldn’t actually say if I was ‘in’ or not – so I won’t say who it is).

The email was marked ‘Urgent’ – they needed my picture as soon as possible as they were on a deadline.

Luckily for me I have a few head shots that I was able to send off within a few minutes of the request hitting my inbox – but it reminded me of a similar request a few months back when I didn’t have a suitable picture handy and ended up being left out of an article that could have brought significant exposure.

I learnt my lesson from that occasion and got a photographer mate to take some high resolution and professional looking shots.


Having a set of quality pictures of yourself can be a very useful thing – for a number of reasons:

1. Media – while some media outlets will send their own photographers to get a new and unique image of you – many will not – particularly if you are not close to them. Similarly – having your images readily available on your blog means that they’ll get used by other bloggers also. I regularly see my ugly mug on some blog or another when people write about something that I’ve written. This can be both good and bad (depending upon the shot that they choose to use) – but it’s mainly good and can add to your personal brand.

2. Personal Branding – putting your image on your blog will not be for everyone – but I’ve certainly learnt the power of it over the past few years of ProBlogger. These days my image is down in the footer (although there is one slap bang in the middle of my home page – on the video) but for the first 2.5 years of this blog it was right up the top. The impact of this was quite powerful in terms of a personal branding exercise. However this is not for everyone – some bloggers want to brand their blog more prominently than themselves (for example at DPS I don’t include my picture – in fact I don’t even include my name on posts). It depends upon the objective of your blog.

From-The-Editor-1-13. Adding a Personal Touch – Having said that I don’t use my image on DPS, I do use it in my weekly newsletters where I include the image to the right in one of my sections. The reason for including it is not to promote myself – but to give the newsletter a more personal touch. Interestingly the week I started doing it I had 10 or so emails from subscribers that specifically mentioned it. Sometimes having a face to put to writing can add a new dimension to your reader’s experience.

Of course using your image online can have some dangers and risks and will not be for everyone. I I’m comfortable with people knowing what I look like, but I know many bloggers choose to blog more anonymously – and this can be a good thing also.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • I should really get some updated shots of myself done. It’s been about 2 years since my last photo shoot.

  • Wow, there’s something to think about. I’m a very touchy person when it comes to my personal identity on the web. To be honest, I have never used my full real name or my full real info or my full real picture. Maybe it’s a good idea for me to face the fact that a headshot might be better.

  • Adding a mug shot certainly makes things more personal. However I might have to do the tight crop and cut off the top of my head like your shots to hide my bald head. Otherwise I might lose readers!

  • My first reaction was to say “Well, when I get famous, I’ll put that on my to-do list” but getting media attention isn’t only reserved for those who are famous. After all, someone’s got to be able to say “I was following them before they were big and I have photo evidence!” so that’s a great idea!

  • It can be kind of intimidating having your picture out there for everyone in the world to see. I just recently did my very first EntreCard raffle with a video. It felt weird seeing myself on my blog in a video at first. However, sometimes I feel readers enjoy a break from all the text and a video is easy on the eyes.

  • Great idea! A blog is really a personal space between you and the world and having a professional photo of you will go a long way in establishing your identity. Although I’m camera shy I know I need to do this and I hope to find the courage to accomplish this goal! Thanks for the great article!

  • A photo does make a site more personal, but I’m a bit shy and privacy conscious.

    My compromise is to use a minimal number of low-res or partial-face shots. Enough to give an impression of the human behind the web page, but not enough detail for mis-use.

  • We don’t see that many blogs with pictures of the blogger, some even don’t have any ‘real’ personal info and that just makes it all so unpersonal.

    Comment for Jummy: For me (and probably for a lot) it is not about been ‘famous’ but to add a personal touch to the whole blog!

    I do have a photo on my blog, both in the about but also a ‘drawn’ one for the top of the blog (header). Sure that picture is not a photo but it is very much me (Lack of hair, glasses..)

    What all this reminds me of, maybe it is time to get a update picture and not use a 6 year old one (Sure hair cut didn’t change much..hehe). So time to get the digi camera going.

  • Adding a worth reading blog to my Google Reader is like a mini-blogo-happening. Rolling with the blog let’s you create unconsciously an exact profile picture of the author and the blog enjoyableness becomes complete when you find out that your judgment matches the real author portrait. Аutomatically this blog turns into a favorite and the reading of every new article is always marked with the vision of the cool dude who is running it.

    So I completely agree – get personal, add your photo, win your audience.

    As my intention is to have a dedicated pro author for each main category of my blog project I will definitely create a separate Authors section with smart profiles & pictures for even reinforce the idea.

  • I just have a picture of me in the about page of my blog.

  • Darshana

    One thing that frightens me to put up a picture of myself is the age old saying of ” first impression matters”.If I don’t get a particularly acceptable quality photo, I may turn off visitors to my blog. Eg: They may think you are too young or old to write about what you are writing. This is more true for first time visitors, loyal reader will know better since they know the type of quality content available.

    Any Ideas on this?

  • Using your picture on your blog is a personal choice, but I think it’s important to consider the media thing. If you found out today you were going to appear in an article, and they had to have a picture right now or you wouldn’t get in, how would you feel? If you’d want to appear in the article but don’t have any picture you can use, then you know what to do!

  • Darren —
    I’m a big believer in personalization of a blog — but prefer not to put my own photo on my blog for a variety of reasons. However, I do put up a pretty nice caricature of myself which has become my “logo.” For my purposes, it’s ageless but not faceless and gives my readers a sense of who I am.

    But I love it when other bloggers put their photo on the site — helps me connect to them visually. It’s a good thing.

  • Your pic is pretty good though, and the pic i have on my profile is usually one that i cropped from a group pic, but still that does fine for me .. For the few 10’s of people who visit my blog that will be fine.

  • I think the whole privacy thing is somewhat overrated — unless you are blogging under a pen name or you are afraid your employer might object to what you have to say, few bloggers have anything to worry about for having their photo appear on their blog.

    Consider celebrities. Sure, some of them get tired of having the press hound them all the time, but most of them realize that the more their face and name appears, the more well known they will be. The more well-known they are, the more they can charge for speaking engagements, acting roles, articles, singing, etc.

    Most bloggers probably won’t have fans demanding their autographs when they dine out, but a little fame never hurt anyone’s bottom line.

    So, I will continue to post my picture any respectable place someone might see it. I don’t have anything to hide and I just might have something to gain.

    Tom Bonner

  • I will have to admit. Darren’s way of blogging is different, genuine and lovely like always. I love to read new posts by problogger. Personal touch idea for web is great. I am going to be habitual for problogger posts.

  • Not sure if you were aware though if not you will be anyways so maybe I should just not say anything hmmmmm? Naw Netvalar has major problems keeping his mouth shut as was proven yesturday with the Sellaband and amazon partnership.

    Darren is on the web celeb 25 list put out by forbes I learned about it from this blog

  • Paul

    Some big names there. Congrats.

    . . . and I liked the way you worked that into an article ;-).

  • For personal blogs, or a site with many authors, this is a great idea. Also, keeping the image up-to-date is a must. It’s no good if you don’t look like the person in the photo anymore.

  • I have plenty of my pictures on my PC and yeah, I do use my pic on my blog (om my about page only, though) as I believe it helps in branding…

  • No i don’t have. I don’t like to much show my picture on web.

  • Whenever I take photos of myself for the blog or other purposes I always seem to look miserable. If anyone knows the secret of taking self portraits without having to grin inanely please do let me know.

  • Thanks for this post, Darren. Finally, I was convinced to put my own picture on my blog. In fact, I made a post where I enumerate one by one all the advantages of doing so.