Tips for Taking Your Own Headshot
There are many professions that require a headshot. Actors, models, authors, and salespeople generally need a headshot for marketing and resumes, but what about entrepreneurs who also act as the face of their company? It’s always a good idea to have a great portrait of yourself that you can use to promote your business. Professional headshots can be expensive, but you can get the perfect shot on your own if you have these tips.
Understand the Qualities of a Headshot
A good headshot is a photo that conveys your personality at a glance. More accurately, it displays the side of your personality that connects to the product or business you’ll be putting it on. If you write horror novels, your headshot is more likely to show you in a serious moment; if you run a dog grooming business, you’ll probably want to appear friendly and fun.
Headshots need to look like you, so that clients, readers, fans, or partners can recognize you, but you’ll also want the shot to look like the best version of yourself. It needs to be something that you’ll be confident showing everywhere.
Finally, your headshot needs to stand out from others in your field. Try to create a portrait that is uniquely your own style. Choose your clothing, your background, and your composition with the intent to stand out and to say something about who you are.
Start with Lighting
The biggest problem with headshots is usually lighting. Bad lighting can make a supermodel look terrible, while good lighting can turn an attractive woman into a drop-dead gorgeous woman. It’s best not to take your photo in full sunlight, if only because it makes you squint.
You don’t have to have expensive gear to get good lighting – just the ability to get creative. Hang a bare bulb near your shot location, and cover it with an inexpensive white paper lantern from a retail store. This softens the light without dimming it. You can also use fabric swatches draped over the lantern to create different colors or textures in the shot.
You Can Use Your Phone!
If you have a camera, that’s great. Use it! Set it up so that it automatically takes a stream of photos, and change your pose throughout the stream so that you have several options to choose from. But if you don’t have a camera, you can still take a great headshot without having that tell-tale arm on the side holding your phone up.
First, get yourself a remote control, like the Selfieme Selfie Bluetooth Remote Control. This little device comes with a stand for your phone, so you can set it up, facing towards you so that you can see how it looks before you click. Then just use the remote to take images. It’s a good idea to snap several, from different angles and with different poses, till you find the perfect one.
It’s best to use a neutral background that isn’t too busy, but don’t be afraid to find a scene that feels natural to you. If you’re using your headshot to display your own personal brand (as an artist, author, or other creative professional), it’s best to find a particular style or “look”, and stick with it. Finally, don’t use the zoom feature on your phone, which reduces the quality. Set the phone up closer to you if you need to fill more of the frame.
No matter what you need your headshot for, you’ll be able to take a photo that looks great, on your own. No one will know that you’ve just hacked the perfect selfie!