How do you take a professional-looking headshot from home - or anywhere you are?
Your headshot is your first chance to make a good impression. Having a good-looking headshot makes your LinkedIn profile more likely to be clicked on compared to a photo that just plain sucks. Having a professional headshot taken by a photographer is great but easily can cost around $100-$500, which most of us are not willing to spend.
Luckily, smartphone cameras can be almost as good as a DSLR camera. We've put together a list of tips for taking a great headshot from the comfort of your own home using our Virtual Headshot Photo Booth which can be used on any mobile device where you get internet!
Here are 5 simple ways to elevate your headshot game.
1. Take advantage of natural light.
Lighting is a huge factor in whether your headshot looks professional or just plain bad. Using fluorescent lighting from your kitchen can give you a weird yellowish tint, harsh shadows on your face, and if you're using flash it may make you look 'washed out.'
Instead, you should take your headshot outside in a semi-shady spot or facing a window where natural light is coming in. You don't want to be in direct sunlight because that will make your whole photo bright, but somewhere that is slightly shaded provides a soft lighting that always looks good.
If natural light is not an option for you, you can try utilizing a ring light as a backup. Perhaps you live somewhere where the weather or time of day is limited, in this case, a ring light is a great solution to simulate daytime lighting that can be easily found for a decent price online like this one here.
2. Pose like a pro.
It sounds obvious but many of us forget to sit up straight. You want to bring your shoulders back and hold your head high, with your chin lifted towards the camera. Your headshot should focus on your face so it can be easily recognizable at a small size (like a LinkedIn profile picture). A good rule of thumb is to shoot from the shoulders up by holding your phone slightly elevated above your head. We've made this easy with a simple guide in our Virtual Photo Booth to easily align your body for a perfect headshot.
Feel free to try out different angles that you feel flatter your face best, this can be things like a 3/4 angle, looking straight on, looking off into the distance laughing (for a more candid look), etc. Lastly, don't forget to relax. If your body is all tensed up more than likely it will show in your headshot, so take a deep breath and lower your shoulders and just have fun.
3. Take more than one photo.
Rarely do we get our best selfie on the first try and headshots are no different. Try taking photos in different lighting, positions, clothing, and with different facial expressions until you feel you've taken the "right" one! If you don't feel comfortable taking your headshot, have a friend or family member take it for you by flipping your phone camera in the Virtual Photo Booth.
Don't rush the process when taking your headshot either. You'll likely be making adjustments to your lighting, pose, apparel, etc. as you go. Set aside at least 30 min to capture your best shot, and if it takes you longer that's fine too!
4. Wear what you would wear to work.
Dress in a way that reflects who you are and is inviting for your target audience. We've all probably been "catfished" by a recruiter's profile picture who when you meet them in person - they look nothing like what they presented online.
Whether you're a big-time CEO or a barista at a small coffee shop, dress how you would normally. You don't have to wear the fanciest suit or most colorful blouse (unless that's your thing) to impress others. Most of the time it's best anyways to keep it simple and wear solid neutral colors that won't clash with your background or profile.
5. Polish your headshot with some editing.
Once you're done snapping your photos, choose the top 3 that you like. Next, you'll want to add some basic edits to your photos to elevate them. You can use your built-in editing features on your phone or there are plenty of apps out there that have free editing, like the Darkroom app.
Features you want to play with include:
- Exposure: Depending on if your photo is too bright or dark you can adjust the exposure to get the right lighting.
- Contrast: Don't add too much contrast to the point where you have harsh shadows, but instead adjust it slightly to give yourself a little more definition.
- Saturation: This is another feature you don't want to overdo, adding a little more saturation in your photos can make it "pop" and avoid looking dull. If you add too much though, you'll end up looking like a pop art cartoon.
- Sharpness / Clarity: Depending on what camera or device you're using, your photos might not be as crisp as you'd like. By adjusting the sharpness or clarity you can add a little more focus to yourself. However, note that if your photo is overall blurry this will not solve that problem.
Looking to get inspired?
Here are some amazing sample headshots taken by our latest Virtual Headshot Photo Booth clients!