Taking Your Own Professional Headshot

Posted: January 15, 2021

Are you in need of an updated headshot for your Handshake or LinkedIn profile? Luckily with the advancement in technology and the camera features that are out there, it makes taking a headshot from home fairly easy. Learn how you can be your own photographer with these steps listed below.      

1. Choose your technology

If you do not have a professional camera, a phone with a camera will work just as well for getting that “picture perfect” headshot. If you plan to use a professional camera, you can skip this next step.

2. Download a camera app(s) for your smartphone

If you plan to use a smartphone to capture your photo, there are several camera apps to consider. The free apps such as Open Camera (Android only) or GorillaCam (iOS only) are just a few examples. Some additional features include being able to capture more than one photo at a time in the same setting, set the interval time along with the timer, and add sounds so you know when to be camera ready. Making sure that you equip your device with the right apps, especially if you are going to be taking the photos by yourself, will help set you up for success.

  • Pro-tip: Since you most likely will be taking multiple photos, clear space on your phone before your photo session. This will save you time from not having to pause in the middle of your photo session.

3. Use a tripod if you have one, or grab a roommate/family member

If you have a camera tripod, or a sturdy piece of “furniture” that will allow you to capture a shot from your shoulders/chest up, place the camera that you plan to use in the correct position. You will want to ensure that you become familiar with the timer feature and take a few practice shots. If neither a tripod or furniture are possible, grab a roommate or family member that can offer suggestions and help you get the best angles. Asking someone else to assist you in getting that “picture perfect” photo has its benefits as it can save you time and also allows you to receive feedback.

4. Wear professional attire and check your appearance

A headshot IS part of your personal brand, so here is your chance to put on your favorite professional and polished outfit! If you can, avoid “busy” and bright colors which can sometimes be distracting. Consider sticking with neutral, solid colors. Additionally, spend time getting ready so you will look like “you” on a good day.

5. Pick a location

Next, choose a location that has good lighting with a simple backdrop. Having the right lighting might be the most difficult part when capturing a photo. Rest assured, after a few practice shots; you will find what works best for you in no time. Depending on the current weather, decide whether you want to capture your photo inside or outside.

  • If you are going to capture your photo inside: Make sure that there is not an abundance of light coming from behind you. Oftentimes, facing the natural light at a distance, on a cloudy day, with the solid wall behind you, will ensure a great photo. Additionally, if you have extra lighting or artificial lights, try centering the light at a distance from where you will be standing.
  • If you are going to capture your photo outside: Position yourself with the sun behind you, so you do not end up squinting and have shadows in your photo. While it is best that the sun is behind you, make sure that you are in an area where there is not direct sunlight. The early morning or the evenings are usually the best times to take photos as the sun is not in full effect.

6. Get ready for the camera

Once you have found your location, position yourself at an angle that feels the most comfortable, make eye contact with the camera lens, and smile naturally.

Review your photos after you have taken a few and make adjustments, as necessary. Once you have found a photo(s) you like best, save them to your computer so they do not get lost in the mix of other photos on your device. If you are looking to touch up your photo(s), consider one of these apps.

Don’t forget to have fun and good luck!

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” -- John Wooden