How to take your own professional headshotIn today’s pandemic times, many aspects of our wellbeing have been compromised, including our financial health.

If you are currently looking for new job opportunities and don’t have a headshot or an updated one and can’t afford to hire a photographer at this time, there are ways to work around this.

Though, if you can afford to hire a local photographer to take your headshot safely during these times, that is strongly encouraged. An expert will produce the best result.

Spend the money on a headshot if you can. Look to your local professional peers whose headshots you like, to see where they got theirs, what the rate was, and what the experience was like. Do your homework and compare.

If you cannot make a professional headshot work at this time, use these tips to take your own:


1. Dress the Part

Though you may be taking your own professional headshot in your backyard or with the help of a friend or family member, you don’t want to dress in the clothes you relax in at home.

Dress the same way you would for an in-person job interview. Don’t overdo the glamour or your makeup. Be your best professional you.

When you’re dressing for your headshot, keep your ideal office setting in mind, whether that’s a little more business casual or corporate.


2. Use What You Have

Get your phone ready! Take advantage of camera settings like portrait mode if it’s available to you.

If you have a tripod made for a phone, use it, but since a majority of us probably don’t, you may consider making your own tripod if a friend or family member can’t help you.

You can create your own tripod with simple household items like a disposable coffee cup, binder clips and rubber bands, plastic cards, and more.


3. Take Advantage of Natural Lighting and Settings

Take your headshot on a day where the weather is beautiful and great natural lighting is available.

Typically, the best time to take a headshot is a few hours after sunrise and a couple of hours after sunset. Get out in your backyard and use a natural landscape as your background or a nice brick wall. Get out in nature or find a professional setting full of character in your own downtown.

Use professional headshots you like as inspiration to find your own ideal setting. These background settings will look a lot better than having your bedroom wall as a backdrop.

If you’re not a professional photographer, this tip will be especially helpful to you, to produce a decent headshot.


4. Keep Your Pose Natural

This isn’t an artsy photoshoot. Smile and look directly into the camera. Present yourself the same way you would when you’re speaking directly to someone interviewing you in-person.

You don’t want to end up looking like a strange stock photo at the end of your session.


How to Take Your Own Professional Headshot5. Frame Your Photo

Frame your headshot from the chest-up. Ensure that natural lighting is hitting your face. You don’t want any dramatic shadows.

Yes, you can always crop later, but the better you can set it up to start, the better end result you will have.

Use the photography rule of thirds as your guide.

The end result should not be a series of selfies more suited for Instagram or Snapchat.


6. Take a Lot of Photos

The more you have to work with, the better! You will become more comfortable with each photo you take.

You may feel awkward or uneasy at first, so this is crucial to the process. It will also reduce the possibility of you wanting (or having) to retake them.


7. Limit Your Editing

The less editing you do is better, especially if you’re not a trained photographer. Experts warn – do not rely on editing to create a great headshot. Strive to get the best shot while you’re in session.

There are some simple filters you can take advantage of within different applications to make slight corrections. You may take advantage of these if your native camera editing capabilities are limited. Don’t over-edit. Always keep copies of the original photos.

ExpertPhotography.com recommends apps like these for editing your headshot:

  • Photoshop Express
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • VSCO
  • Snapseed
  • And more

Once you’re satisfied with the end product, use it to update your LinkedIn profile and other relevant networks, such as your own professional website!


We hope these tips help you create a better headshot utilizing the tools you have in these pandemic times.

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