It’s hard to believe that this month marks one year of the pandemic. This past year has been an arduous journey that none of us could have ever anticipated. Throughout that journey, I believe we all have learned a tremendous amount about ourselves and how resourceful we are. Prior to the pandemic, most of us never contemplated what it would be like to have everything in our world come to a halt and what continuing on with our lives in that environment would look like. Yet, here we are one year later, still on this journey continuing to do our best and navigate our lives in a COVID world.

The pandemic has put us all in difficult situations whilst seeking out certain services that we may have taken for granted before. One of those services is getting a professional headshot taken. Although getting a headshot is not thought of as a critical task or may be regarded as frivolous; your headshot is one of the most important components of your personal and professional branding.

Working in the creative world and growing up with a mother as a professional photographer has helped me to not only understand the value of a good headshot but also how to achieve it within a few simple steps. With the help of your smartphone and a few tips to get that perfect shot, you can create an adequate headshot within a few minutes. Let me tell you how!

Appearance

Your first step to a successful photo is looking your best. You want to look clean, polished, and professional. Consider wearing simple, solid-colored clothing with minimal patterns or prints (these tend to be distracting). Feel free to be yourself and stay true to your style but in a manicured way.

Background and Lighting

A key element is a clean and uncluttered background. The simpler the better. A solid-colored wall will work best in this situation. You can either choose to take your photo inside or outside. If inside, locating the room with the best lighting is essential. Ideally, this room will have a large window allowing natural light to shine through. If outside, stay away from direct sunlight to avoid squinty eyes. Your best course of action when outside is to avoid a time of day while the sun is shining at its brightest.

Camera

Nowadays, most of our phones are equipped with a reasonably nice built-in camera.  Before taking your photo, check your settings to see if you have the “Portrait Mode” feature. If you do have this feature, I could not recommend using this enough. It’s a game-changer! This feature will automatically blur the background and make yourself pop, helping to fake that professional look. If your phone does not have this feature, don’t fret. You still have all the tools you need to achieve a fantastic headshot.

Posing

A trick I learned while taking an at-home professional headshot is to make adjustments in each shot. The more you experiment, the better your chances are of getting that perfect headshot. Try positioning your shoulders at a different angle or tilting your head slightly. Something important to keep in mind while conducting your at-home photo shoot is to get both shoulders in the photo and be sure to keep an adequate amount of headroom in the picture for cropping.

  • If you have the help of someone taking the photo, instruct them to keep the camera at eye-level. You don’t want to be looking too far up, and you especially do not want to look down at the camera while being photographed.
  • If you are alone and don’t have the help of a second person, you can utilize the self-timer option and set your phone up on a piece of furniture or a phone stand. If this proves to be a little too difficult, don’t worry, you can always opt-in for a selfie. Again, be sure to check to see if you have the “Portrait Mode” feature here.

Editing

If you’ve followed all of the steps prior, I have faith that your photo will need little to no editing at all. If anything, you can experiment with the brightness or contrast settings to enhance your photo. Just be sure to stay away from using any unnatural filters.

That wasn’t so bad, right? Just a few simple steps, the click of a camera, and voilà, a beautifully done headshot. I hope this guide gives you confidence and encourages you to update your headshot at home. As mentioned before, a polished and professional headshot is imperative to your personal and professional branding. Good luck, and don’t forget to have fun with it!

Graphic created by: Autumn Von Plinsky