How to Take an “At-Home” Headshot

December 1, 2020

With today’s modern technologies and easy access to a cell phone, typically with a camera, you no longer have to seek out a photographer to get a professional looking headshot. With the help of a friend, a tripod, and the tips below you can create the perfect LinkedIn headshot with ease.

Firstly, you’ll wanna know what some key elements are of a good headshot. Those key elements include; good lighting, proper framing, offerseye contact, ensures that you’re not blurry, and a photo that shows off your personality. Don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with the photo as this is your first impression and you want to stand out to potential employers. This is also a good opportunity to do some research and find some headshots that you like to get ideas from.

Now that you know the key elements needed, let’s explore each one.

Lighting: You want to pick a good location with proper lighting and a simple backdrop that’s one solid color. You don’t want to stand in front of a window as this can cause flashbacks from the outdoor light. A good location could be outdoors, but not in direct sunlight as this will wash you out and make you squint, so outdoors but in the shade facing the sun is a great alternative. You’ll still get flattering outdoor light, but without having to squint your eyes. You also can find a good spot indoors with a brightly lit room that offers a solid backdrop wall.

Framing: For the best headshot, you want to be properly framed. This typically is a photo from the chest up with only a small amount of space on your sides and above your head so that you’re centered within the frame. You want the focus to be on you and not your surroundings. If your phone allows it, you can even take the photo in “portrait mode” blurring the background to focus on you.

Eye Contact: Eye Contact is one of the most essential parts of a great headshot, you want to capture the viewer’s attention and proper eye contact is often most engaging. You’ll want to look directly into the camera and appear interested, a good way to do this is to “smile” with your eyes by slightly opening them and slightly raising your eyebrows as you would if you were smiling.

Blurriness: This is where a friend or tripod comes into place. You don’t want to take a blurry photo or one that isn’t properly framed as we discussed earlier. Ensuring the stability of your camera will increase resolution and quality of the headshot. You’ll also want to take the photo with as high of a resolution as possible, so try to avoid the front facing camera. Additionally, if you do use portrait mode for this photo, the blurriness of the background, as long as you are in focus, is acceptable.

Show Off Your Personality: A way to stand out from the crowd of headshots is to just have fun with it, while still following all the tips above. Some good ideas to make this naturally happen for an almost “candid” effect is to make yourself laugh, listen to music, or talk to yourself to loosen up. You don’t want to appear stiff and forced. You can think about something funny, or something that makes you happy, if you’re with a friend have them tell you a joke and take the photos while you’re laughing to appear more natural and engaging.

With the tips above, plus remembering to properly dress for the occasion you’ll be able to take a great at-home headshot. It’s likely that you won’t get the perfect photo in the first round, so take as many photos as you can then sort out through each one trying different styles, poses, and lighting areas.

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