Hey beauty boss! One of the most important parts of building your brand’s online presence is having a good quality headshot. Taking a headshot with your phone can be simple and easy, so you don’t have to worry about hiring a photographer or looking unprofessional on your social media.
You want to show potential clients who you are, that you are professional, but also have your own unique style. Your headshot’s purpose is to build a relationship with your audience so they feel they have the opportunity to get to know you before meeting you in person.
Now, let’s be honest: you’re a budding business boss and you don’t have the budget to hire a professional to take your headshot. No problem! With today’s technology on our phones, you can easily take a clear, professional looking headshot yourself or by having a friend snap a few shots for you.
We’re answering all of your questions on how to take a professional headshot with your phone below. The great thing about this information is that you can take these tips and use them when taking other photos for your social media of yourself, or before and after photos of your clients.
What Type Of Phone Do I Need?
It doesn’t matter what type of phone you have, whether it’s an iPhone, Android, or Samsung, as long as it’s a smart phone and can take photos. Obviously a newer phone is going to have the best camera technology (faster shutter speed, higher resolution, etc.), but if your phone is a few years old, you can still take a quality headshot with it.
What Settings Do I Need To Use?
Our goal with this article is to show you how easy it is to take a professional headshot with your phone, meaning you shouldn’t have to spend time messing with all of the different settings to get it just right. You can if you want to, but again, our focus is on creating a professional-quality headshot, so try to steer clear of changing the settings too much so that your headshot ends up looking low quality.
We recommend focusing on your lighting, backdrop, and pose instead, which will be teaching you about below. One of our favorite settings is on the newer versions of iPhone (7 Plus, 8 Plus, and X) and is called ‘Portrait’ mode. Portrait mode was made for exactly that — portraits, which a headshot would be considered. Portrait mode blurs your background and puts you, the subject, in more focus, creating an eye catching, professional quality headshot.
To use this function, just open up the Camera app and swipe through the different shooting modes at the bottom until you hit ‘Portrait’. It will even tell you to ‘move closer’ if you’re too far away, or ‘move further away’ if you are too close.
Where Should I Take My Headshot?
Two things you want to focus on to create a high quality, professional looking headshot: lighting and background.
First, let’s talk about lighting. Your best bet for lighting is to try to use natural lighting. That means sunshine outside, or having natural light coming through the windows. Lighting that typically doesn’t breed well for photographs are overhead lights and fluorescent lighting. You also want to keep in mind where the light is coming from — are you standing at an angle that creates a shadow on your face? Is your background also well lit (ie. you don’t look like you’re standing in a dark corner).
Even though natural lighting is best, you also don’t want too much light either. A really sunny day can end up washing your face out, making you squint. If you do take your headshot outside, early in the morning or later in the afternoon tends to be the best times.
Next, you want to look for a background that isn’t too dark, too light, or too distracting. The goal of your background is to help keep the focus on you, while complimenting your face. You may be thinking, “shouldn’t I just pick a plain backdrop, like a white wall then?”. Not necessarily. It’s appealing for the viewer to have some context in the background, but if you don’t have any great options then a plain wall with a neutral color is best.
If you’re opting for a headshot outside, look for a backdrop that again, is complementary to your face and skin tone, isn’t too light, too dar
k, or busy/distracting. Having people or objects in the background can take the focus off of you. Try to keep things like trees, telephone lines, lampposts, crowds, signs, or cars out of your background. Instead, look for simpler backdrops such as a concrete wall, brick wall, or something with a simple texture.
What If I Have To Take My Headshot Myself?
Ideally, you can have a friend or family member take your headshot for you, so all you have to focus on is *working it* on camera! But, if you have to take your headshot yourself, not to worry. You don’t need to buy an expensive tripod, either. It may take more time than you thought, but you can easily use some supplies of your own to create a makeshift support for your phone at the right height for your headshot.
You’ll want to find the backdrop you’re going to use first, step a few feet away from where you will be positioned, and lift the phone to the level that your head will be. It may help to bring a chair or stool with you to sit on while you take photos for your headshot. That way, if you don’t have a tripod and are going to be stacking books or other items to bring your phone up to eye level, it’s a bit easier.
Make sure you prop your phone against something stable and so that it is standing upright, rather than at an angle. If you’d rather use a tripod (which could come in handy for future social media photo or video content), a few we recommend are:
What If I’m Not Good At Taking Photos?
Don’t worry! If you’re someone who doesn’t like having their photo taken, or you think your photos never turn out great, that’s okay. The point of having a headshot is so potential clients have an idea of who you are, what your unique style or brand is, and what you look like so they’re already building a relationship with you before they come to your chair. In layman’s terms: you’re not trying to look like a model or a celebrity.
That being said, it’s a good idea if you warm up before taking your first round of headshots. Give yourself something to laugh at, smile, turn on some music that really gets you pumped, and take a few “practice” shots of you just goofin’ off!
Even though they might not be headshot worthy, you’ll be surprised to find that some of these random, candid shots are often times the best photos of yourself. Whatever the case, you just want to get natural and comfortable so your headshots turn out well.
How Many Photos Should I Take?
Our answer: A LOT! You’ve taken the time to get set up, find great lighting, and position yourself in your background. Use this time to your advantage! Now, we don’t want you to spend hours obsessing over looking “just right”, but feel free to take as many shots at different angles as you need to have a selection to choose from.
You can even try several backgrounds, different poses, and slight variations in your smile. You never know what’s going to turn out best, or what you can use some of these other shots for in the future.
How Should I Pose?
Remember that the purpose of your headshot is to give your brand a professional, polished look, showcase who you are, and the essence of your personal brand.
What message do you want your brand to convey?
Think about who your ideal client is and having them right there in front of you. You want to come across as approachable, friendly, and like their next, trusted stylist!
We wouldn’t recommend crossing your arms, having too much hair in your face, or a serious look.
Try a few shots with your head straight on, tilted, or off to the side. Smile with teeth, and then without. Create an angle with your body by moving your torso just slightly away from the camera, or putting an arm on one hip.
What Should I Wear?
Just as important as your background and lighting is what you wear. Now, a headshot is just that — a focus on the neck above, but taking a shot from your torso and up works just as well. Whichever the case, wearing something that is solid, avoiding stripes and patterns that are distracting is best.
You want to consider the essence of your brand as well. Be yourself! If you’re style is punk rock, convey that. If your brand has more of a classic vibe, convey that. But do so in a way that isn’t distracting from your face, or chaotic to the eye. Keep into consideration the type of clients you want to work with too. Wear colors that are complementary of your skin tone, hair color, eyes, and background. Don’t blend in either — working against a white background? Wear a solid color that stands out.
Do I Need To Edit My Headshot?
If you follow our general guidelines above, then no, there shouldn’t be a need to edit your headshot. The goal is to help you make this process as easy and simple as possible. Once you pick your shot, you can easily upload it to your social media from your phone. If you need to send your headshot to us for your website, or to someone else, open the email app you use on your phone and select the option to add your headshot inside a blank email to whomever you are sending it to. You won’t have to worry about converting the file format or size, either.
Yes, there are apps and websites you can download if you want to play with editing your headshot. We aren’t going to recommend one because taking your professional headshot with your phone should be easy and not take a lot of extra work! If you do want to edit your headshot, make sure you do so within reason. This is your professional headshot. Save the creative editing techniques for other photos.
All in all, taking a professional quality headshot should be easy with today’s technology on our phones. Remember to let your personality shine, pick outfits and backdrops that aren’t distracting, and don’t stress about making it perfect!
What questions do you have about taking your headshot? Comment below and we’ll help!