How to Snap Your Own, Professional Looking Headshot

For even the most inexperienced beginners

A guest post by YouTube creator, marketer and beauty expert Julia.

A decent-looking, professional headshot is something that we all need — whether it’s for your LinkedIn profile, budding blog or annual, solo Christmas card, that go-to photo puts a face to your name and is necessary to have if you want to be seen with any type of legitimacy. That being said, it is understandably difficult for many of us to snap a photo without our eyes shut, let alone to a take a headshot we’re proud and comfortable to share with the world.

We also don’t all have the budget and time to hire a professional photographer, makeup artist and stylist to primp us, pose us and retouch those wrinkles/flyaways. Luckily, in today’s world of crisp, HD cameras built into our cell phones and makeup options for every skin tone, type and preference, you can get that perfect photo easily, and in the comfort of your own home.

As a part-time YouTuber on a limited budget and “retired” makeup artist (turned marketer), I’ve had my fair share of striving to snap the perfect selfie, fiddling with lighting and faking a flattering background in my 450-square foot apartment. I’ve done the experimenting for you — and would now like to share a few of my tips on the DIY headshot. All it takes is three simple steps:

Julia how to take a professional headshot
Julia offers some more practical tips on taking your own headshot.

Looking the part

If you’re a man, this step should be simple enough for you — comb your hair, put on a nice, solid colored button down shirt and clean up that facial hair (shave stubble, trim your beard, etc.). For the women, your choice whether or not to wear makeup is entirely your own, but full disclosure, photos will always be more flattering with a little cosmetic help.

A little bit of liquid foundation will even out your complexion, while a touch of bronzer (on the forehead and cheek bones) and blush (on the apples of the cheeks) will add some color and depth to your face. A touch of eyebrow pencil will help frame the face, while mascara will brighten up your eyes and leave them the focus of the photo. A pop of natural color on the lips (or even a tinted balm) will help your face look finished.

Getting a “Photographer” and Camera

Unless you refuse to enter the 21st century and don’t have a smartphone, your cell will work just fine to get a fabulous headshot. If you’ve got an iPhone 8 (or any newer version), you can even place your camera on a setting called “portrait mode” that will blur the background to add that professional look to the photo.

As for a “photographer,” grab your mom, neighbor, sister, coworker — and if all else fails, there are self-timer apps and selfie sticks available for you to take your pics solo. Take at least 5-10 pictures and check yourself out in-between so that you don’t get 10 different renditions of you with spinach stuck in your teeth.

Lighting and Touch Ups

Here’s a secret I’ll let you in on: half the battle of getting a decent photo is getting proper lighting. Your best bet is natural light — standing slightly in front of a window with the light (not too brightly) shining AT your face. The key is for the light to be coming from the front of you, NOT above. Any light shining down onto your face will highlight every unflattering shadow, wrinkle and discoloration you have.

Test out this theory and you’ll immediately see what I mean. If you can’t do daylight or don’t have a flattering spot, try the flash on your camera — but not too close (and in too dim of a setting). You don’t want your headshot to be in the dark.

The final step is the crop. A headshot should be just that — a shot of your head. Make sure to crop your picture in a square from just below the shoulders and leave a little room at the top of the image as well. We don’t want to be squinting to see you, but we also shouldn’t be so zoomed in that every pore on your face is visible.

And lastly, don’t overthink it. Remember that you are beautiful, inside and out, regardless of how unphotogenic you may think are. Good luck!

Find more from Julia at her YouTube channel!

Today’s guest writer is Julia, beauty expert and Youtuber.

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