5 amazing tricks to using a selfie for your headshot
Under certain circumstances, it's totally fine to use a selfie for your headshot; here are 5 amazing tricks that let you do just that! You've probably heard or read that it's not okay to use a selfie for your headshot. However there are exceptions to every rule.
Read 10 reasons why you need a new headshot right now.
There may be compelling reasons why you're trying to use a selfie rather than hiring a professional headshot photographer like myself. It could be a time or money constraint issue but in all honesty it really doesn't matter why. That's especially true if you're using these 5 incredible tricks.
1. What Are You Wearing
A professional headshot photographer will always help you to understand what to wear. If you're creating your own headshot from a selfie then you've got to pick out the perfect outfit. How do you do that?
Dress For The Job You Want
You may have heard the trope, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Like a lot of other cringe things on LinkedIn you'll find this one fits right in. If you're trying to land a professional job then dress professionally. If you're in a creative field then feel free to mix it up a bit.
Spend some time looking in the mirror to make sure it looks good. Because nobody else is there to help you it's important to look over yourself closely. Additionally, you want to try to move your arms around a bit to make sure you can settle your outfit back down without looking at it every time you move.
2. The Right Tool For The Job
The camera you use matters, you've got to have the right tool for the job. Your front facing camera lets you see yourself. That's nice but the camera isn't that great. The best camera on your phone is the one on the back. If you have more than one lens on the back use the "normal" one. This is the lens with 1x magnification.
Use A Tripod
If you don't have anyone else to take the photo you've got to use a tripod. The only other option is to find a tall bookshelf or something where you can place your camera so that it's perfectly flat facing you. You don't want the camera pointing up at you. That results in Zoom face, nobody wants zoom face.
Zoom face is the way your laptop camera makes you look when you're on a video chat with the computer on your lap and you looking down at it. Again, nobody wants zoom face so use a tripod.
Get Yourself In The Frame
With your camera turned around you may be wondering how to get yourself in the frame. The best way to do this is to place a mark on the floor in the right place to stand. If you've got a tall lamp or something else that can stand in for you try aiming your camera at that. Then mark where it was on the floor and move it before taking the photo.
Also, don't stand against a wall. You want a fair amount of space between you and the background. Try to place yourself a little more than arms length away from the camera and at least that same amount of room between you and the background (double it if possible).
Use Voice Command
Some Android phones will take your photo when you shout "cheese" at it thanks to voice command. You can set up your iPhone to allow you to take a photo by saying, "Hey Siri, turn the volume up." but you may have to mess with it to get it to work.
3. Find A Fitting Background
Finding a fitting background can be difficult. You want something neutral without distracting shapes, lines, etc. A nice texture can work. Just make sure not to rely on the iPhone's portrait mode to blur everything out. It's better to find the right place than to leave it up to Siri.
White is the background color for passports. It can work for some professional headshots but if you can find a nice gray or light colored wall that's your spot. Avoid dark walls and please don't use a brick wall. The lines are distracting and honestly it's been done to death. This means that people are really sick of seeing it.
Like I said, this can be one really difficult bit. However, read the next trick about light to find out if you've truly found your place or if you need to start over.
4. Light Is Everything
Light is everything in photography. When it comes to your headshot you want to light yourself appropriately. What does that mean? Well for starters you want mostly soft flattering light. That means light that isn't putting dark circles under your eyes or making your forehead look bright and shiny.
Find Your Light
Finding your light might be the most challenging part of using a selfie as your headshot. However, it's also the most important. You don't want to use flash unless you're a professional photographer and understand it. You want light that is bright and strong but that won't cast really defined shadows.
Cloudy Days Work Best
Squinting into the sun doesn't make for a great image which is why cloudy days work best. If you can take your headshot outside, an overcast sky will give you nice light. If you can't wait for the clouds try standing in a sunny window but cover the window with a shear or white sheet.
Look For Your Shadow
Look for your shadow and if you can see it don't take your photo there. A hard defined shadow means harsh light. You don't want that. Read more about looking for shadows on my post about Punxsutawney Phil's photography skills. If you've got a light bit of shadow that's probably okay. It can help define your chin more and give you a flattering shadow under your nose. Just remember, that your shadow knows not to take your photo there.
The Ideal Light
The ideal light is hard to pull off yourself. However, if you can have a bit more shadow falling on one side of your face that will look best. Additionally, if you can outline yourself with a bit of light striking just the back of your head and shoulder on that dark side you'll really make your selfie headshot look amazing.
Read about the differences between branding photos and headshots.
5. Don't Give Me That Look
Just as with your clothing you want to check your look carefully in the mirror. Don't expect to nail it each time and do expect a wild amount of attempts. The most important thing is to look confident. That usually means a little smile and having your face level to the camera.
Some people will point their chin up at the camera. Others will point their forehead at it. It's important to keep your face level towards the camera. A chin forward approach can make it appear like you're looking down on the person viewing it. Additionally, a forehead forward posture can make you appear aggressive.
Face forward towards the camera. Looking from the side can make you seem either shy or up to no good. Neither of these is a great sensation to leave people with when they're viewing your headshot. Feel free to experiment with where you face your face but if you can't quite get it right then it may be time to call in a pro.
When To Hire A Professional Headshot Photographer
If you just can't get your selfie headshot to work consider hiring a professional headshot photographer. Your headshot can be the difference between landing a job and not or being taken seriously or being laughed at. If you've got the time and money it's always a good idea to hire a professional headshot photographer.
Pittsburgh professional headshots
If you're in Pittsburgh and are looking to hire a professional headshot photographer have a look at my work. I'm also an accomplished event photographer and I teach photography classes in Pittsburgh and virtually. If you've enjoyed this article please view more on my blog and sign up for my mailing list for a monthly newsletter full of great advice.
Improve Your Selfies
Want to know how to improve your selfies even more? Check out my article on how to create breathtaking selfies.
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