So you need a headshot for your LinkedIn profile but don’t want to spring for a professional headshot. Even though we’d prefer you go with a professional, we understand that there are many reasons why someone would opt to do it themselves. That being said, we’ll provide you with tips on how to take the best DIY headshot possible.
The quality of the light illuminating your face is the most important factor when it comes to a headshot. DIY or otherwise. For the best results, we recommend turning off any artificial lights and finding a large window with diffused light coming through it. The larger and softer the light source, the more flattering the lighting. If you have translucent shades, putting them down is a great way to diffuse (soften) the window light. Be careful to avoid direct sunlight and shadows being cast on the wall behind you. The key is to have a solid colored background in order to minimize distractions and keep the focus on you.
We recommend centering yourself in the frame and placing your phone at your eye level. This is important because if you shoot at a low angle, you run the risk of showing off your nose hairs and double chins. On the other hand, shooting from a high angle makes you look small and powerless. You also want to make sure that both shoulders and a little bit of your torso are visible. Lastly, make sure you place your phone within reach in order to make the process of setting the timer and getting back into position easier.
This is the part people struggle with the most. Positioning your body doesn’t have to be hard. It just takes being mindful of three things.
- Posture- standing tall with shoulders back
- Body angle- pointing your shoulders in either direction for visual interest
- Head angle- tilting your head a few different ways so you look more engaged
Our faces are powerful emotion-conveying machines. The subtlest change in facial expression can communicate a completely different message. You want to accomplish two things when it comes to your facial expression. Look confident and approachable. In our experience confidence comes from your eyes while approachability comes from your mouth. Now, this may sound weird at first, but once you practice using the following tips you’ll understand what we mean.
Confidence: To achieve a confident look, we recommend decreasing the distance between your upper and lower eyelid, also known as a squinch
Approachability: We want to avoid a flat-looking smile or a forced one. People can tell when there’s some tension behind a smile. The trick for a natural and approachable look is a gentle smile or smirk.
Although doing both of these things will feel awkward, When you combine them, you’ll be surprised at how good you’ll look.
Give both of these tips a go and try to add some variety with the expressions as you take your own headshot. Take multiple pictures as you vary your expression to give you plenty of options to choose from later on.
For men, an unbuttoned dress shirt under a jacket is a classic look that you can’t go wrong with. If you’ll be wearing a tie make sure that you choose a knot that works well with your collar type and that there’s no gap between the knot and collar.
For women, jewel tones usually photograph especially well since they complement most skin tones. If you are wearing jewelry we suggest keeping it as minimal as possible. Less is more.
For more clothing recommendations, check out our blog post about what to wear to your headshot session.
Choosing a Winner
So you’ve put in the work and now have plenty of photos to look through. Now it’s time to go through and pick some favorites. Take your time going through the photos and try to narrow it down to about five photos. Go with your instinct and focus on expressions that look natural. You want to look friendly and competent in the images you choose.
After you’ve selected a handful of photos, it’s time to get even more selective. There are two approaches you can take here.
The first involves asking friends, family, and coworkers their opinions to help you make a final decision. This option is good if you’re looking for quick feedback, but it does have a downside. The people in your life most likely won’t be able to stay objective which makes their opinions a little less reliable.
The second option calls on the general public to weigh in. Using the Photo Feeler website, your photo will get voted on by strangers based on how competent, likable, and influential you look in your headshot. Now it may feel uncomfortable having strangers vote on your photo, but we recommend it because it closely mimics the way other will perceive you once you update your profile with the new headshot.
Ok, now that you’ve found the best image, it’s time for some editing. You want to keep your changes minimal.
We recommend correcting the exposure if the image is too dark or too bright. This can be done using your smartphone’s built-in photo editing capabilities. Another change you should make is fixing the image’s white balance. A good way to decide if you need to make this change is to see if your skin or the overall image looks too yellow or blue. If it’s orange you should slide the color temperature or white balance slider to the left and vice versa.
Lastly, it’s time to crop.
You’re going to want to crop the image into a square (600×600 specifically) to prevent LinkedIn from compressing your image. Don’t be afraid to crop tight, even if that means slightly cutting off the top of your head. This brings the focus to your eyes, which helps build trust with your audience.
There you have it! You just got yourself a shiny new headshot. We bet you didn’t think you had it in you, but we knew you did. Now go ahead and update your LinkedIn profile and wait for the compliments to roll in
If you followed our recommendations on taking your own headshot but aren’t happy with the result, we’ve got you covered. At Omaha Headshot Company we’re all about making you look better than your competition.
Schedule your session with us today and allow us to take care of the details.