How to Take a Good Headshot Like a Pro – Step by Step Instructions

Forget about hiring a professional photographer to take your headshots. You can do it yourself. You can do it yourself at home using your own tools and supplies. To become a professional headshot photographer, all you need to learn is how to take a good photo of yourself. No specialized equipment or huge studio space is required for this project.

You will benefit greatly from this guide whether you are taking headshots of other individuals to use in your own portfolio, or if you are new to professional photography and have never taken a headshot before. We’ll show you how to take a good headshot by utilizing some professional suggestions, such as how to use lighting to your advantage, how to dress, and what instruments you’ll need to complete the task.

The Most Appropriate Equipment for Headshots

A few easy and inexpensive pieces of equipment will allow you to snap a professional-looking headshot on your own. But don’t be concerned, it’s not a lot. The majority of your concerns should be about having enough light and a solid tripod to work with.

You’ll need a dependable reflector for lighting purposes. This is a tool that will allow for the creation of additional light. You must direct the light where it is needed in order to effectively highlight the face. You may quickly and inexpensively set up a low-cost reflector out of the way of the camera. It is possible to give someone’s face an incredible glow while also giving them twinkles in their eyes by using a reflector on them.

You’ll require a remote control. This will allow you to take the shot without having to physically touch the camera itself. With a remote, you don’t have to physically touch the camera when you’re taking the shot, which is important whether you’re using a smartphone or a professional DSLR camera.

It is this that brings us to the use of a tripod. A tripod is required because you will not be touching the camera during the shoot. This will ensure that your images are not blurry. In order to get a photograph of your subject at eye level, make sure that your tripod is tall enough to accommodate this.

Always make sure you have enough batteries and memory cards so that your day of photography doesn’t come to an end because you ran out of space on your memory card or because your camera died!

What To Wear For Headshots

Each and every one of the model’s headshots has something to do with his or her face. However, while being naked is not recommended, you’ll want the subject to be dressed in simple, neutral clothes that don’t draw attention away from their face. A grey shirt, a plain button-up, a dark turtleneck – anything that isn’t too loud or distracting would suffice for this occasion. There will be no vivid colors. Everything should appear to be in its natural state. Avoid using distracting patterns or bright colors that pull the viewer’s attention away from the face.

Additionally, it’s crucial not to wear anything distracting, such as sunglasses or other accessories, and when it comes to makeup, keep it simple and natural-looking.

The Best Location For Headshots

Headshots can be taken indoors in a makeshift studio or outside in the fresh air and sunshine. You can take headshots almost anyplace as long as it is sufficient natural light available. It is important to note that there is a significant distinction between headshots and typical portrait photographs in that you do not want any background to stand out or dominate the photograph. Whatever is in the background should be subordinate to the person’s face and should be complementary to it.

To be completely honest, the background can consist of anything. At the beach, in front of a structure, by a plain wooden fence, or at home in front of a white wall are all good places to take photos. The bokeh effect will be used to bring the subject’s face into focus while blurring the backdrop, so as long as the colors don’t clash and there isn’t too much business going on in the background, you should be fine.

When photographing outside, it is best to take pictures in the shadow. Yes, you want the most natural light possible, but the shade will ensure that the subject’s face receives an even quantity of light. Direct sunlight should never be used to take a headshot since it will oversaturate the image and make the subject appear unapproachable. Make an effort to use as little color as possible in the background. Additionally, make certain that whatever color you choose complements the attire your person is wearing.

The Right Pose For A Headshot 

When it comes to acquiring the best headshots, having the appropriate stance and the right emotion are essential. Keep in mind that headshots are intended to portray a person as a professional. It is not about exhibiting someone in a way that makes them professionally desirable; rather, it is about displaying someone in a way that makes them professionally desirable.

Maintain constant eye level with the camera. This is critically crucial. A traditional portrait feeling is desired, and this can only be achieved by capturing the photograph at eye level…. Angles that are too low or too high are quite unattractive. Furthermore, it is not about originality. Headshots should be as straightforward as possible.

However, there is one aspect in particular that you want to take advantage of the optimal angle. The best side of everyone can be captured in a headshot by having the person stand slightly sideways in order to show the ideal angle that makes them appear the most photographable. This will also assist the subject in feeling more confident while the shoot is taking place.

The subject should be positioned sideways with their head gently turned so that most – but not all – of their face is visible in order to catch the ideal viewpoint. This method consistently produces the greatest outcomes.

And as for the expression, keep it as simple as possible. A faint smile, a contented expression, a friendly smirk: these are all signs of approachability. Make use of your discretion and experiment with various facial expressions to see which ones make the person feel the most confident and approachable.

When it comes to headshots, laughing is a hit-or-miss proposition. When it comes to conveying approachability, an open-mouthed smile might sometimes be a little too much. It varies from one individual to the next. Usually, the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle of a booming laugh and a sliver of a smile. To get a natural smile that isn’t overly dramatic, have your subject think of something nice while you photograph them. To take it even farther, tell them a joke and see their faces light up as they laugh naturally. It is best not to attempt to fake a chuckle, as phony laughing is immediately detectable and would appear unprofessional in a headshot.

Bringing the camera closer to the subject will result in a more emotional photograph if you’re going for a more serious, in-depth headshot. The closer a person’s face is to the camera, the more intense their facial expressions become. When you want to vary the intensity, you can have them tilt their heads slightly up or slightly down to do so.

For a headshot, you should use the following camera settings

Following your preparations on what to dress, what equipment to bring, and which postures to strike, it’s time to talk about camera parameters. As a photographer, there are several basic camera settings that will assist you in capturing the most spectacular headshots possible.

First and foremost, you should always shoot in manual mode so that you have complete control over variables such as aperture and shutter speed. Automatic mode is capable of producing acceptable results, but you don’t want to take any chances with headshots. These are really significant. If you’re taking photos using your smartphone rather than a camera, you might want to try downloading a manual camera app to assist you in fine-tuning the camera settings.

There are four important configurations to bear in mind. The first is ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Because you’ll be working with a great deal of natural light, you should keep the ISO as low as possible. The lower the ISO setting, the less grainy your images will be, and vice versa.

The second factor to consider is the shutter speed. This should be adjusted at a very high speed. The greater the speed of your shutter, the sharper your images will be. Because you’ll be photographing people’s faces, you’ll want the shutter to open and close rapidly to ensure that the images are as sharp and crisp as possible.

The color temperature should always be left at its default setting of neutral. This is a component of the overall motif for headshots. Everything should be neutral and unadorned with embellishments. Never adjust your color temperature to a temperature that is too chilly or too warm.

Finally, the aperture is the most crucial parameter to remember. You want the subject’s face to be the most prominent feature of the photograph, with the background blurred to emphasize this. You will need a big aperture setting in order for this to work properly. This results in a smaller f-stop, somewhere in the range of f/1.8 to f/2.5.

With a bigger aperture, all of the critical aspects of the subject’s face will be captured, but the background will be blurred to provide a calming impression. The blurrier the backdrop becomes, the narrower the aperture size. It may be necessary to fiddle with the settings a little in order to achieve the desired result, but it is possible.


Taking professional headshots is actually quite straightforward. You’ll need a tripod, plenty of natural light, a plain background, and a little bit of imagination to pull this off. Always remember to have your subject wear in simple clothes that aren’t too busy, to try your best to capture their best aspect, and to always shoot at eye level when photographing someone else.

Always use a large aperture to provide a pleasing blurring effect, make your subject laugh or grin to capture them at their finest, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different positions and expressions. In addition, if you’re using a smartphone to take headshots, make sure to download a manual camera app and link your phone to a tripod to avoid creating wobbly photos.

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