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diy headshots

DIY Headshot

How to take your own headshot


You realize this borders on oxymoron territory don’t you? If you make it, it’s not professional. At best it’s semiprofessional. You might get into advanced amateur territory if you’re lucky. Realistically it’s going to look like a DIY headshot and it might be better than that wedding picture that you cropped your ex out of from 4 years ago. It also might not.  You’ve made the decision to not buy the $100 headshot on Thumbtack.  You have a fear of networking events and business related trade shows that offer free headshots, and you don’t have any friends. You need to DIY this headshot. You can check out my actor headshot and corporate headshot prices using these links. 


Do you have a selfie stick? Throw that thing away, 2015 is over and it’s not going to be used for this. Your iPhone has a 4mm lens on it. With it’s teeny tiny sensor that’s about a 30mm equivalent. That’s tech jargon for way to damn wide to be used as a headshot lens. It’s great for landscape, maybe a full body portrait, but it’s going to distort the hell out of your face if used up close. Go grab your point and shoot. If it was made within the last few years it’s probably got an app that will let you fire it remotely. Now put the camera on a tripod. Oh wait, you’re not a professional photographer so you don’t own a tripod. I forgot, this is a DIY headshot. Start stacking books on top of table until you get to somewhere around your chin. That’s where the camera goes.


The sun makes for a great light source. You know that room you have in your house, that light pours into and you see awesome shadows on the floor. That’s the room you want to be in, but you have to wait until the shadows go away. Keep watching for a few days to figure out the right time of day to do this. When the shadows are gone, it’s time to shoot your DIY headshot. Point the camera away from the window while you face the window.


Hopefully you figured out the app situation for your camera.  If your camera has bluetooth you might be able to grab a cheap Bluetooth trigger off of Amazon which would be even better.  Now start to zoom the lens forward. Unless you’re using some kind of superzoom camera you’re probably going to want to have the camera zoomed all the way in. This will create compression and maybe even a little bit of depth of field. The compression will distort your face in a flattering way and the depth of field can sometimes take distracting elements out of the background and make them blurry and unrecognizable.  Some people refer to this as a cinematic headshot. I think those people are dumb. Once you have the zoom extended, position yourself in the frame. That means that you should back up until you get the crop you’re looking for. Now start coaching yourself to make sure that you look confident and approachable. I’m going to stop here because hopefully now you’ve realized how dumb of an idea this was. Even if you knew what you were doing, a DIY headshot isn’t going to cut it. I’m a professional headshot photographer and I hired Peter Hurley to shoot my headshot. You’re trying to craft a narrative around your personal brand not post a selfie to Instagram. You can email me at info at 312 elements dot com and we can schedule your professional headshot session. Check out my professional headshot tips so that you’re prepared to rock my camera.