Lemme See You Selfie! Smartphone Head-shots 101

As a stay/work at home mom, I rarely have time to put on anything besides yoga pants and a t-shirt (which TBH, is what I also slept in) much less get gussied up, make an appointment with a photographer, and get a decent professional head-shot made.  Most photographers don’t offer childcare while you shoot last I checked and if you’re just starting out in a business, or just need a quick image for a website you probably don’t want to shell out the big bucks for a sitter and your picture.

When you can, however, I highly recommend paying an experienced professional photographer to take some high quality head-shots for you.  It is absolutely essential for your website or business marketing materials once you get established.  You definitely get what you pay for.

BUT – for beginning business people or if you’re just wanting a good selfie – here’s a few DIY tips for a fairly decent in-a-pinch-all-I-have-is-my-phone-head-shots.  So give your hair a toss, throw on some extra mascara and lip gloss and get ready for your close up. I have also included many many “What-not-to-do” images for your viewing enjoyment.

  1. Lighting –
    1. Face the light.  Go iiiiiinnnto the liiiiiiight.  If the light is behind you, you will be dark, like a silhouette.  Go into the light my friend. (oh what lovely trees behind me, but who is that shadowy figure?)simple-headshot-tips05
    2. Watch for shadows. Try to find a place in your home with good even light.  Outside under the porch on a sunny day is good.  You want even, open, shaded light. (notice my half-shaded face here….not good.)simple-headshot-tips10
    3.  Everything in moderation – too little or too much light is not good either.  If parts of your face are SUUUUUPER bright, move somewhere else and try again. (see below….NOPE!)simple-headshot-tips12
  2. Composition
    1. It’s a headshot.  Meaning HEAD-SHOT.  Head, shoulders, and a little room around both for cropping.  ( So almost full body seascape shot…nooooope.)simple-headshot-tips13
    2. People need to see and recognize your face.  So ditch the hats, sunglasses and sombreros.  Just keep it to you and your pretty mug!  (Just say no to outrageous accessories.)simple-headshot-tips07
    3.  Speaking of your face – your image should be of JUST YOU!  If you’re part of a team, for example you are a Young Living Rep (like me!), or It Works! or Thrive or Younique and you’re part of a team, odds are you’ll be asked for a head-shot for something at some point in time.  Don’t send an image of yourself with your best buds or your husband or your kids.  Send just an image of yourself.  They want YOU!  Give the people what they want. (Sure, these are my best friends, but they don’t belong in my head-shot.)simple-headshot-tips09
    4. Face your camera at an angle (slight angle, like 45 degrees) and shoot from slightly above. This is generally a flattering view for most people.  No duck faces, or peace signs, just you and your pretty smile. And no weird angles!  Just a normal horizontal or vertical image, ladies! (what is happening here?  Am I falling?)simple-headshot-tips03(ummm…..no.)simple-headshot-tips14
  3. Background
    1.  That paisley print shower curtain sure is pretty, but please, do NOT use that as your background.  Find a SOLID uncluttered wall or background for your image.  Not your kitchen, not your most favorite wall with the 75 framed pictures of your beautiful children, and for heaven’s sake – NOT your bathroom!  Just a single colored or simply textured wall.  Everything else is a distraction.  Step out from the background if you can so you are the focal point and the background is just a secondary thought.  (Bedroom dresser clutter? No thank you.)simple-headshot-tips06(nuh-uh)simple-headshot-tips04(What?  NO!  Ew…. and yes, the kids bathroom in our house does in fact have comic strip wallpaper.)simple-headshot-tips08
    2. Do not have anything blocking your face in your image.  If you’re self conscious and like to hide behind things, you need to put on your brave pants and your cardigan of courage and GET IT DONE, girlfriend.  simple-headshot-tips02

Just stick with these simple tips and you can always be able to capture a solid, recognizable self portrait!


If you happen to have a “fancy” camera, you can really get some great head-shots! More on that another time…


Got some What-Not-to-Selfie outtakes?  I’d love to laugh at with you!


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