How To Take A Headshot At Home, How To Take Professional Headshots With An Iphone, Andoird; DIY Headshot, Selfie Headshots

Thanks to work-from-home, change in appearance since pre-covid and a need to solidify identity online via Linkedin, Slack channels and personal websites, people are looking for ways to obtain new headshots.

Headshots are expensive (as they should be) as they are an investment and something recruiters look at when looking up applicants. Some positions put more weight on appearance, approachability and first impressions than others but one can’t deny that a bad headshot can hurt your chances for a job offer.

Below are some tips to help navigate how to take your own headshot at home, with a phone.

Do You Need A Photographer For Headshots? Do I Need A Professional Headshot?

No but consider the fact that many photographers hire other photographers for their own headshot. Taking your own headshot is a lot of work and in many cases, time wasted exceeds costs of hiring someone else. A great photographer provides more than just a great photo, they assist with wardrobe, positioning and angles.

Depending on your industry, age and long-term goals, you may not need a professional headshot but for those that are thinking of career growth, want to get an advantage or want to improve visibility, a professional headshot can certainly be helpful.

Best Phones For Headshots, Headshot Apps? What Phone Do I Need To Take A Headshot?

To take your own headshot, you will need a tripod, camera phone (Iphone 7 and above or Pixel 3 and above or similar phone), big windows, indirect light and a good background behind you. Of course, a good dslr or mirrorless camera can work too (use 85-135mm lens for optimal performance)

This will allow photos in a pinch but are generally not professional if you care about your brand or your image. This is mostly for ID badges, temporary headshot for company website or something casual like that.

You will need the tripod to take the photo at eye level or slightly above but also to frame your photo effectively. You will need to use a timer but if you can’t get someone to take the photo for you.

Professional Photos, Professional Headshots, Men, Women, San Francisco Bay Area, Headshots San Francisco

How To Take A Headshot At Home? How To Take A Professional Headshot With A Phone

You will need to use a room with lots of windows (natural light) and face said windows about 3-7 feet or more away depending on set up. Using a timer is necessary because you will need to use the rear-facing camera (higher quality). Framing should be consistent with above images for a rough idea. Make sure to clean your lens. 

You will need to be about 3-5 feet away from the camera. Any closer than that and the photos will come out distorted (wider than what you appear in person). If you take photos further away than that, then the photos will need to be cropped and can be too small when adjusted.

Typically, you want to avoid zoom as much as possible (if possible at all) because the more you zoom, the lower the resolution the image will be.

Photos should be taken 60-90 minutes after sunrise or before sunset if indoors otherwise within that timeframe if outdoors in the shade, with indirect light (overcast days, fog and clouds are good for soft diffused lighting).

How To Take Your Own Headshot For Work, A Job, DIY Headshots On Your Phone

Regardless of indoor or outdoor setting, you will need to rotate to see which angle provides the least shadows but also avoid direct harsh lighting and avoid reflections, glare or uneven lighting from small windows, additional lighting sources or plants or similar items blocking the light from the windows.

A ring light with adjustable dimmer can be helpful to aid with lighting as well in which cases the phone should be in the middle of the right light. For a slightly more flattering angle, pointing the camera slightly toward you (top back of the camera 5-10 degrees max).

You don’t want to do more than that as the angles will be distorted (top of your head/face wider than the bottom).

Please note that taking your own headshot is only recommended if you have no other option, are patient, and don’t need any editing, posing, wardrobe help. Most people lack the ability to use good judgment, are biased about their looks and don’t know what is the best combination of setup and factors to get the shot they need.

Similarly, use the above methods may not be enough for your company’s requirements, size, resolution, cropping, background etc. Using portrait mode can be a bit overkill as areas around the head and shoulders can become blurred which is not an ideal look.

Can A Headshot Be A Selfie? Can I Take My Own Headshot At Home?

It’s possible but most selfies are amateur in nature, too grainy or are not composed correctly. It helps to take photos using the back camera (better quality) and extending arms (shorts are don’t provide distance needed to get flattering poses).


Do I Need To Look At The Camera For A Headshot?

Most people do, but some don’t. Those that look away can be viewed as narcissists, insecure or hiding something. In few cases is looking away from the camera in a headshot recommended.


About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a professional photographer in SF w/ clients internationally. He balances approachability & professionalism, focusing on wardrobes, appearance, location scouting.