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How to Take Professional Headshots Using Your Smartphone or iPhone?

By the end of this article, you will be able to easily shoot your professional headshots with an iPhone or smartphone without any professional lighting. 

A smiling woman in an office posing for a professional photoshoot
A smiling woman in an office posing for a professional photoshoot

People have become fashion influencers overnight, and businesses have become successful by creating communities on their phones. Yes, they have achieved all this by just using their smartphones. So, in the times when so much can be done with just smartphones, then why not a DIY Professional Headshot? 

Also, in today’s digital era when everything is remote and digital, professional headshots can be shot easily in a remote setup by you only. You can definitely take another person’s help but you can manage most of the things on your own.

Are you wondering about questions like this? How will the setup work? Or how to place the camera? Don’t worry; this article is the answer to all such questions. By the end of this article, you will be able to easily shoot your professional headshots with an iPhone or smartphone without any professional lighting. 

Don’t worry, this guide has it all! We would not leave any stone unturned to get you a professional headshot.

So, let’s do this together! 

4 Easy Steps for Shooting With Your Phone 

Step-1 Hire a smartphone 'photographer' or Get Some Help

A guy holding a smartphone as a photographer

We all know that those fancy iPhone cameras are not just a gimmick. It's true, that your iPhone can take great pictures and has all the photography techniques. In case you don't have a good hand over the camera, just get someone else to do that for you.

You can either hire someone or just ask any family member or a friend who has a good eye to help you out with your DIY professional headshot session. If you want to hire someone, you can definitely find them easily through any social media. 

If you don't have an iPhone or a smartphone, you can borrow it from a friend or family member. These days, the iPhone has become quite common. Well, we all know they are considered a status symbol. So, if you don’t have one you can definitely borrow it or use any other smartphone. 

If you are someone who knows the nuances of photography, then just go with the selfie mode, place the front camera at a wide angle, and place the camera correctly with respect to your shoulder. 

Some key points to be considered if you are going for a selfie headshot:

Take a 100% selfie headshot with whichever phone you are going with, iPhone or smartphone. 

  • Just have an eye on your hair and shoulders. Don’t end up missing them in the frame. 

  • Take care that you don't disturb the settings of your phone while adjusting anything. 

  • Avoid zooming in the photo; the lens of the camera should be at a normal level and the rest can be adjusted. 

  • Take pictures from eye level height and tilt the camera accordingly. 

Step-2 Focus on Looks, Looks, and Looks

Choosing the Right Outfit:

A woman smiling wide wearing red posing for a professional headshot

Your outfit has to be in the right colours and should fit you perfectly. You must wear formal attire or something that meets your industry standards. If you are confused, you can always go with the classics. Just pair that formal neutral-coloured shirt with your black or blue trousers/skirts and you are good to go. Just make sure that your clothes are neat and wrinkled. Also, your collars should be crisp and well-positioned. 

Steer clear of big patterns, logos, or flashy colors. Don't wear anything baggy like loose shorts or hoodies. To make a good online presence, you must present yourself correctly. Wear good and decent colors, nothing gaudy or too bright. Choose a color that suits you and goes well with the background. Understand your skin tone and choose the colours of your outfits as per color psychology to give a good impression.

We have detailed articles on what you should wear for your professional headshots and how you can choose the right colours for your fit. 

Having that Perfect Hairstyle:

People often take their hair very casually, but perhaps they are the most prominent part of a person’s looks. You should avoid haircuts that don't go with your face or look fluffy. Style your hair as per what looks good on you. If you have messy hair, style it into a sleek bun. If you have stray hair, sprinkle some water or use a little hair spray. 

Since this is a DIY photoshoot, every little detail has to be taken care of. Don't bring all your hair to the front. At least 25 % of your chest should be visible, and the hair should rest sideways. The photo looks more neat and presentable when the hair is well tied or rests at the back or sideways.

Going for a Simple Makeup:

Avoid putting on too much makeup. Go for simple makeup or choose a “No Makeup Look” that is usually done for a business meeting. Don't overdo anything. Don't use too much foundation or powder to hide your acne or blemishes, as that can be edited later. Because of the light, the area of your face where you will apply excess highlighter or foundation might look uneven. Any marks or excess makeup appear to shine differently. This will throw off your entire appearance. 

Opting for Minimal Jewelry:

A woman in minimal jewellery posing for a headshot

Less is always more when going for a professional headshot. So, the jewelry and accessories that you are choosing should be basic, simple, and elegant. 

You can go with a decent watch, elegant ear studs and maybe a minimal ring. Don’t overdo anything because it will ruin your headshot and won’t give out that professional look that you are seeking.

Choosing the Right Glasses:

Of course, glasses do elevate the look and make one appear more mature. But, try to avoid wearing glasses with reflectors or glare they will flash the lights around while capturing your professional headshots. 

Showing Some Love to Your Skin:

We all have different skin and thus, all of us have our own ways of grooming. If you have oily skin, use a dry towel or paper tissues and pat the area dry around your nose, cheeks, or where you feel oily. This is important because, in headshot pictures, these areas shine differently. Though edits can be made, the picture looks great with the original version. Moreover, if you have dry skin then, moisturize it well before taking the headshots so that your face doesn’t look all dried up. 

Step-3 Lights>Camera>Action

Background and Lighting:

Your work environment makes the best professional headshot background

Natural sunlight is considered the ideal light while clicking pictures. It gives you that goldish glow because it has some scattering effect or diffused light. But that doesn't mean you will take the picture with the sunlight directly hitting your face. All of this looks superb for fun on social media but not for professional headshots. 

Just choose a spot where decent light is hitting the surface and stand there facing it sideways or in a way that you are neither completely blacked out nor having the social media favorite, “Your Sun-kissed Moment”. So, if the light is hitting you directly, then you have to back away a little. If it still looks sun-kissed or sun-throbbed, then just wait for the right time, i.e., let the sunlight fade away a little into the evening glow.  

As this is a professional headshot picture, try to have a light balance in your photographs. If there is too much artificial lighting, it can make your skin look yellow. Having a proper color balance in the picture is a must. Also, you can use the Gen-Z favorite, “Ring Light” but then turn off the other indoor lights. 

The shadows should be minimal, and there should be a slight light all over the portion visible in the camera frame. Take multiple pictures in different variations of light to know which spot and setting is the best. 

Keep a note of this: Yes, there should not be a direct sun glare on your face, but don't stand too far from the window. If the indoors feel too dark or there isn't much light, find a spot outdoors. But yes, with a little shade, at least. 

Also, there is another important thing to be done before clicking your picture outdoors. Adjust the image or how you stand in front of the camera in such a way that the background doesn’t look cluttered. And the background should contrast with your outfit and hair. 

Camera Settings and Angle:

A woman posing at a comfortable angle for a professional headshot

When you are shooting from your phone, don't do it in portrait mode or some other mode. Just do it from the normal mode with regular settings first to see the raw results.

Make sure that the camera lens is clean to avoid blurry and cloudy pictures. Sometimes, dirt can accumulate on the camera lens, so gently wipe it off with a lens cleaner. This way, you can get some great images with better quality for your professional headshots.

Use a soft cloth, and don't scratch the lens. 

Some things to be considered before starting with your DIY headshot session are: 

  • Correct Framing: Leave a good editable space around the sides of your photos and also some space above the top of your head. It is important to have margins as they help in the time of getting the picture edited for several different formats. You see, you can crop the space but not add some. Also, keep a note of the fact that this is the headshot, so just take your torso in the frame and no further. Also, just to have more background space, don't click it from too far. 

  • Phone Height: Using a tripod or any other technique can be really helpful to get some great shots. This will help you in keeping the height of the camera at eye proximity level. If a higher table is more suitable you can go for that too.  

  • Phone Angle: The camera angle has to be right no matter what. It should be titled a little downwards. But if it's titled too much, it won't capture your expression well. So, don't ticket more than 15 degrees. The camera angle has to be maintained while keeping everything from the background to your expressions in mind. A little change here and there can either make it or break it. 

Expressions and Poses:

A woman posing with a warm approachable expression for a headshot

Express yourself with your smile and confidence. Your expressions make you look more beautiful and confident. Try multiple expressions, some with a smile without teeth and some with your teeth visible. You will know which is more suitable. 

Try to give a natural smile. Think of something good or something that makes you smile. Try at least 30 poses but keep taking a break in between so that you don't look tired. Sometimes, smiling constantly aches your jawline. Even at professional headshot photoshoots, professionals make sure to get the natural smile of the individual. They keep talking in between the shots while asking questions and sharing stories just to get that natural smile. 

Some classic poses to go with are:

Though it's for a professional headshot, you cannot experiment much. There are still some poses that you can try.

  • Straight Pose: Face the camera directly with your shoulders positioned correctly. This timeless position is excellent for projecting assurance and personability.

  • 3/4 Turn Pose: Turn your face towards the camera and slant your body slightly away from it. This position can have a slimming effect and adds dimension.

  • Profile Pose: Show off your best profile by turning your body sideways to face the camera. This position can be especially attractive for side profiles as it brings attention to your features from an unusual perspective.

  • Pose with a smile: Remember to smile! A sincere smile may add instant brightness to your pictures and exude approachability and warmth.

  • Pose with Natural Movement: Use small movements to enhance your poses, such as walking or fiddling with your hair. This gives the picture more life and spontaneity, giving it a more genuine and unguarded appearance.

Yes, you have to strike your best pose to get that great headshot. You also need to understand that to get the best picture, it is the frame that needs to be right. So try multiple frames and angles for one pose first to know what works best for you.

Step-4 Just Choose and Edit That Picture

Selecting the best photo from the collection to edit and use as your headshot image comes next once your headshot shooting is over. This is a critical decision, as your headshot plays a significant role in creating a positive first impression in professional settings.

Choosing the Best Picture:

It's time to choose one excellent, professional headshot from the collection. The following points will help you select your headshot photo:

  • Clarity and Framing: The photo should be clear and well-framed. It should show your personality while making you look confident but friendly.

  • Focus and Angle: Ensure the photo is in focus and taken from a good angle that highlights your features.

  • Posture and Visibility: Your head should be straight, and both your shoulders should be visible in the photo. Check that your shirt’s collar, jewelry, and hair are in place.

  • Lighting: Look for even lighting on your face without any shadows or greenish/yellowish light. Make sure there is no glare on your glasses if you wear them.

  • Pose and Expression: Experiment with different poses and expressions, such as smiling, half-smiling, or not smiling at all, to determine which picture and expression best represent you.

Take your time to review the photos. Sometimes, we are not the best judges of our own photos, so asking friends and family for their thoughts can be helpful in making your decision.

Editing the Selected Picture:

Editing is the part where the real change happens! It can enhance your DIY photo to a professional level, regardless of whether you edit it yourself or with some assistance. 

  • Correcting Lighting and Contrast: Start by correcting the lighting, contrast, and overall quality of the photo to enhance its visual appeal.

  • Adjusting Saturation and Hue: You can play around with the saturation, contrast, and hue to improve the overall look of the photo. However, be careful not to over-edit, as this can make the photo look unnatural.

  • Removing Background Distractions: Use tools like Magic Studio's Background Remover to get rid of distracting elements in the background. This tool can also help you change the background color or add a new backdrop to the photo.

  • Enhancing Natural Appearance: Avoid using excessive filters or effects that alter your natural appearance. The goal is to present yourself authentically in your headshot.

Over to You!

Wow, you made it here. Great dedication!

By the way, there is a secret. You can skip this whole cumbersome process and just head to InstaHeadshots! Yes, it is an AI headshot generator and you won’t believe but it generates professional standard headshots from your random selfies. And that too, in just 60 minutes from the comfort of your home.

In the times when we have applications and software for every other thing, why not for this?

All you have to do is upload some random selfies and wait for the AI to do its thing and generate your professional-looking AI headshots. Instaheadshot has different styles and pricing plans to offer. All you have to do is just select and choose. Just a few clicks, and there you go, 'your classic headshot' is ready.