Strike A Pose: 5 Tips For Taking Your Own Professional Headshots

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Apr. 25 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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A professional headshot can help you stand out from other candidates. Taking a professional headshot yourself can save you money and give you the space to show your best side. By taking your own headshots, you can take your time to prepare so you get the best photos possible.

Headshots are an opportunity to show your personality and present yourself as your most confident and comfortable self. If you’re ready to embark on the journey on your own, we’ve got you covered. Here are five tips for taking your own professional headshots.

1. Spend some time researching.

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Source: Unsplash

Think about what you want your headshots to say about you. Take a look at headshots of some of your favorite professionals in specific industries. Here are some questions you can use to assess photos:

1. What facial expressions do they use?

2. Are their photos from the shoulders up, or do they include more of their body?

3. What kind of clothes do they wear?

4. What kind of poses are they in?

5. Are their photos shot straight on, or from an angle above or below?

Researching photos of people can give you a style direction. Take what you find and try out various approaches to see what combination sends the message you want to convey.

2. Explore locations.

Take the pressure off of your photoshoot day by taking practice shots in locations where you think you’ll shine. Sometimes, a selfie stick can work if you have a steady hand. A tripod is preferable to getting a better range of shots when taking a professional headshot yourself.

Keep lighting in mind if you’re shooting in your home or some other inside setting. Natural light may be available, and you can also experiment with overhead lighting, lamps, and ring lights to get the best lighting for your photos.

Again, if you plan to shoot outside, consider when the lighting is best during the day and check the weather forecast.

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3. Get the frame ready.

You can also practice poses and facial expressions when exploring locations and taking test shots. This helps you showcase your best side and understand how to angle your face and body to take photos you’ll love.

4. Prepare yourself.

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Source: Unsplash

Of course, you’ll want to look your best for your big day. Choose outfits and a makeup style that compliments your features. Also, make sure you sleep well, are hydrated, and unhurried so you can take your time and exude that centered, grounded side of yourself.

To bring out your best, put on a playlist of music you love as you prepare and during your shoot.

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5. Leave room for spontaneity.

You know the saying, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” If you’re keyed too hard into things going exactly as you planned, you could miss out on the magic of the moment. Sometimes, our most memorable experiences are unplanned.

If you were present and tuned in, you could access a profile-worthy location or pose. Make sure to leave room for that; as you go with the flow, that ease will show up in your photos.

Create a brilliant setup, take a deep breath, and let your photoshoot unfold as needed. Taking a professional headshot yourself can open doors for connections and leave memorable impressions for when that next project launches. Taking your own photos is also an avenue to explore creativity and spend time pouring into yourself. The outcome is you’ll have new headshots you’ll want to update every profile with.

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By: Wanda Duncan

Wanda Duncan is a multipotentialite entrepreneur and travel and wellness writer. She’s slow traveled since 2010 through Europe, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa and Central America. Find her work in Fodor’s Travel, HerAgenda, and WeTravel. Wanda is the founder of Black Women Travel and won the Women in Travel Summit 2023 Bessie Awards Social Impact Award and was nominated for the 2021 Trailblazer Award. Connect with Wanda through her website

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