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A Headshot but not as you know it!

Professional headshots are pretty much out of the question at the moment with the social distancing requirements in place but there is a way around it! Not only can we help you touch up images you've taken yourself but we can also give you a few tips on how to take a better headshot in the comfort of your own home.

As I have mentioned on several occasions over the last few months having a professional headshot for your website and social media pages is hugely important. Of course in a perfect world, anyone reading this that wants or needs a new headshot would call me or one of my fellow photographers and get the job done. Sadly with all the restrictions in place at the moment and even factoring in the relaxing of those rules, social distancing will still be in place for a while and that'll make professional headshots in confined spaces that little bit more difficult so what can we do in the meantime? 

What I'm about to tell you is no trade secret and it is certainly no substitute for a professionally taken headshot but this is where your own mobile phone can come into its own. I'm keen to emphasise that this is a temporary measure until you can get a professional image taken but if you grab a 'selfie' on your phone you can send it to me and I'll do what I can to produce an image as close as possible to what could be achieved in a professional studio.


I'll cover the tips on how to get the best possible image on your phone further down the page but for now consider what can be achieved by sending us your selfie. If you consider the image I took above. It was taken outside, in front of a pebble dashed wall on my Samsung S9+, not a bad camera at all. Certainly, the image isn't going to grace the front page of Vogue anytime soon but it's not a bad effort at a selfie. I have uploaded the image into photoshop and the first thing I've done is crop the image so its square which fits the profile of most social media sites. 

The rest of the editing followed the following steps...

Select the subject (in this case, me) using a few techniques, I've tidied up the selection and pasted onto a white background

I have then changed the colour of the shirt

I have brighten my eyes a bit

I have lightened and softened my skin tones

I have removed some unflattering crows feet around the eyes

I have also, ahem, thinned the face, removing some of the several chins

The end result can be seen below which, whilst far from perfect is not a bad effort considering the original image was taken on the phone. I have also tried it on a grey background which some people prefer. 


Absolutely, why not? I'm going to give you a few tips now on how to get the best out of your phone so the image you send to me is as good as it can be. From there we can do what we can in post production to give you an image that you can use until such time as you can a professional shot taken. 


The first and most important thing of all is light. If at all possible try and shoot outside. Mobile Phones are not good dealing with artificial light so its natural light all the way....and most definitely don't use the flash! Don't be fooled into thinking you need a sunny day for it either. The sun produces what we refer to as very hard light and creates very unflattering shadows. It also means that either you'll be squinting looking into the light or the exposure of you will be too dark, silhouette like, if you take a selfie with the sun behind you. It might surprise you to know that bright but cloudy days are the best lighting conditions for taking a selfie. The clouds act like a big diffuser, similar to those big softboxes you see in photographic studio and it creates nice soft light which makes for a much better shot. 


The outfit you wear really depends on what image you're trying to convey. If you're an accountant, solicitor or a professional in an office of some description then you probably want to wear something low key, smart but neutral in colour. try to avoid stripes or garish colours. You may, on the other hand want to show off more of your personality by wearing something 'louder'....perhaps what I was thinking when I took my own image above...either way be yourself.


Whatever you decide to wear try and make sure you choose a location that has a blank wall, preferably, a colour that contrasts with the outfit you have on. It's much easier to make the selection in photoshop if you stand out against the background.  


The advantage of shooting these images yourself means you can click away till your hearts content and keep trying different poses until you get the one you want. In general however, most profile images, certainly those you see on LinkedIn, will have you stand in a particular way. That is, you stand at a 90° angle to the camera, but look directly at at, of course so you're twisting your upper body slightly. I try and get clients to fold their arms for most Headshots. This isn't essential mind. You could try your hands in your pockets, you won't see them in your pockets but sometimes that helps relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath too. Again this is one technique I try on my clients as they relax more in front of the camera. Of course, as you are shooting yourselves so really shouldn't be nervous!! 

These are just a few tips to get you started. I would try to avoid being too creative in camera...and NEVER ever use the in camera filters. They work great for social media but not for a professional headshot. 

So over to you guys. Try it out, take a selfie, send it over to us let's see what we can do for you. 

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