Create your own business headshot.

Perhaps you have a new member of staff and need a quick photo for the website for now, before getting a professional photographer later when you have more staff that need an updated business headshot.  Or you’re just starting a business and can’t justify the cost of a professional right now.

This is the first of a series of instructions showing you how to get a better business headshot using your phone or compact camera, and doing it in your office.  Here I’ll talk about the basics. Future posts will cover  a little bit about lighting, how best to get someone to stand for a photo, and quickly editing the photo afterwards.

The cameras in phones are getting very good, but generally they have a wide-angle view. Great for getting everyone in sat round the table, but not so good for a headshot of just one person.  Get too close with the phone and then you get a very distorted picture – a bit like one of those curvy mirrors that used to be at a fun fair.  That’s why for a selfie everyone holds the phone at arms length or uses a selfie-stick.  You can see the distortion I mean in the photo of me (yikes!) above on the left. My already large nose seems to be even bigger and my head is an odd shape. Not very flattering.  That’s all from having the camera too close. So you’re going to need a friend or colleague to help. A selfie isn’t going to cut it.

If you have a compact camera with a zoom option, set the zoom somewhere in the middle of its range and use that instead of the phone. You’ll be able to stand further away and get a much more flattering picture!   The photo of me on the right was taken from about 8 feet way, and I hope you agree I look better in that one.

If you need to use a phone, then stand about 4 feet away (twice as far as the length of your arm is a good way to remember!). The picture will have a lot more in it than just the head & shoulders that we need, but we can crop it later – I’ll tell you how in a future post.

Now, the other aspect I’ll talk about here is the background. We need to avoid a cluttered background like in the above left photo.  You are going to have to move away from a desk with calendars & coffee pots behind it !  If you can find a plain white wall that would be great. You can always temporarily move a picture that’s hanging on the wall if necessary.  Have the person stand a little way in front of the wall if possible, not right next to it. The further they are from the wall, the more blurry the wall will be, while keeping the person themselves sharp in the photo.

In the second post of this series I’ll talk about the best light to use and how to get someone to stand.  If you signed up to the series, you’ll get that straight to your inbox soon.

You can see my headshots on my business portraits and headshots website.