Your marketer just asked you to send over your headshot. Stop—Facebook is not the first place to look, it’s not going to print well. While going to a professional is highly recommended, you can take a professional selfie. (If you insist!)
Consider your Surroundings
Unless you’re showing off your muscles (note, this is not recommended!) get out of the bathroom. Not only do people not need to see your porcelain throne, other places they don’t need to see are the inside of your car, and your bedroom. Instead pick a nice open space like an empty conference room, or against a blank wall. Not only does this make your marketers happy, it draws the attention to where it’s supposed to be—your face.
Pro-Tip: Natural light is best, so step away from your desk and get outside. Keep in mind, shadows from overhanging trees may cast shadows across your face. Also think about your facial structure, a nose for example, can sometimes cast your features into darkness.
Natural light is superior to fluorescent because fluorescent lighting adds an undesirable color tint to your skin and changes the overall color tone of your photo. (This is why professionals have all those special lights and flash umbrellas.)
Know Your “Good Side”
While we can’t all be models and know intuitively whether the left or right side of our face is more aesthetically pleasing, we can use a few tricks to make your profile beautiful.
Avoid looking at the camera straight on. This is awkward-looking and can give off a very “deer-in-the-headlights” look. Play with tilting your head, at natural angles of course. Don’t make it look like you broke your neck! A slight forty-five degree angle upward helps elongate your neck and avoid accidental double chins. Hold your head high and be confident. You aren’t paying for shots, and I doubt you’re paying for film, so play around and plan to take more than one photo.
Here’s an example of what NOT to do!
We like these! Designers use cropping to bring attention to your face BUT by sending us an already cropped photo, you limit the amount of usability. Another shoulder tip to keep in mind is that you have two. When you provide a photo that cuts off one shoulder, you once again limit usability. Let your designers, and any social media platform you use, do the cropping for you.
Before you stomp off claiming that we don’t appreciate your individualism or creative outlets, wait! We can honestly say here at Argyle Octopus that most of our crew has tattoos. But it really depends on your industry. When you are taking a photo, remember that you want every corner of your picture to speak the image you want to be projected from your work. If you are getting ready to take your shot and a small voice is meekly calling out about one aspect or another, pause and consider; would the older generation be accepting of what I am showing? You can dress however is acceptable in your work environment, but a headshot that is going on a business card, resume, or even a LinkedIn profile needs to show you at your most professional.
We value self-expression but in the case of professional selfies, a scarf or jacket would have gone a long way in the next photo example.
(Small tangent here. When you are putting your professional headshot out into the world, the baby, significant other, and/or pets don’t need to be in it.)
Headshots are face-centric and the purpose is to build a trustworthy relationship without you needing to be there in person. (Note: face-to-face interaction is superior but not always achievable.) With that in mind, don’t make faces at the camera. Faces NOT to have are: kissy faces, sneers, boredom, and the like. Faces TO have are whatever you are comfortable and relaxed with, though a smile is always preferred.
While the following face is beautiful, this is another example of what not to do.
While most phones have a front and back camera, a little-known fact is that on most phones, the camera on the back of your phone takes higher-quality photos than the face-view ones. It also helps to take the cover off your phone.
Now that you are a selfie-taking pro, take a few shots and leave a comment letting us know which one works best for you!