Professional Tips for DIY Headshot Photos

Are you searching for professional headshots but hesitant about spending a fortune on a professional photographer? Well, you’re in luck! With the proper techniques and equipment, you can effortlessly capture breathtaking headshot photos within the cozy confines of your home.

This article will provide indispensable tips for capturing DIY headshot photos that radiate professionalism and leave a memorable impact. Ensure you have a limited budget or lack professional equipment to achieve the perfect headshot. Let’s dive into these essential tips and capture shiny headshot photos!

Advantages of Taking Your Headshot

  • Save Money: The major benefit of this is the cost-saving aspect, as you avoid the expense of hiring a professional photographer.
  • Control: You wield more significant influence over the environment where you’re captured on camera.

Disadvantages of Taking Your Headshot

  • Limitations: The primary drawback lies in the limitations of DIY headshots. When employing a subpar camera or connecting your phone to the computer, the resulting picture quality may suffer from graininess.
  • Lack of Knowledge: One potential drawback is a general lack of expertise. Professional headshot photographers are called “professionals” for a reason. They possess the knowledge and experience necessary to capture countless headshots effectively. They are well-versed in the intricacies of the business. For instance, when taking your headshot, you may need help with adequately controlling the lighting to achieve a flattering outcome.

How to Take Your DIY Headshot

Proper Lighting

Good lighting is crucial. Being familiar with the three-point lighting system, including key, fill, and backlights, is essential. If you don’t have a flash, consider positioning yourself near a window or strategically placing lights in your shooting area. This will create a pleasant ambient light. Whenever possible, utilize natural light as its intensity ensures superior exposure compared to flashes.


To capture steady shots, utilize a tripod while shooting. If a tripod is unavailable, stabilize your camera by leaning it against a stable surface or activating the self-timer function. Begin by setting up your camera or phone on a tripod or a stable, non-moving surface. Position the camera at eye level, approximately 3-5 feet from the subject. This method enhances the visual appeal of a headshot.

Go Manual

Access your camera’s manual settings to adjust exposure, aperture, and other technical modifiers, granting you greater control over tone and lighting during post-processing. If shooting with a phone or tablet, enable HDR (high dynamic range) to enhance your photographs further. Additionally, consider shooting in RAW format if possible, as it allows for more comprehensive editing capabilities.


Choose a white or black backdrop to achieve the desired contrast between the subject and background. If natural lighting is scarce, you can employ crumpled aluminum foil to bounce light. When capturing self-portraits, be mindful of potential distractions in the background. Similarly, when not in front of the camera, take a moment to scan your surroundings from the subject’s perspective and identify any elements that may divert attention from the focal point.


Experiment with various poses for your headshots to discover the most flattering look. When working alone, don’t hesitate to capture multiple angles of your face to ensure the perfect photo. Remember to snap as many shots as possible and carefully select the one that showcases your best self. Try different poses and angles until you find the ideal combination that highlights your unique charm.

Sharing Online

When sharing photos online, ensure they have a sufficient resolution, at least 2500 pixels wide. The prominent platforms for sharing photos are Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. Use apps like Facetune, Afterlight, or VSCO for convenient photo editing on mobile devices. Moreover, remember that various audiences will view your photos online and offline, so ensuring their appropriateness is crucial. Focus on simple headshots with a plain background highlighting your face and personal style.

Have Fun!

Finally, remember to enjoy the process! Embrace your inner silliness and let your true personality shine through. This can lead to capturing the most exceptional headshots imaginable.

Professional Headshots vs. DIY Headshots

Used for Personal Branding

A professional headshot is a meticulously captured photograph for personal branding and marketing purposes. It is a valuable asset for resumes, websites, social media accounts, and other professional platforms, enabling individuals to make a lasting impression and showcase their expertise.

Usually More Formal

Professional headshots are considerably more formal than DIY headshots, often captured in a studio environment. They encompass a thoughtful selection of attire such as shirts or dresses, meticulous grooming of hair, and the application of make-up or facial hair where needed. These meticulous details work in harmony to create a polished and captivating image.


Professional photos often undergo retouching to eliminate blemishes and enhance the skin’s smoothness, resulting in a refined and flawless appearance.

Lighting Quality

Typically, professional headshots are captured using a DSLR camera, with the subject seated against a backdrop of either black or white. The lighting setup for these photos often calls for expensive equipment, which may be optional for DIY headshots.

Need A Professional? Contact Zen Studios LA!

When capturing professional-looking portraits, DIY headshots can be a cost-effective alternative to expensive photo shoots. By ensuring adequate lighting and mastering the art of positioning, you can effortlessly create stunning self-portraits in the comfort of your own home. So, don’t be afraid of the camera; embrace it confidently and unleash your inner photographer! However, if you want a certified professional photographer to take your headshot, you can always rely on Zen Studios LA! Contact us today!

Angela Pinili

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