How to Take Your Own Headshots

If you are an actor, singer or dancer, or aspire to be, you will need to have headshots. In addition, every time your appearance changes, from getting older, looking younger or changing your hair, you will need to take headshots again. Hiring a photographer to take headshots can cost several hundred dollars per session. This does not even include processing the photos. You can take your own headshots for a lot less money by following these few simple steps.

Preparing for the headshots

Get properly groomed before you take your headshots. You will need to take care of any skin blemishes, have your eyebrows groomed, style your hair in an attractive but natural manner and get a manicure. Be sure to eat healthy and drink plenty of water in the days before you take your headshot. Have your teeth cleaned and whitened if necessary.

Choose your wardrobe carefully. Your clothing should be neat, clean and business casual. It should be simple and not detract from your face.

Choose a setting that is simple where the background will not be overwhelming. Stay away from sided houses that will create a striped background. Avoid brightly colored foliage or any recognizable elements in the background. It may be wise to set up a sheet screen for your background.

Get a good quality camera. A point and click camera will work find as long as it is 8 megapixels or better. If you have an SLR camera, that will be even better. Use a tripod to help keep the camera steady.

Find a friend with reasonable camera skills to take your headshot photographs. You cannot take these yourself or they will look like web-cam photographs. Ask the photographer to hold the camera just above your eye level so you are looking upward and your eyes are fully open.

Apply makeup that is natural and not over glamorized. Wear no more makeup than you would wear any other day.

Eat a light meal so that you won’t get uncomfortable or cranky during your photo session.

Taking Your Photos

Make your smiles real. Don’t pose or act. Have your friend take photos for an entire hour. Talk, joke, and have a causal conversation while you are taking the photographs. This way you will capture more candid photographs.

Take many pictures. The more photographs you take the better chance you will have of getting wonderful photos.

Have your family and friends help pick the photos that look the most like you, and are attractive. Make it clear what you want them to look for in the photos. The most glamorous photos don’t necessarily make best headshots.

Print your headshots in 8 X 10 size. Keep the print and frame simple. Nothing should detract from your face. Don’t over crop your photos. They should show the entire head and shoulder with a little background showing. Print them in color only. The current standard for headshots are full color. Use an online company that specializes in printing headshots.


  • Do not wear distracting jewelry or things on your head