Gone are the days when a selfie is acceptable to use for anything career-related. Getting a great headshot often seems impossible, or at the least, intimidating, but it can be fun! Here are a few tips to help you get started!

1. Use as much natural light as possible.

If you want a very natural looking headshot, nothing beats the great outdoors.

The best time of day for great light is the ‘golden hour‘ either right after sunrise or right before sunset. Since this isn’t always possible, a good rule of thumb is to avoid direct sunlight. Sunlight = shadows. (And no one wants to stare into the sun!) Slightly overcast days often make for some awesome, evenly lit portraits!

Here’s an example of natural light compared to artificial.

2. Find a simple, but unique background.

Victoria has all kinds of beautiful backgrounds, from the iconic inner harbour to the brick alleys of Chinatown. (Check out this blog post or this article for some unique spots). Take the time to find one that you like, since this can change the whole feel of your photos.

The general rule for headshots is the simpler the better. I love all the great brick and stone walls around Victoria, as they are a natural background that still feels professional.

Depending on what you want to portray with your headshot, you can have some fun with everything from oceans to buildings and anything in between. Remember to shoot with as wide an aperture as possible to keep your background soft and avoid excess noise and distractions in your photo.

Here’s an example of a recognizable, but soft background along Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

3. Relax!

For someone who spends a lot of time behind a camera, I’ve never felt comfortable in front of one. I envy people who are comfortable in front of the lens (if you’re one of those people, tell me your secrets!), but for the rest of us, here are some tips to get a natural-looking pose.

First of all, you don’t need to get the perfect shot instantly. The beauty of digital cameras is that you can take literally hundreds of photos, and choose your favourite later. Have some fun, and take your time. Stand up, sit down, do whatever makes you feel most comfortable, but keep trying new things. A good photographer will help you break the ice and find a flattering pose.

If you’re like me and you never know what to do with your hands in front of the camera, try leaning against a wall or railing. Check out the difference between straight arms and a slight lean!

Lead with your forehead. Sounds confusing, but you want to think about your forehead being the closest part of your face to the camera, as opposed to your chin.

Here’s an (exaggerated!) example of leading with your chin, compared to leading with your forehead.

Finally, smile with your eyes. Smiling with your eyes is harder than it sounds – focus on something that truly makes you happy and forget about the camera. Easier said than done, but practicing in front of the mirror can help for this one!

Here’s an example of the difference it makes – it’s worth practicing!

If you’re interested in some new headshots, get in touch with us. We’ll make it as easy and fun as possible!