I’m excited to be jumping into photography topics in today’s post! Today we’re talking about headshots. These are photos taken that capture a person’s character and personality and they are most often used for business, modeling, or blogging.
When my good friend Emily from [EM]POWERED reached out to me about doing blogging headshots for her, I was so excited! I always jump at the chance to stretch myself and practice different aspects of photography (like doing a maternity photo shoot for my friend Jordan last summer) and I knew this would be a blast!
Emily and I had fun doing her photo shoot in Minneapolis one afternoon this fall. The weather and lighting was great, the Minneapolis skyline was stunning as usual, and the leaves were beautiful – and so was her smile! 🙂 I wanted to share a few tips with you fellow aspiring or amateur photographers when it comes to shooting headshots, particularly for a blogger!
Tips for Photographing Headshots for a Blogger:
1 // Use a high-quality DSLR camera! This one pretty much goes without saying. As much as I really do love iPhone photography, a phone will not cut it in this case. I shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel T5i and its “kit lens” (18-55 mm).
2 // Shoot in manual. The “Manual” (M) setting scared me away for a loooong time, but I finally started experimenting with it and soon grew to LOVE it! In retrospect I’m mad I didn’t learn to shoot in manual earlier! Although Auto settings are nice and convenient, I believe that you really won’t get the quality pictures you want if you leave the camera in Auto. Shooting in manual allows you to have much greater control over things like shutter speed and depth of field.
3 // Do your research! Something I’ve realized is that you’ll have to be more intentional about posing than you think. Spend at LEAST 20 minutes on Pinterest or your favorite photographers’ sites gathering basic ideas. Take notes of what you like, or even print out your favorite few pictures to help you replicate poses later! But don’t strive to do the impossible (like perfectly timed shots of floating scarves, haha!). Instead, find the simple, practical, and doable on Pinterest and work from there.
4 // Shoot in a variety of locations. I honestly think that the basic outdoor trees/water background works for anyone, so I’d include some shots with that background for sure, but you may also want to shoot with a background that reflect the person’s personality. Emily had found a really neat, brightly-colored wall for us to use as a background – it was so fun to use it to reflect her bright, fun personality!
- The best bet in terms of finding backgrounds (aka locations) is to find just a few locations within a few miles of each other. Then, the most convenient thing to do is drive together in one car around to the different spots.
- Maybe it goes without saying, but I love natural light with a passion! I also don’t have a studio or indoor lighting like that anyway… 🙂 But really. I think natural light photography is the way to go!
5 // Try several (simple) poses. The crouching-with-wrists-crossed pose is one of my favorites and it’s one I learned from Hannah Elise Photography. Another good headshot pose is having the person lean against a wall (without tilting their head too much). Finally, I really enjoy shooting sitting-down shots where they sit on a ledge leaning back and resting on their arms behind them.
6 // Incorporate clothing with fun texture or color. Emily wore a beautiful (I LOVE gray!) sweater with great texture for much of the shoot, and she also had a beautiful red peacoat which really popped in some of the pictures. Just make sure there aren’t too many layers, colors, or accessories – those can actually distract from the personality you’re striving to capture!
7 // Be a chatty photographer! Joke with them. Ask them questions. Don’t be afraid to be silly or transparent. As much as you may want to seem the “expert,” being cool, unsmiling, or quiet is not going to bring you the results you want anyway! Now, this was easy for Emily and me because we have actually been friends since something like 7th grade! 🙂 But seriously, one of the things that helps people the most – especially since not many of us are naturally comfortable in front of the camera – is having a chatty, upbeat photographer! You DO have to do some thinking as you try to get the best shot or tweak your settings, but it may even help just to do some of your thinking out loud. Things like, “Hmm, that was a bit too dark, stay right there, you are looking AWESOME, there! wonderful! so much better!” will help immensely. That way, your subject doesn’t stand there wondering why you’re quiet and if they’re doing anything wrong!
8 // Edit photos so they are bright, crisp, and clear. You want photos that are light, with great contrast, and natural skin tones. I LOVE black and white photos so those are fine, but now isn’t really the time to try particularly “moody” filters. I edit my photos in Lightroom and I do use some presets I purchased but I honestly tweak the presets quite a bit too. If there are a few shots you absolutely love, try making a copy of those in black and white too! You can also use black and white to “save” some photos that may seem like they have too much contrast, even ones in direct sunlight – try that before you delete!
9 // Be watching for that perfect moment! Snap away if you just happened to make them laugh by accident! And be okay stopping in the middle of the path/park/parking lot if you notice the lighting is just perfect. There is no rule book that says you have to only shoot once the subject is posed just right…OR that you have to go stand only in that “perfect” spot you decided upon in advance. And in terms of shooting blogging headshots, many bloggers enjoy using pictures that seem easy and natural – even photos taken mid-laugh! It helps them seem much more approachable on their site!
10 // Scout ahead of time! In our case, my friend Emily did the scouting because she knows the area so well (and I did the checking-the-weather) so we had a general idea of places to pose/where to park, etc. It’s never fun to drive all the way out to a place you thought you could shoot at, only to realize there’s an admission fee or that it’s private property.
* A side note: I know some photographers choose not to show photos to the clients during the session and I understand that the photos aren’t cropped/edited/ready so their feedback may not be great or wanted..but if you’re doing it for a friend, I think it’s fine to show them a couple of the really good ones as you walk to the next location! That can really build their confidence that the shoot is going well!
Are you a blogger looking or planning to get headshots taken? My friend Laura Jean recently shared some awesome tips for rocking your blog headshots!
Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to see more photography-related posts and tips here at Just Bee? I’d love to hear your feedback, friends!