Art of the Smartphone Photo: The Perfect Headshot
Ever wondered how some of your friends have the perfect profile photos? Well now you can, too. Learning how to capture a simple headshot is an excellent way to discover how great your smartphone camera can be! Headshots are perfect for social media accounts which are usually relatively low resolution. They are going to be seen as very small icons, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use a stunningly beautiful image that will elegantly live at the top of your profile. Here’s how to make sure a headshot taken on a smartphone will look completely professional. For more information, watch this short video!
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the dos and don’ts of headshot taking so your photo comes out just the way you want. First, start with beautiful lighting. Lighting is always going to be key to great pictures, especially headshots. It can be as simple as light through a window or a doorway; I usually prefer natural light as it is much softer than artificial light.
Not only is the lighting important, but so is the background. It is essential to keep the background super simple. There’s no such thing as a too-simple background for a small headshot. Plain white, gray, or black can all be made to work depending on the color of the subject’s clothing and hair. Just make sure that you are able to separate the subject from the background.
Once you have perfected your lighting and background, you’ll want to make sure you capture the subject’s face correctly. Stand about four feet away, not to far or too close. The subject’s head is actually going to be small in the frame from that distance, but that’s ok. Once you snap the picture you want, you are going to crop it to get a nice square headshot. If you stand back first and then crop into the picture, there won’t be any distortion from the lens or zoom of the camera. The fun house carnival effect will be gone. And if the lighting and background are right, it will be a portrait masterpiece!
I know the temptation is to fill the frame with the subject’s face or to zoom in and get too close, but trust me – don’t do that. If you stand too close, the wide-angle lens on your smartphone will distort your subject. Their nose will look larger than it really is and they will start to look – well – quite goofy. The closer you get to your subject with a smartphone, the more it starts to feel like the mirror at a carnival fun house.
Now that you have your perfect masterpiece, you can edit it to your heart’s content. I personally love black and white social media shots. Using black and white eliminates any color issues that may arise when moving the image across platforms. There are all kinds of color shifts that take place from website to email carrier or phone – it’s the nature of the internet. Black and white does away with this problem beautifully.
A picture is worth 1000 words, right? Well then, what about a video? Take a look at this clip if you’d like to see the above tips in action. The most impressive part of this video, I think, is the elimination of the wide-angle distortion when the finished product is cropped. It can be a bit counterintuitive, but the results speak for themselves!