How to Take a Head Shot Without Regretting it the Next Morning

 

Creating a professional looking head shot without being a photographer!

I don’t take a good picture.
I talked about it here in detail so this will surprise no one who reads here with regularity or those who follow me on my personal Facebook.
The only good pictures of me are those in which I took the picture myself or orchestrated the edit.
Meaning I said, LET ME SEE THAT and told the taker of said picture to take another one, delete the old one or just blow the camera to itty bitty pieces.

I am not photogenic and never have been.
When I got married two different times, my biggest fear was not tripping on my veil, getting my period on my wedding day or whether or not the minister would show up.
It was the simple fact that I had to get my picture taken.
Lots of pictures taken of mainly me, was my biggest nerve wrack on those two days of my life.
I may have even sarcastically mumbled, “I just can’t wait to weed through picture after picture of  me with my eyesclosed, my triple chin, my crooked smile. Yay me. Pass the bourbon.”

So when I started writing a blog in 2010, I didn’t even think about pictures because, see, WRITING.
It was after a few months of having the obligatory Blogger logo in where my picture should be, that I realized I should probably pop something in there.
I wrote a post about how little I know about blogging a few years ago here and shared how little I also knew about creating a good profile picture.

I used a picture of myself pregnant as my first ever profile picture…….

 

Pregnant me headshot. WHAT IN THE HELL WAS I THINKING?
I look high. And not off of those good pregnancy hormones either.

 

 

…….two solid years after having the baby.
I don’t even know what to say.
The world’s first view of me as a blogger was eight months pregnant at my cousin’s wedding looking stoned.
I’ve even used a picture of my husband’s amazing chocolate chip cookies as a profile picture in 2011 to get out of showing “you”, “me”.
I WISH I WERE LYING TO YOU.

I was an amateur, yes, but I went to extremes to not take a picture of myself.
I know how I look in every day life and I am happy with that.
If you would have run into me on the street in 2010, you wouldn’t even have known who I was because at the time, I was two years removed from a pregnancy and wasn’t smoking a joint.
I figured I needed people to know exactly who they were reading.
Not some constantly pregnant lady who likes bold prints and ganja.

But I refused to have a professional take my picture because that’s like hiring a calligrapher to write your personal diary.
Plus I didn’t want it to look so much like a head shot, or impersonal because my blog is about being really real.
So I decided to take it into my own hands.
First, having my husband take my pictures for two separate profile pictures then turning to myself to do it because asking him to take 589 pictures was a little much.

 

Creating the perfect head shot means lots of outtakes.

Yes, it takes me that many pictures to find one good one.
It’s the least I can do for myself and for you.
It’s a public service, trust me.

This is all you will need to take your own head shot for your blog, your resume, business card or even for yourself because you are one sexy beast and it should be documented.

 

Your favorite camera

I use my seven year old digital camera to take my profile pictures.
I have used my iPhone camera as well as my big girl camera.
But it’s really hard to take a selfie with a big girl camera.
And it takes a lot more work to get the pictures from my iPhone via email to Picasa…..one by one instead of uploaded all together than it does from my good old digital camera, “Joyce”.
I’ve named my digital camera “Joyce” because she is so very underrated.
Much like one Joyce DeWitt of “Three’s Company” fame.

 

courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

 

Reliable, always there for you, you can always, ALWAYS count on Joyce.
Well, Janet.
But Joyce in real life and my camera just feels more like a Joyce than a Janet.
Anyway, Joyce’s character was always shadowed by Suzanne Somer’s character.
Just like my “Joyce” is always shadowed by the slutty iPhone.
WHAT?

Christmas pictures in my kitchen.
the buffalo check behind Ellie is my favorite blanket hung on the refrigerator in my kitchen.

 

 A backdrop

This could be a cool blanket you love draped over your refrigerator (did this for our Christmas card pictures, see above) or a cool front door you painted two years ago.
I use my green door because I love that damn thing.
I want to be buried with that door.
Slap me on that door and save the money on a pine box.
So I shall be photographed by my green door as long as the green door is in my life.
I also get great light in the front of my house where the green door resides, that is key to taking a great head shot.

 

Head shots work best with colorful accents like jewelry!
or wear a colorful green necklace to match the backdrop. I LOVE GREEN OKAY.

You

Wearing clothing or not, its up to you although your blog might get blocked but let me know how that goes for you.
I usually choose dark or neutral colors because my backdrop is a bright green door.
I don’t want to outshine that beautiful door.
But pick something you love to wear or something that if you ran into a reader/friend/pastor at the supermarket that it would be realistic for you to be wearing.
IE- maybe not the time to wear the fur stole or the feather boa.
Unless you rock that every day and to that I say, you are the sh@#.
And I want to be friends with you.
By the way,  I totally want to bring back the Glamour Shots of the late 80’s and early 90s’.
Maybe this is the year to do it……..

Below was my first “real” head shot that I took with the help of Joyce:

 

Just another head shot in front of my green door.

 

I picked this apart too…my hair looks fuzzy, I have lines under my eyes……but out of the 600 I took, this was one of three that I liked.
This was before I became best buds with Pic Monkey, though!
Now you can be your own professional photographer/editor with tools like red eye reducer, teeth whitener and even a nip and tuck feature to shave off the triple chin!
I haven’t done that yet because if I did, you wouldn’t even recognize me.

In fact, here is the same picture after doing some fun editing:

 

Pic Monkey is boss for head shots.

I have always wanted a purple streak in my hair so with this tool I can!
And so can you!
Pic Monkey will be your best friend in the editing process.
But before you get to the editing, you need to shoot some pictures.
Here are some tips:

– shoot the picture early mid day

Not early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
This works out well if you are taking the picture in front of your door because no one is home in my neighborhood around that time.
There is nothing more embarrassing than trying to explain why you are taking 600 selfies in front of your bright green door at 11 in the morning.
Except to have to explain it to the FedEx guy.
True story.

 

I stand on my coffee table to get the perfect head shot. Don't you?
Yes I have stood on a coffee table to get a better shot. You’d do it too if you looked like Al Capone in pictures.

 

– take the picture on a bright day

Cloudy days are okay if you have to but the best days are when the sun is out but not clear blue skies.
This is why I usually take my pictures in the fall because we don’t see sun much here from November until January.
Then we see it for like two weeks straight but I am coming off the ThanksChristmas food binge and don’t feel so much smiley for the birdie at that point.
So I wait until fall so the bloat is off and the summer glow is still kinda there.

– take a gazillion pictures and don’t keep looking at the camera while taking them

Meaning, check them out some 500 pictures later.
Change your position, look up, down to the side, smile, frown, make goofy faces.
One of them will turn out good, I swear.
I heard once, a long time ago, that before you smile for a picture, you should move your face all around to get the muscles loosened up.
That never worked for me but you give it a try and see how that goes.

Head Shot Creepy Eyes

The above picture was taken when I was trying to show a friend I had pink eye back in 2012/13.
And I immediately thought OMG I LOOK KIND OF CUTE AND WHIMSICAL IN THIS PICTURE.
So I used it for my blog, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook profile picture for like, a year.
Then my friends were like, “seriously we get it, you had pink eye, it’s creeping us out” and I took it down.
My idea of artsy creative and others are totally different.
If you don’t care what others think GOOD FOR YOU!!!
If you are me however, ask your personal friends and family to be the sounding board.
But don’t get offended when they say, “what are you looking at?” or “ummm why are you staring at my cat in the corner of the room”.

So go out there and take your own picture!
Don’t be afraid, I know you can do it!
Or come over to my house and I will take your picture in front of my green door.
I am sure I have some feather boa’s around here somewhere……that sounded a lot worse than it did in my head.

 

30 thoughts on “How to Take a Head Shot Without Regretting it the Next Morning

  1. Kari

    You funny nutball. I met you during the pinkeye photo phase, and I still love that photo! I also love your green door/green necklace photo. Why, oh why is it so painful to get a good headshot? It's on my to-do list as well. Mine looks like a yearbook photo where I have a bad streaky dye-job. Maybe we should get together and take pics of each other all day so we can capture each other "spontaneously".

  2. Kari

    I strongly disagree! I think you take great pictures! You look pretty and happy in your pregnancy photo and not a bit stoned.:)

  3. Kari

    Hello pretty lady. Now you know your next profile picture has to include boas and furs, right? Get the FedEx guy to take it so he has a good story to tell his wife and kids when he gets home from work

  4. Kari

    I agree with Shannon, with the exception of thinking you might as well have the fedex guy IN the pic with you! And by the way, you look mahvelous!!!

  5. Kari

    You are adorable, but I totally get this. I am not photogenic either. I hate getting family photos taken. I have to try super hard to look cute in a photo, and then I loo like I am trying super hard to look cute. Don't even get me started on candid photos.

  6. Kari

    This is SO FUNNY! That green necklace is the best! I WANT. So glad I subscribed to your blog. Your wit starts my day off just right 🙂

  7. Kari

    Um, I use a cartoon Simpsons picture for all of my social media photos because I hate photos that much. And now that I've read this, I just realized that the one real picture I have on my blog is now almost 7 years old. I am the worst at this. But you may have inspired me to try and take a photo that I will actually use. In which case, if that photo is wretched, it will be all your fault. But your photos are great!!

  8. Kari

    This whole post is awesome. Love this: "I refused to have a professional take my picture because that's like hiring a calligrapher to write your personal diary." 😀 What's with being photogenic or not? I've never been. I am forever asking my friends and husband, "No, seriously. Do I look like that? I must look like that. THAT many pictures can't lie." Can they? One of my sons looks bizarre and the other looks like a model. I don't get it.

  9. Kari

    I love when I post a selfie and people are all, "OMG you are sooooo cute!" because typically that's the one good one out of about 50 tries.

  10. Kari

    I love everything about this post and it's impossible to list all of the things I love best. From the green door and lighting tips to the pink eye shots, I laughed, snorted, and nodded in assent through it all. I have to say that I've used the "Stop eating Thin Mints already" (<– paraphrased) tool in PicMonkey and agree that it ROCKS.

    Glamour Shots FTW.

    Lastly, Joyce Dewitt is prettier than Suzanne Somers.

  11. Leigh

    Thank you for these great tips! I, too am not photogenic…AT ALL. It’s sad but true. I don’t think there has ever been a photo taken of me that I like, ever.

  12. Jessie

    I always worry about the neighbors when we are slipping out front to grab a photo in good light. It’s silly in today’s age to worry at all, peopleare snapping selfies all over the place anymore. It is too funny. OLD PEOPLE TOO. Not like us old. You know…OLD.

    And I back space through comments on your blog all the time because they sound worse when they are read then what I mean.

    1. Kari Post author

      SO DO I!

      Good light is like the mother lode so I do whatever I need to in order to get it.
      Screw the neighbors.

  13. Erlene

    You’re too funny. I think you’re very photogenic and you did a great job taking your own photos. It took me a long time to redo my image too, so I totally get it. Thanks for sharing your photo tips/journey on Merry Monday.