Allow me to share something I prepared earlier... combined with supporting images I created just for this blog. The slides are from a presentation I put together to cover how to work with your photographer to get the best results, and helpful hacks if you haven't got the budget for one. I'll even add a bonus hack at the bottom if your backgrounds at home are less than ideal.
Essential for any decent image.
Further to my home-made blinky demos, the thing to remember is to face your light source to get that even look. The other thing to note if doing this outside, especially if it is sunny, is to find what I call 'solid shade', or the official term 'open shade'. This is an area that is a solid block of shade so that you aren't getting odd spots of light on you, and especially your face. Dappled light (light coming through tree canopies) can have great effects on a fun photo shoot, but if this head shot is destined for LinkedIn, then you want the smooth even lighting that I highlighted in my videos.
If you have a spot outside that would make a great backdrop but it's not working right now, check back at different times of day. If you have an inside spot that is only slightly shadowy, see if you can add some light to that area.
Now, if your best lighting spot is fabulous for your face but has a less-than-ideal background, don't worry. I have a hack for that too. But let's cover off the other top tips for your home-made head shot.
Here's how the seated indoor version looks like. Now, in all honesty, I'd do a few more takes to get a shot I'm happy with, but I still have to put away that pile of books I made and I've got some more tips to go. However, even though I'm seated, you'll notice that my posture is better. This is more noticeable when standing, which you can see in my next segment.
Now, as you can see, the differences are very subtle and the image of me on the left is useable, but with a bit of postural encouragement, the image on the right has a bit more going for it. Ironically, while creating the image on the left, I settled into the stance I would take if I had to stand during a meeting so my body is comfortable but looks slightly awkward (in comparison). Whereas, the image on the right I went all in for posture and pose, and felt extremely awkward, but look more comfortable - and confident. Sometimes you just have to embrace the process.
Did you notice my posture images have no background but the slide?
That's the result of an app discovery that blew my mind when I discovered it existed. I mean, I *can* do the same thing in Photoshop but it takes AGES. But with the click of a button, remove.bg can do it for you. So, let's play a game!
Now, obviously lighting and image sharpness needs to be taken into account, but you can see that a terrible background doesn't have to stop you from having an image of yourself that is well lit and doesn't obviously look like you are still holding the camera. If you have a tripod. please use it. I've deliberately taken these images without one to demonstrate it can be done. I also did it by myself which is why I'm using images that work, rather than working to get the ones I want - I can do that later, with a tripod and not trying to write a blog. If someone is helping you, communication is key. If that happens to be a child, then make sure they get some 'pro shots' too (if you share glimpses of family life on your social media, then a collage of your combined efforts will make a great post!)
Despite the gleeful grin here, I do know that the stakes somehow seem higher the moment you are staring down the barrel of a giant glass lens, and all you can see behind it is a scrunched up face expecting you to 'be yourself'. But if you have found your photographer, then you are in safe hands.
Give it a whirl and let me know how you go!
(or if it sounds completely tedious, drop me a line and we can tee something up when lockdown is lifted)