How to take a great headshot (the DIY version).

Thumbtack Writer
Thumbtack Writer
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A great headshot helps you stand out from the crowd, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, you can take a professional-looking headshot at home on your camera phone — but when, where, and how you do it makes all the difference.

Take a photo that will catch your customer’s eye with these tips from Thumbtack’s head of photography.

What you’ll need. To take a great headshot you’ll need these four things:

  • A clean, plain wall next to a window
  • Your camera phone
  • Neutral, professional-looking clothing
  • The Thumbtack smartphone app  

Turn your living room into a photo studio. Here’s what to wear, where to stand and how to catch the light.

STEP-1_A_IPHONE_GOOD_OUTFIT-e1511994238174.jpg1. Wear something comfortable and neutral. Avoid busy patterns or bright colors. A collared shirt always works.



2. Find a wall that’s right next to a window. The window acts like a photographer’s lights and screens, adding natural depth to your photo.



3. Make sure the wall is plain and clean. Busy wallpapers, smudges or artwork will take away from your polished look.


STEP-4_A_IPHONE_.jpg4. Turn off the lights and raise the blinds. Use as much natural daylight from the window as you can get. Avoid overhead lights that can cast dark shadows.

Prep, pose, and take your photo. Here are the best poses and angles for a professional-looking headshot.



5. Open the camera app. Pick the portrait setting on your phone’s camera if you have the option.


STEP-6_IPHONE_.jpg6. Stand close to a wall. Leave just a few inches between you and the wall so there are no distracting shadows.



7. Hold the phone slightly higher than eye level. This helps emphasize your jawline and chin.



8. Smile. The friendlier, the better.


STEP-9_IPHONE_.jpg9. Use your camera’s backside camera (it’s higher resolution) and snap three to five photos at a time. Then review and adjust your positioning based on what you see.

Here are a few more photo tips for your profile:

  1. Avoid using image filters. Let the natural light do the work for you. Special effects take away from your professional look.

  2. Use your phone’s backside camera. Using your front screen camera is tempting — you can see what you look like as you take the picture. Don’t do it. The back of the phone camera will give you a much higher resolution photo.

  3. Include photos of you in action. Customers love to see photos of you on the job and examples of your work. You can use these same principles (natural light, neutral colors) to take pictures of equally high quality.

  4. Use your logo in your media section, not as your headshot. Customers respond better to headshots of people versus logos when choosing a pro. But your logo is a major part of your marketing strategy, so you still want to show it off.

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