I am the procrastinator extraordinaire with a side of laziness that likes to save money. Therefore, getting headshots taken is one of the biggest hassles ever.
I don’t even like headshots so the fact that I have to pay money for them is not acceptable. So I do them myself. A.K.A: the cheap college student way.
When taking headshots, you’re going to have to get crafty. They still need to look professional and not like a selfie you took at 2 a.m.
So here are all the things I use for my D.I.Y headshots:
- A camera
- Lighting of some sort
- Backdrop (this isn’t necessary but if you have one great!)
- Photo editing app
So if the camera thing worried you… I used my iPhone… so yeah. You don’t need anything professional for this. But if you are using your iPhone here is my advice: Use the back camera. I know, I like to see what I look like too, but the back camera is much better quality. This is really important when you’re trying to make the headshot look more fancy and less like a D.I.Y project gone wrong.
If you are someone that has expensive lighting just lying around, consider me extremely jealous and disregard my cheap lighting solutions.
For the rest of you, use what you already have—natural light. I am lucky enough to have plantation shutters in my house so I have my own lighting station anywhere there is a window. (We have a lot of windows… Seriously hiding during tornados is impossible.) But if you don’t have these you can still use other types of blinds. You just have to get creative about your “camera” holder.
I kind of stick my phone in between the shutters to get it to stay while I’m taking my picture. It works so I’m not going to worry about it.
Now would be a great time for that backdrop if you’re going to use one. Hang it up behind you and make sure you’re not seeing anything else in your pictures. If you don’t have one or don’t want to use a backdrop, ignore this. I will tell you what to do about your awkward background later.
To get the lighting just right I use my shutters to control how bright it will be. You don’t want it to be too harsh because that isn’t the most flattering.
And to get rid of the awkward selfie arm, I turn the timer on for 10 seconds and then proceed to cram it into my shutters. This is plenty of time to pose for my picture.
About 30 pictures and a lot of intense criticizing later (I am super picky when it comes to pictures), I start with the editing process. For this I use Aviary, it’s a free editing app and it’s the bomb.
You know how I said I would help you get rid of your awkward background? It’s time! We’re about to get real ghetto up in here. On the aviary app, there is a draw option. Yes, I am going to paint the background of my picture black. This is the most time-consuming process because of the little itty bitty fly away hairs. They are extremely hard to avoid. Especially for the first time you do it so if you want to avoid this step completely, feel free to use an actual backdrop while taking your picture.
I edit the picture to make myself look pretty then save my picture. I drive to my CVS and print from there. This whole thing took me about an hour and a half so I consider it a success.
Good luck being cheap and lazy like me!