How To Take a Professional Photo (With Tips)

In the age of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that most professional photography studios have shut down or limited operations until the end of the pandemic. Even though a professional studio will take all precautions possible, there is always the slight risk of disease transmission in your commute. (At least without a vaccine.)

But, many people still need headshots for new jobs, sales presentations and company websites – so there’s been a massive increase in online searches for the term “how to take a professional headshot at home.”

In this guide, we’ll teach you exactly how to take a professional headshot using an iPhone at home. While the quality of the photo won’t be close to an actual professional session, the photos you will take in this guide will be 10x better than most selfies and other low-quality photos on LinkedIn these days.

At the end of this guide, we’ll also tell you how you can take your iPhone headshot to the next level with remote professional editing services.

How to take a professional photo
  1. Choose and understand your subject. Every picture tells a story, and the star of that story is the subject of your photo. …
  2. Use the right camera and photography gear. …
  3. Adjust your lighting. …
  4. Focus on framing. …
  5. Learn to customize your settings. …
  6. Practice using photo editing software.

5 tips to INSTANTLY up your PHOTO GAME

How to take a professional photo

Follow these steps to start taking professional photographs:

1. Choose and understand your subject

Every picture tells a story, and the star of that story is the subject of your photo. As the star, your subject plays a large role in determining how to best implement the other elements needed to take a professional photograph. When taking a picture of a landscape, you need to use a different approach than a portrait in a studio, and both will differ from an action shot at a sporting event, for example.

In addition to understanding the type of photo you are taking, you should also approach each shot with a set purpose in mind. Small changes to the way you frame, pose and light your subject can have a big impact on the final product, and to get favorable results, you should always start with a goal in mind.

2. Use the right camera and photography gear

Getting started in photography can be intimidating when you look at the extensive setups for some photo shoots, but the good news is you dont need a professional setup for professional-level photography. While expensive cameras and accessories can help improve the quality of your photos, you can still create beautiful shots on a moderate budget. Here are some tips when it comes to your photography gear:

One benefit of the expanded use of phones as cameras is the rapid growth in lens quality. If you have a modern smartphone, you may be surprised at the high-quality photos you can take. Phones even have ways to simulate camera effects, like narrowing your depth of focus.

Changing your cameras lens is a quick way to radically alter the type of pictures you can take. A basic adjustable lens can help you take professional-looking photos in many different settings. However, if you want to focus on a specific photography style, you can significantly improve your results by finding the appropriate lens.

A tripod is an affordable way to improve the quality of the pictures that you take. In addition to allowing you to trigger the shots remotely, a tripod keeps your camera steady to avoid blurry photos.

Although most modern cameras can produce professional-looking photos, its important to remain within the limits of your equipment or experience. If you find that youre struggling to create the image youre looking for, it may be time to assess your current setup for potential upgrades.

3. Adjust your lighting

Getting the right lighting is the most effective way to transform a picture from everyday quality to professional quality. Lighting allows your subjects to pop, makes your images more dynamic and helps you set a specific mood. Mastering lighting is one of the most important skills you can learn to improve the quality of the pictures you take. If youre new to using lighting to enhance your photos, these tips can help you improve your skills:

Using the sun to light your subjects is the quickest way to light a scene, and you should always try to maximize the benefit of natural light. The best natural light for photographs occurs in the hour following sunrise and the hour preceding sunset, known as the golden hour.

The key to a professional headshot is ensuring that there are no harsh shadows on your subject. A headlamp facing your subject, assisted by a softer fill light to balance out shadows, creates an attractive portrait.

Although it is generally advised to keep light sources behind you, by positioning your subject between you and a strong light source, you can create an eye-catching and professional silhouette shot.

When using natural lighting, you lose control of the direction of your light source. A reflector is an effective way to redirect the direction light is striking your subject to help fill in your lighting profile.

Too much direct light on a subject creates distinct shadows. While this can be useful, if you want to lessen the effect, placing a diffuser on your lights, or positioning one to catch natural light, prevents direct light and makes shadows more gentle.

4. Focus on framing

The way you position subjects in your picture is a crucial factor in taking a professional photograph. When framing a shot, the choices you make can make your image more visually interesting, make the final product more appealing or even tell an entirely different story than a shot with slightly different framing. The best way to improve your framing is to practice. As you take more shots and try different framing techniques, this concept will come to you more naturally. Here are some tips you can use to frame your shots effectively:

When lining up your shot, pay attention to everything that is in the frame, and remove as much unnecessary distraction from your intended focus as possible.

One thing that makes professional shots stand out is that they show the world from an interesting point of view. Look for ways to find new angles that you might not have considered before, such as climbing up onto a stepladder to take a picture from a higher angle. This can be particularly useful when taking an interesting picture of a person if you want more than just a simple headshot.

When someone picks up your photo, you dont want them to feel confused about where to look. The subject of your image should be framed in a way that ensures it is the first thing a viewers eyes are drawn to when they look at it.

In addition to prominently featuring your intended focus in a photo, you can use surrounding elements to draw attention to it naturally. If you set a shot up so that straight lines are pointing to your subject, then your viewers will naturally follow those lines to your focal point.

One of the most common mistakes that amateur photographers make is always centering their subject in the middle of a frame. The rule of thirds involves breaking the frame down into thirds with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines and then positioning your subject at one of the intersection points so that it is actually slightly off-center.

Wasted space on the frame isnt just distracting—it can also lessen your photographs impact. Filling the frame is a technique where you allow your subject to fully occupy the shot, potentially even breaking the frames limits, and it is a striking way to make your shot look professional.

5. Learn to customize your settings

The great news about modern cameras is that they have progressed to the extent that you can take incredible photos shooting entirely on automatic. However, if you want to improve your skills and get professional-level photographs, its essential to learn how to manually adjust settings on your camera and lenses.

The two most important settings to master as you begin taking manual photos are the aperture and shutter speed. Your lenss aperture refers to how wide it opens when taking pictures, and the two most notable effects are the amount of light it lets in and the depth of focus. The wider your aperture, the lighter your shots will be and the shorter your depth of focus becomes, allowing for shots where your subject stands out in focus while the foreground and background are blurred.

Shutter speed is how long your shot is exposed to light, or the length of time the shutter is open on a camera. A long shutter speed allows for eye-catching blur effects and lets in more light. A short shutter speed requires more lighting because the exposure is short, but it also allows for crisp shots—even for objects in motion—and prevents your image from becoming washed out if using a wider aperture in bright lighting.

6. Practice using photo editing software

One thing that surprises many amateur photographers is discovering that most of the incredible pictures you see from professional photographers dont look that good when taken. While its important to understand how to set up your camera, arrange your lighting and frame your shots, the final touches that truly make a photo professional usually take place in a photo editing program.

Photo editing allows you to take a great deal of control over your final image. From adjusting lighting or contrast levels to boosting or even altering the colors on display, editing provides the final polish that makes professional pictures stand out.

Just as filters on social media apps allow for quick touch-ups that make your pictures look better, editing software often has simple adjustments that you can apply with just a few clicks. For the best results, however, learning how to manually apply adjustments gives you full control of your final product.

The benefits of taking professional photos

Photography is one of the most versatile skills you can master, and you can apply the skill to nearly any field. In the modern business world, every organization needs to have a professional-looking website, and you should also take advantage of social media to help expand your reach and brand loyalty. When deciding how to market your business online, using professional photos can help you make a strong first impression on your audience.

The question, however, is how to get those photos. Paying for an outside photographer can be pricey, so learning how to take professional photographs yourself can help you provide your business with the high-quality pictures you need without adding to a projects budget. Taking your own professional photographs also provides you with full control over the photos available to you without needing to account for your photographers availability.

Tips for taking a professional photo

To become adept at taking professional photographs, you need to keep a lot of different things in mind when you bring out your camera. Follow these tips to start improving your skills:

FAQ

How do you take professional headshot photos?

I’ll tell you how to do it.
  1. Polish yourself. …
  2. Find your location, find the light. …
  3. Use your camera on a self-timer, or grab your spouse/best friend/neighbor/anyone to take the photo. …
  4. Pose differently, smile and try different clothing options. …
  5. Edit, export and update those channels and files!

What is a professional looking photo?

Typically, this means a dress shirt for men; a dress, blazer, or nice blouse for women; or a suit for either gender. Choose solid dark colors like blue or black, and don’t pick anything with a pattern that’s too busy. Avoid wearing a strapless dress, top, or anything else too revealing that will make you appear naked.

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