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DIY Headshots & Profile Pics

Our community of customers and creatives know all about headshot success -- whether it's picking the perfect blouse-blazer combo or getting that light just right. No studio? No problem. These tips from experts we know and love will make sure your next DIY headshot is picture perfect.

1. Hairstyling

A few quick & easy steps!

2. Keep It Real Make-Up

Improve your signature look with the right prep and products.

3. What to wear

It's all about the right color, comfort & confidence.

4. Getting The Shot

Lights, camera, relax.

  1. Easy, Effortless Hairstyling

    by KAYLA CAPONE, Hairstylist


Any tips/tricks for polished and professional hairstyling?

Using the right products for your specific hair type and good brushes. Good brushes are key! After applying your product, rough dry your hair to get about 80% of the moisture out. With your hair almost dry, finish off with a round or flat brush. Try choosing a brush with boar bristles. This will really help you achieve a polished look and prevent damage.


What are go-to hair products you recommend for achieving certain looks?

- Kevin Murphy bedroom hair: a flexible hairspray and texture spray in one! Creates the best texture on all hair types.
- Kevin Murphy shimmer shine: repairing hair mist that adds lots of shine
- Kevin Murphy body mass: leave in conditioning treatment that thickens hair while preventing breakage.


What is a big no-no hair-wise for headshots?

Too much hairspray! Too much hairspray creates a stiff look and flyaways. Your hair should have bounce and movement to it


  2. Your Best Natural Makeup

    by JEANNIE VINCENT, Makeup Artist



Tips and tricks to get a natural makeup look?

Less is usually more when you’re going for a natural look, especially when you're in person. When you're having your photo taken, you can be a little heavier handed though and wear a bit more makeup than your usual go-to. The basic steps to consider (after prepping your skin) are to even out your complexion with a tinted moisturizer or foundation and some concealer, fill in brows if needed, curl the lashes (always!), wiggle mascara on from the very base of the lashes out, add a bit of bronzer and blush, and go for a nice tinted lip balm. If you’re wearing eyeliner, I like to keep it darker and more defined along the top lashes, and a little softer and smudgier on the lower lash line. This of course really depends on eye shape though, so do what you feel looks best on you. A note about skin prep -- if you are used to using face oils for moisturizer, try dialing it back a bit before applying your makeup. I find a water-based lotion or cream works better to hydrate under makeup and won't make the products you put on afterward slide right off. A favorite priming moisturizer is OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream.


How do I avoid looking too shiny or too matte?

While a dewy glow is ideal in my book for in person, too much glow can come across as looking overly oily in a photograph. If you have normal to dry skin, use a little loose powder through the t-zone (forehead, nose and sides of nose, chin) to offset any unwanted shine. If you are very oily or prone to looking extra shiny, press some pressed powder in t-zone or over any areas that produce the most oil. I don't like to go overboard with powder (unless you absolutely hate the look of dewy shine to the skin), but use enough to do the job for the camera, which is usually a bit more than you would wear in real life. Remember you can always add more if needed, so start small and take a test shot if you can. If it’s the end of the day and you have a lot of oil built up on the skin, blot it away first using blotting papers or a tissue, then do a dusting of powder. If your skin is looking too matte/dry or over-powdered, spritz yourself with a face mist or dab a little bit of moisturizer on top of your makeup. It may sound strange but just a little bit can work wonders to refresh your skin, particularly on any areas that show finer lines aka signs of dehydration. Not all formulas play well together though, so if you’re going to try this trick, do a test run first.  


What's the best lip color?

The best lip color is the one you feel most confident wearing! A good way to figure out a natural lip color that will suit you is to really assess the tone of your lips and find something a step or two deeper but in that same family. I’m a big fan of tinted lip balms because you can play with different colors without the full commitment of a lipstick.


What is a big no-no for headshots?

I wouldn’t recommend trying a look that is a complete 180 from what you usually wear. It’s great to try new things, especially with makeup—it washes off, after all!—but if you’re used to being in the world bare faced (you know, besides a face covering) you won’t feel yourself in a full face of makeup. Likewise if a red lip is your signature lewk, wear it for your photo or you’ll probably wish you did.


What are products you recommend?

My go-to products for doing my own makeup for a photo include the following: ILIA True Skin Serum Concealer, ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation, brow pencil, clear brow gel, a little eyeliner smudged on the top lashes, curled lashes (Kevyn Aucoin, Shu Uemura, or Troy Surratt Lash Curler are my 3 faves), Kosås Mascara for big fluffy lashes (or ILIA Limitless Lash for a softer and more smudge-resistant look), Henné Organics Lip Tint on lips and/or NOTO Multi-Benne Pot dabbed on lips and cheeks. For powder I like Burt's Bees or Alima Pure.


  3. Dress For Success

    by JENNY RUDIN, Designer



How should I choose what to wear?

Pick pieces you reach for again and again. Wearing something you love is going to let your confidence shine through. Stick with slim or fitted blouses as extra volume detracts from the main event -- you! A crisp white shirt or printed blouse with a tailored blazer on top work great if your office is business-formal. And don't forget pants! Even though this is a waist-up shot, pulling the whole look together is always a good idea.


How should I think about color, prints and fabrics?

I'd recommend dark or neutral colors that aren't distracting, tonal prints or textured tops like our Zig Zag Knit. Steer clear (just this once!) from big, bold prints or shiny materials that will catch too much light. Say 'no' to shimmer or metallics and 'yes' to tonal plaids or tweeds, especially if you need to wear a blazer or jacket for the shot.


What about jewelry or accessories?

Definitely! A nice, minimal pair of earrings or dainty gold chain will differentiate your shot from others', especially if they will all be featured somewhere together. I wouldn't go for a neck scarf as that will crowd your face, especially if you plan on wearing your hair down.


  4. Getting The Shot

    by STEPH LARSEN, Photographer


For indoor headshots, should I be taking my photos under a white or yellow light?

Indoor headshots are definitely best close to a wall by a window. Daylight is the best for a natural light glow! It is nice if the sun isn't directly hitting you and you have a nice, soft fall off of light. Overhead lighting or lightning with a color cast can look a little funky so I would try and avoid that.


What’s the best time of day to take photos outside?

The morning between sunrise and 10 AM, and after 2 PM is best for outdoor photos when the sun is out! This avoids the sun when it is at its highest, which would cast finicky shadows on your face! It is also great to take the photos on a cloudy, overcast day for a nice soft light!


Any self-timer picture taking tips?

Self timer can be really tricky. Make sure you have your phone on a surface that is not leaning or angled in a weird way. It would be worth it to get a little phone tripod or accessory that props it up if you go this route!


What’s the makes a good background?

It is nice to do your photo right up against a wall if you are doing one that is close up! That will create a nice even background! If you need to see the background, make sure there is nothing in the corners of your frame in the background that are distracting! Really look around the frame!


Any pose suggestions?

Relax the shoulders. You could turn your shoulders to the side a little and keep your face and neck straight on to the camera for a flattering angle!


What is a big no-no for headshots?

I would say a no-no would be doing a dramatic change in your look for the photo, like straightening your hair for the first time in 2 years when you have been wearing it curly, or putting on a bright bold lipstick if you're not a lipstick person. Do what feels authentic to you in this moment!