In this guide, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about iPhone headshot photography.
Sometimes we don’t want to use a professional DSLR or mirrorless camera when we have to take a photo of ourselves. These days, the iPhone has similar capabilities to these high-end cameras.
But when it comes to using an iPhone versus a “regular camera,” there are some tips you should know. Let’s dive in!
We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):
Can You Take a Headshot with an iPhone?
The short answer is YES. You can absolutely take a headshot with an iPhone! The longer answer is that you need to follow some pro tips before you get your hands on the camera.
Canon DSLRs are considered the industry standard for photographers who want to take their craft seriously, but it’s not easy to convince everyone to invest $2000+ in a camera.
And let’s face it, if you’re trying to create an online presence (or you want to make yourself look like a professional), no one needs to know that your images were taken with an iPhone.
With the advent of apps like Photography Editor, Snapseed, and Instagram; anyone can become an award-winning photographer with just a smartphone and an hour of practice.
If your main concern is finding the best quality apps that will allow you to edit and enhance your photos, then check out this article that breaks down photo editing apps.
If you’re ready to take on headshot photography as a new skill, read on for 9 pro tips on how to get the most out of your iPhone camera.
10 iPhone Headshot Tips
1. Forget the Zoom
It’s easy to focus on getting close-ups for headshots, but it’s much harder to focus when your subject is up close.
Instead, pull back and make sure that your face or body is visible from the feet to the forehead.
If you really want a close picture of one eye or eyebrow, lean in until you get the object of your focus in frame, then take the photo.
Alternatively, if you’re really struggling to get a good headshot without zooming in on the face, try using an app that will allow you to blur out the background so that it’s not distracting from your subject.
2. Use Additional Light Source if Possible
Phone flashes are more than up to the task, but it’s important that you use an additional light source so you have some fill light to reduce harsh shadows and make the headshot look more appealing.
In the three-point lighting system, you have a key light, a fill light, and a backlight.
When it comes to taking headshots with the iPhone, then the key light would be the phone’s flash. For the fill light, you can use another light or natural lighting for ambient light such as a window nearby.
3. Use Apps That Improve Quality
There are many apps that you can use to enhance the quality of your images. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can create professional headshots using Camera+ and Snapseed.
If you’re looking for an easy way to improve the quality of your iPhone headshots, get Camera+.
The app allows you to take pictures up to 32 megapixels by just tapping on the screen. It’s also got a great auto-focus feature that will help you line up your image perfectly every time.
Snapseed is definitely the most versatile iOS photo editor, and it’s applicable to headshots. Go into brush mode and swipe over the parts of your photo that you want to brighten up (i.e., under the eyes).
You can also go into selective adjust mode and brush on shadows or highlights depending on what part of your image needs enhancing.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Good Lighting
You want to make sure that you use a good quality light source if you’re looking for professional results.
It’s best to use a lightbox (or something similar) and natural lighting if possible for your fill light — as mentioned in tip #2
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, on-the-go light source, try LED video lights.
If you want more of a professional look, purchase studio lights and modifiers like umbrellas and softboxes.
5. Frame Your Subject Correctly
Before you start snapping, be sure to frame your subject correctly. For a headshot, aim for the shoulder to a bit above the head.
You don’t want them too far away from the background, but if they are too close then you will end up zooming in to find somewhere for them to stand.
This is an amateur mistake that you must avoid at all costs!
6. Make Sure Your Subject is at the Right Angle
When you take your headshot, it’s important to make sure that your subject isn’t looking straight into the sun (or light source).
The idea here is to enhance his or her features and create a flattering angle.
When you’re shooting outdoors, take note of the sun’s position and make sure your subject is at the correct angle.
7. Take Lots of Shots and Experiment!
There’s no harm in trying lots of different things when you’re taking these shots, after all, practice makes perfect!
So don’t be afraid to experiment with lighting, angles, backgrounds, etc.
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself creating magic every time you pick up your iPhone!
8. Don’t Use a Dull Background
If you want professional headshots, avoid using a dull background.
This will make the difference between amateur and expert shots.
Get creative with things around you and try to create something unique that stands out from the rest.
We recommend using Photoshop to create your background if you don’t want to head outside and dig around the back of your garage.
9. Use a Tripod/Holder for More Stability
When you’re moving from location to location, it’s important that you don’t move too far and end up with blurry images.
You can solve this by using a simple tripod to hold your iPhone in place.
If you’re not able to get a tripod, then you can use anything that provides stability and will keep your subject sharp from head to toe!
10. Use Exposure Compensation
If your face is too bright or too dark, you can adjust the exposure compensation by tapping on the screen and sliding the exposure slider up or down to achieve the desired brightness.
Common Mistakes When Taking Headshots with iPhone
Now that we’ve covered some tips, let’s also take a look at some common mistakes people make when trying to take their own headshot with an iPhone.
1. Poor Lighting
The biggest mistake people make is having poor lighting. We’ve already covered ways to resolve this above but I wanted to state it again.
Lighting is so important and I’d say it accounts for 70% of a good photographer (if not even more).
2. Wrong Focus
Make sure the camera is focusing on your subject’s eyes, which should be in sharp focus. If the camera focuses on the nose or mouth, the eyes may appear soft or blurry.
3. Over-Processing the Photos
While the iPhone’s built-in filters and editing tools can be useful for enhancing your photos, it’s important not to overdo it.
Over-processing can make the photo look artificial and distract from the subject’s natural features. A little filtering is fine but avoid that “porcelain doll” look.
4. Ignoring the Background
The background of a headshot photo can have a big impact on the look and feel of the final image. Make sure to have a clean and uncluttered background.
Also, make sure there are no objects or lines that are coming out of your head or appearing to go into your head that are from the background.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Selfie OK for a headshot?
While a selfie can be convenient and may work for some purposes, such as social media profiles or personal use, it is generally not recommended for a professional headshot.
Are iPhones or Androids better for headshots?
The latest iPhone and Android models have advanced camera systems that can produce sharp, detailed, and color-accurate photos.
After reading about these 10 tips, you should feel confident in knowing how to take your own iPhone headshot photography.
This guide is also a part of our Headshot Photography Hub, so be sure to check that out for further headshot photography tips and insights.
Nate Torres is an entrepreneur, growth marketer, and photographer and writes mostly on those topics. Nate runs his own professional photography business called Nate Torres Photography. Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. He is also a photography speaker and author on Photofocus.