Most travel bloggers have the art of landscape and food photography down pat – but what about people? Sally Whittle demystifies the art of how to take a great headshot… 

Having a good headshot can make all the difference to your blog’s “About” page and to your social media profiles – an attractive headshot can make you seem more professional, approachable, friendly and relatable. Try finding a sunset photo that does all that!

What’s the story?

We caught up with pro photographer Phil Tragen, who regularly takes photos for national newspapers, advertising and PR campaigns, and asked him how bloggers can get a great headshot.

Phil’s most important piece of advice is to consider what sort of message you want to send with a headshot – are you telling a story? What sort of personality do you want to convey? Who is your intended audience? That will affect the style and setting of your photo.

Tips from a pro

Here are some tips from Phil on getting a perfect headshot:

  • Headshots should be visually simple, usually just the head and shoulders (but always shoot a little more than you need, to allow for cropping later)
  • Pick a clear background –  rather than being in your room or at your desk, try being in front of a wall, or another clean, simple background
  • Struggle to look relaxed in photos? Lean against a wall. Foolproof!
  • If you’re using a DSLR with different lenses, the best lens for a portrait is a medium telephoto lens such as an 85mm
  • Don’t face the camera straight on – turning slightly to the side is often more flattering
  • You don’t need a professional light, but using a sheet of white card or foam board from a craft shop to bounce light from will reduce shadows and give you a more professional result
  • If you don’t have good daylight, use a blue filter over your lamp to mimic the effect – they’re available inexpensively on Amazon
  • If you’re wearing dark clothes, stand against a light background to avoid ‘blending’ – avoid patterns, especially if they’re very busy – the effect will distract from your face.

Thanks to Phil for some great tips – we’re looking forward to trying them out!