Do selfies count as headshots?

Headshot Photography, Headshot Photography FAQ
Young Asian woman taking a selfie

Do selfies count as headshots?

A headshot in its simplest form is a head and shoulders photograph. So if we consider this basic definition, a selfie is a headshot. 

However, I would strongly discourage anyone using a selfie as a headshot, unless you’re a contortionist or your arms are 2 metres long! 

If you’ve ever taken a selfie, you’ll realise the hardest bit is getting the angle right. Capturing the right kind of expression where your face isn’t distorted can be really hard too. You’re often concentrating so hard that you end up with a weird and forced expression!  

In addition, the lenses built into most smartphones create a wide angle shot and when the camera is close it tends to distort your face. The headshot may look like you, but it definitely won’t show you looking your best.

If you’re going to take your own headshot, here’s a few simple tips to help you standout and look your best.

  1. Ditch the smart phone and invest in a camera with a lens that’s been designed for portraits and headshots. A focal length of at least 50mm (on a full frame camera) is ideal and will reduce any distortion, resulting in a more realistic headshot. 
  2. Look for great lighting. Typically soft light that wraps around the subject’s face is used for a headshot. Window light on a cloudy day is a low-tech solution and creates beautiful soft light which is great for headshots. 
  3. Capture the right expression to communicate personality, confidence and approachability*. This is where a professional photographer can really help you turn an average headshot into an extra special headshot. 
  4. Choose your background carefully so your headshot pops. Look for clean and simple backgrounds that won’t detract the attention from your face.  

*You might intentionally decide to communicate a completely different set of characteristics. This is absolutely fine too if it feels aligned to your business or personal brand.  

So while selfies do count as headshots, it really isn’t the best option. If your personal brand is important to you, I’d keep your selfies for a night out with your friends, and find a professional photographer for your headshot. 

If you’d like to find out more, I’ve written a series of headshot photography FAQs. Clients often ask me these questions, so I hope you find them helpful.   

If you prefer a chat instead, or you’d like to plan a headshot session you can book a complimentary consultation call here. 

Learn more about headshot photography and the other services I offer including business storytelling photography, personal branding photography and corporate event photography.

Photo source: Unsplash (Good Faces)