There are a couple main things to keep track of:
1. Make sure the lighting is good.
2. Make sure your expression is good.
3. Make sure it's been retouched so the background is blurred or not distracting.
So now let's go into detail about each one of these things:
How do you get great lighting with a camera phone? Good question. The most important thing to remember is directionality of the light. The direction of the light means essentially, from where is it coming from? Is it coming from directly overhead? Is it coming from below the subject? Or in front or behind?
My recommendation for a good headshot is to shoot it indoors in front of a window. Have the window directly behind the camera so the light fills in your face. Make sure whoever is shooting you stands with their back to the window, and you point towards them, so that all the light from the window fills in your face.
The other benefit to using a window light is that it's very soft and won't create harsh shadows. Soft lighting is important for headshots because it softens the features and looks more flattering for the face.
The tagline here at City Headshots is: "It's all about expression." Because a genuine expression is actually one of the most important aspects of a headshot, and in many cases, even more so than the lighting of the photo. If your smile is fake, you won't connect with the viewer and the shot won't be memorable. It will feel forced and because people won't be able to connect to you, they won't trust you.
A headshot should establish trust, credibility and experience. Trust is vitally important and can only be formed through a genuine expression of approachability and warmth.
So how do you get a real smile in your shot? Just laugh. Look at the camera and start laughing! Make sure your chin doesn't tilt up to high though. If you look at the photo and don't like the angle, try a different angle but still laugh. Don't just smile, actively laugh. I'm serious! If you don't your smile won't look real.
3. Professional Background
Just as important as the lighting and expression, the background of your headshot must also look professional. If you take a photo with a camera phone, because of the small sensor size, chances are the background will be completely in focus which means that the image will subconsciously scream "unprofessional!"
Make sure if you're taking the photo yourself that you either shoot against a wall with no distracting texture or pattern, or you retouch out the background and out yourself on a more professional backdrop. You can also choose to have the background blurred out so the focus is more on you and the image looks more professional in general.
Fortunately if you have the first two taken care of, we can actually retouch your image here at our studio for a good rate to make the background more professional which can give the headshot a more polished look for your LinkedIn page.
Remember, when you take a headshot yourself it's no substitute for a professionally shot headshot by a photographer with the right equipment who specializes in headshots, but it can certainly work in the meantime until you can afford a pro level photo.
If you are interested in learning how to shoot pro headshots, take a look at this book: