4 headshots of different people

Every time you write a story about someone, you should take a headshot.

Every time. Always. It may never see the light of day, but you should still shoot it.

The headshot is the backup, the if-all-else-fails photo that will always work no matter what else happens to your other photos. If fits into any design, small and clear, quickly identifying what the subject looks like. It requires no special equipment or location.

While seemingly simple, the headshot causes trouble for many. Bad light, poor backgrounds, focus, and cropping all can ruin a simple shot. Here are some tips the next time you shoot a headshot.

Find a Window or Go Outside

Too many people rely on overhead fluorescent lights for their photos. A headshot gives you total control of everything. Window light coming from the side is some of the best light you can get. If you have to go outside, go to the shade, not the sun. Take your meter reading in the shade where your subject is standing so their face is properly exposed.

Watch Your Background

Remember, you can move your subject as you wish, so turn them so the least amount of clutter is behind them. A plain wall works well. Shrubs, if 10 feet behind, also work well, but too close and they will be distracting.

Shoot at Least 5 Frames

Hey, it is digital, it costs nothing, and you have a better chance of getting a shot in focus and with open eyes.

Shoot Vertically

Doing so gives Ruralite staff the room to crop top and bottom to fit better and keeps you from cutting off the top of the head or the chin. For those who use black and white photos on covers, that headshot could be the best option for the cover.