how to shoot headshots

10 Easy Steps to Create Amazing Headshots

Headshots – The Challenge

If youre like me, the thought of finding a photographer and having headshots photographed is a challenge.  Will it be expensive?  Will you actually LIKE how you look?  And will you get all the files you need with the permission to us them as you choose?   If you’ve got a DLSR camera and a nice lens or two, or a friend with the gear, wouldn’t it be great to be able to tackle this yourself?  



The Good News:

I’ve narrowed down what I believe are 10 easy steps to shooting pro-looking headshots, even if you’re not a pro.  If you have a basic understanding of how your camera works, you should be able to take some amazing headshots.  You’ll be able to take as many photographs as you’d like, you won’t end up paying for something you don’t like, and you’ll own the full copyright so you’ll be able to use the headshots however you choose! 

Follow along for successful headshots~

We’re going to assume that “Mary” wants headshots.  Here’s how to tackle it.

First – What you’ll need:

Two people.  One to take the headshots.  One to be in the pictures.  (Yes, you could set up a tripod and do this all by yourself, but it adds some new challenges I won’t be covering here)

A Camera.  And a little bit of understanding on how to change settings on it.  Have the camera instruction book handy if you’re not very familiar with how to adjust the settings.

A good lens.  Yes, This is pretty vague.  So I’ll narrow it down.  You’ll need either a zoom lens that roughly covers the 70-200 mm range or a fixed lens that you can open up your aperture wide.

A good location: Look for surfaces that will bounce light around, and open shade.  You don’t have to find the perfect, picturesque location, because our goal in this exercise is to drop out the focus on the background.  

1. Know your goal

Ask Mary to scour Pinterest and create a board of sample headshots that she loves and represent the style she want.  Is she looking for something casual?  Formal?  You’ve got to know this before you begin. You can only hit the target when you know what it is.  Click here to see a sample board.  

2. Consider Clothing

Outfits should match the message you want to convey – and should work with your background.  Are you looking for casual or corporate style headshot?  A business suit on a beach would be wrong.  A sundress in a formal office setting would be odd.  Also, consider the body composition of Mary and advise her to dress accordingly.  If she wants to look slimmer, make sure she has long sleeves, solid color, preferably darker colors.  Watch necklines that are too stiff around the neck.  I personally prefer a lower neckline (but not too low).  Keep it classy.

 3. Location & Light

When you begin shooting, this is your #1 concern.  If your light is bad, your results will be bad, even if you do everything else right.  Don’t let the background be so much brighter than Mary that it gets overexposed.  Use light from above – not below.  Look for reflective surfaces to bounce the light onto Mary’s face.  As I mentioned earlier, look for open shade.


4. Get a little technical 

In most circumstances, you can likely shoot in Aperture Priority mode.  Set your aperture as open as you can.  For example, if you have have the choice of f8 or f4, choose f4.  If you have the choice of f11 or f2, choose f2.  The smaller the number, the more you’ll be dropping out the focus in the background. Now move back and zoom in (if you’re using a zoom lens).  This will drop out the focus on the background and bring your eye to Mary.  This is where you maximize the gear you have.  Zoom in as much as you can, which may mean stepping back more than you’d expect.  Open your aperture wide – possibly as wide as it will go (remember – you want a small number for your aperture).  In headshots, the focus should be on the person and the background should fall away.  If you need a refresher on getting good exposure – read up on it here.

5. Watch you speed

If you zoom in, you’ll likely see a drop in shutter speed.  Make sure your shutter speed is at least twice your focal length.  For example – if you are zoomed to 200mm, you need at least 1/400 sec shutter speed.  For longer lenses, I like to go 3-4 times the focal length because I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to holding the camera steady.  You could also consider using a monopod. Click here to see the monopod I use.   

10 Easy Steps for Shooting Amazing Headshots

6. Understand posing.

Ask Mary to sit up straight, and bring her chin forward a bit. For most people it’s better if they don’t sit straight on – facing the camera.  Ask her to turn her body slightly to the side, and bring her head back partway towards the camera.  This is slimming.  I haven’t met anyone yet who didn’t want to look slimmer.  

7. Shoot from slightly above.

Never shoot up at Mary, unless you like looking at necks and up noses.  It’s just not flattering.  For anyone.   Shooting from straight on is better than shooting up, but still may not get you the look you’re going for.  If you can get the camera just a bit above Mary’s face, you’ll see better results.  


8. Build confidence.

Most people are uncomfortable in front of the camera, and it shows.  Here’s where the photographer needs to really work with Mary.  Have her loosen up.  Laugh with her.  Tell her to shake her hair out, shake her shoulders.  If she complies, you’ll get her more relaxed, which will get you the look for your headshots that you need.  

9. Eye contact

Connect with the eyes in camera and viewers will connect with them in their headshots.  I know some people love the “gazing off into nowhere look”.  I personally don’t think that works with a headshot.  

10. Retouch just enough

Not too much. Photoshop is your friend.  You can use it to touch up blemishes, remove stray hairs, take out unwanted elements in the background.  Just don’t go overboard.  Avoid trendy looks.  Keep it classic.  Don’t over soften skin.  

 If you’re interested in seeing exactly how I edited these images, comment below or sign up for blog updates to get the scoop!

If you follow these tips and get some great photos, please swing back here and let me know!
And if you’d like to see some of these headshots in action, swing over to my friend Barbara’s blog, Hello Life ~ Family Living in Style.  


Greek Style Turkey Burger Recipe

This Greek Turkey Burger Recipe is an oldie but a goodie, because it’s been re-made without any artificial ingredients.Greek Turkey Burgers from Walking in Light Blog

Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book

For quite some time, this recipe has been a family favorite.  Even when my kids were little, they loved the flavors and gobbled up as much as they could.   The recipe originally came from a cookbook you may already have on your shelf.

Unfortunately, the recipe calls for an envelope of Italian salad dressing mix, and I could not find any at the store that did not have some kind of mystery ingredient.  I’ve learned that even “Natural Flavoring” is not something I want in my food, because that often indicates MSG.  

If you’re wondering why MSG isn’t good for you, I’d encourage you to study up on it more.  One simple way is to watch this video, by Russell Blaylock, M.D. The information is easy to understand, even for non-scientific types (like myself). It’s long, so I’d recommend putting it on while you’re doing busy work around the house. There are a few parts when you’ll want to look at the screen to see the charts he’s sharing, but for the most part, you can just listen.

Curious to read further? I’ve added his book to my “wish list” on Amazon. You can find the book here:

Now back to the turkey burger recipe.  It’s a little more complicated than in the cookbook, but it’s worth it, because it actually tastes much better when you make it this way.  It’s a multi-step process, as outlined here:

Step 1: Preparing the seasonings:


1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried basil

1 Tbsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp celery salt

a few quick dashes of pure stevia powder

1 tsp sea salt


In a small bowl, mix all of the seasonings together.  Set aside 1/3 cup for the burgers and use the remaining seasons in the Greek Salsa.

Step 2: Make the Greek Salsa


2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tsp extra light olive oil

 Seasonings mix (all except the 1/3 cup set aside for the burgers)

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 medium cucumber, peeled & chopped

1 small can chopped black olives (or use a larger can if you love olives)


In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegar and seasonings together.

In a medium bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.  Pour in the dressing and mix well.  Set aside.

Step 3: Prepare the Burgers


2 slices of sourdough bread, dried and crumbled (roughly 1/3 cup breadcrumbs) –
~ Look for sourdough bread that has just the basic, real food ingredients.  You can even make your own: here’s a delicious looking recipe!

1/3 cup onion, chopped finely

1 egg white, slightly beaten

1 Tbsp milk

1/3 cup seasoning mix

1 lb ground turkey

Crumbled Feta Cheese


Mix all the burger ingredients (except for the Feta cheese) together and form into 4-6 patties, depending on your preferences.  Cook them up, either on the grill or stove and make sure the turkey is cooked completely.  According to Consumer Reports, turkey burgers should be cooked to at least 165° F.  A simple [easyazon-link asin=”B00004XSC4″ locale=”us”]meat thermometer like this one[/easyazon-link] should do the trick to make sure the meat is adequately cooked.

To serve the Greek Turkey Burgers, I like to put the burger on a bed of lettuce and add sliced tomatoes and onions in addition to the Greek Salsa.  Add the crumbled Feta on top. 

I also serve my family pita bread on the side (as shown in the picture), but I don’t think it adds anything to the meal.  The burgers with the Greek salsa and Feta cheese are so flavorful, you don’t need the added bread.  And that’s saying a LOT, because I love bread! But if you must add bread, like the sourdough, look for a good quality pita bread, or make some from scratch.

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe from

chocolate chip, banana, muffins, gluten free

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

<h2 style=”text-align: center;”>Gluten Free Chocolate chip banana muffins

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana MuffinsThese Banana Muffins, I can confidently say, were a success. 

Rich, sweet buttery goodness on the inside, with a perfectly crunchy top.  At first I added some butter to my warm muffin, but I soon found that it didn’t even need it.  These are good to go – nothing needs to be added. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins


Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins


1 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
3/4 cup Organic Fair Trade Cane Sugar
1 tsp. Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt, Fine Ground
1 egg
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
1/4 butter, melted
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup ripe, mashed bananas
3/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips


Preheat your oven to 350º F

You’ll need two bowls for mixing – one for the dry ingredients and one for the wet.

In the “dry” bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking sugar and salt.

In the “wet” bowl, add your melted butter.  Into the butter, add you coconut oil.  If the coconut oil is solid, stir well until it is melted by the butter and mixed in.  Continue to add the egg, yogurt and vanilla. 

Mix your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients  – mix only well enough to moisten the dry ingredients.  Don’t over-mix.

Next, gently fold in your mashed bananas and chocolate chips.  Again, just stir enough to get the ingredients all mixed together.  

Grease your muffin tins or use [easyazon-link asin=”B00COWLXJ4″ locale=”us”]Muffin Cups[/easyazon-link] (or paper).  Fill them about 2/3 of the way to the top.  

Bake for 22-25 minutes.  Test for “doneness” by inserting a toothpick in the center.  If it comes out clean, they’re done.

Let them cool for a bit, and then eat them!   

This recipe is a modification of a recipe I found on

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