Blogging, Link Party, Photography

How to Take a Head Shot Without Regretting it the Next Morning

*I recently migrated from my blog and some pictures didn’t make the move. So please excuse the words where pictures should be but I don’t have the time or energy to find the pictures. 

I don’t take a good picture.
I talked about it here so this will surprise no one who reads here with regularity or those who follow me on my personal Facebook.
The only good pictures of me are those in which I took the picture myself or orchestrated the edit.
Meaning I said, LET ME SEE THAT and told the taker of the said picture to take another one, delete the old one or just blow the camera to itty bitty pieces.

I am not photogenic and never have been.
When I got married two different times, my biggest fear was not tripping on my veil, getting my period on my wedding day, or whether the minister would show up.
It was a simple fact that I had to get my picture taken.
Lots of pictures taken of mainly me was my biggest nerve wrack on those two days of my life.
I may have even sarcastically mumbled, “I just can’t wait to weed through picture after picture of me with my eyes closed, my triple chin, my crooked smile. Yay me. Pass the bourbon.”

So when I started writing a blog in 2010, I didn’t even think about pictures because see, WRITING.
It was after a few months of having the obligatory Blogger logo in where my picture should be, that I realized I should probably pop something in there.
I wrote a post about how little I know about blogging a few years ago here and shared how little I also knew about creating a good profile picture.

I used a picture of myself pregnant as my first ever profile picture…….


Pregnant me headshot. WHAT IN THE HELL WAS I THINKING?
I look high. And not off of those good pregnancy hormones either.



…….two solid years after having the baby.
I don’t even know what to say.
The world’s first view of me as a blogger was eight months pregnant at my cousin’s wedding, looking stoned.
I’ve even used a picture of my husband’s amazing chocolate chip cookies as a profile picture in 2011 to get out of showing “you”, “me”.

I was an amateur, yes, but I went to extremes to not take a picture of myself.
I know how I look in everyday life, and I am happy with that.
If you would have run into me on the street in 2010, you wouldn’t even have known who I was because I was two years removed from pregnancy and wasn’t smoking a joint.
I figured I needed people to know exactly who they were reading.
Not some constantly pregnant lady who likes bold prints and ganja.

But I refused to have a professional take my picture because that’s like hiring a calligrapher to write your personal diary.
Plus, I didn’t want it to look so much like a headshot, or impersonal because my blog is about being really real.
So I took it into my own hands.
First, having my husband take my pictures for two separate profile pictures, then turning to myself to do it because asking him to take 589 pictures was a little much.


Creating the perfect head shot means lots of outtakes.

Yes, I take that many pictures to find one good one.
It’s the least I can do for myself and for you.
It’s a public service, trust me.

This is all you will need to take your own headshot for your blog, your resume, business card or even for yourself because you are one sexy beast and they should document it.


Your favorite camera

I use my seven-year-old digital camera to take my profile pictures.
I have used my iPhone camera and my big girl camera.
But it’s really hard to take a selfie with a big girl camera.
And it takes a lot more work to get the pictures from my iPhone via email to Picasa… by one instead of uploaded all together than it does from my good old digital camera, “Joyce”.
I’ve named my digital camera “Joyce” because she is so very underrated.
Much like one Joyce DeWitt of “Three’s Company” fame.


courtesy of


Reliable, always there for you, you can always ALWAYS count on Joyce.
Well, Janet.
But Joyce in actual life and my camera just feels more like a Joyce than a Janet.
Anyway, Joyce’s character was typically shadowed by Suzanne Somers’s character.
Just like my “Joyce” is always shadowed by the iPhone.


 A backdrop

This could be a cool blanket you love draped over your refrigerator or a cool front door you painted two years ago.
I use my green door because I love that damn thing.
I want to be buried with that door.
Slap me on that door and save the money on a pine box.
So I shall be photographed by my green door as long as the green door is in my life.
I also get glorious light in front of my house where the green door lives, which is key to taking a great headshot.



I usually choose dark, or neutral colors because my backdrop is a bright green door.
I don’t want to outshine that beautiful door.
But pick something you love to wear or something that if you ran into a reader/friend/pastor at the supermarket that it would be realistic for you to be wearing.
IE- maybe not the time to wear the fur stole or the feather boa.
Unless you rock that every day and to that I say, you are the sh@#.
And I want to be friends with you.
By the way, I totally want to bring back the Glamour Shots of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Maybe this is the year to do it……..

Below was my first “real” headshot that I took with the help of Joyce:


Just another head shot in front of my green door.


I picked this apart too…my hair looks fuzzy; I have lines under my eyes……but out of the 600 I took, this was one of three that I liked.
This was before I became best buds with Pic Monkey, though!
Now you can be your own professional photographer/editor with tools like red-eye reducer, teeth whitener, and even a nip and tuck feature to shave off the triple chin!
I haven’t done that yet because if I did, you wouldn’t even recognize me.

In fact, here is the same picture after doing some fun editing:


Pic Monkey is boss for head shots.

I have always wanted a purple streak in my hair so with this tool I can!
And so can you!
Pic Monkey will be your best friend in the editing process.
But before you get to the editing, you need to shoot some pictures.
Here are some tips:

– shoot the picture early midday

Not early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
This works out well if you are taking the picture in front of your door because no one is home in my neighborhood around that time.
There is nothing more embarrassing than trying to explain why you are taking 600 selfies in front of your bright green door at 11 in the morning.
Except to have to explain it to the FedEx guy.
True story.


I stand on my coffee table to get the perfect head shot. Don't you?
Yes, I have stood on a coffee table to get a better shot. You’d do it too if you looked like Al Capone in pictures.


– take the picture on a bright day

Cloudy days are okay if you have to, but the best days are when the sun is out but not clear blue skies.
Therefore I usually take my pictures in the fall because we don’t see the sun much here from November until January.
Then we see it for like two weeks straight, but I am coming off the ThanksChristmas food binge and don’t feel so much smiley for the birdie at that point.
So I wait until fall so the bloat is off and the summer glow is still kinda there.

– take a gazillion pictures and don’t keep looking at the camera while taking them

Meaning, check them out some 500 pictures later.
Change your position, look up, down to the side, smile, frown, make goofy faces.
One of them will turn out well, I swear.
I heard once, a long time ago, that before you smile for a picture, move your face all around to get the muscles loosened up.
That never worked for me, but you try it and see how that goes.

Head Shot Creepy Eyes

I took the above picture when I was trying to show a friend I had pink eye back in 2012/13.
So I used it for my blog, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook profile picture for like, a year.
Then my friends were like, “seriously we get it, you had pink eye, it’s creeping us out” and I took it down.
My idea of artsy creative and others are totally different.
If you don’t care what others think GOOD FOR YOU!!!
If you are me, however, ask your personal friends and family to be the sounding board.
But don’t get offended when they say, “what are you looking at?” or “Ummm why are you staring at my cat in the corner of the room”.

So go out there and take your own picture!
Don’t be afraid, I know you can do it!
Or come over to my house and I will take your picture in front of my green door.
I am sure I have some feather boa’s around here somewhere……that sounded a lot worse than it did in my head.


38 thoughts on “How to Take a Head Shot Without Regretting it the Next Morning”

  1. You funny nutball. I met you during the pinkeye photo phase, and I still love that photo! I also love your green door/green necklace photo. Why, oh why is it so painful to get a good headshot? It's on my to-do list as well. Mine looks like a yearbook photo where I have a bad streaky dye-job. Maybe we should get together and take pics of each other all day so we can capture each other "spontaneously".


  2. I strongly disagree! I think you take great pictures! You look pretty and happy in your pregnancy photo and not a bit stoned.:)


  3. Hello pretty lady. Now you know your next profile picture has to include boas and furs, right? Get the FedEx guy to take it so he has a good story to tell his wife and kids when he gets home from work


  4. I agree with Shannon, with the exception of thinking you might as well have the fedex guy IN the pic with you! And by the way, you look mahvelous!!!


  5. You are adorable, but I totally get this. I am not photogenic either. I hate getting family photos taken. I have to try super hard to look cute in a photo, and then I loo like I am trying super hard to look cute. Don't even get me started on candid photos.


  6. This is SO FUNNY! That green necklace is the best! I WANT. So glad I subscribed to your blog. Your wit starts my day off just right 🙂


  7. Um, I use a cartoon Simpsons picture for all of my social media photos because I hate photos that much. And now that I've read this, I just realized that the one real picture I have on my blog is now almost 7 years old. I am the worst at this. But you may have inspired me to try and take a photo that I will actually use. In which case, if that photo is wretched, it will be all your fault. But your photos are great!!


  8. This whole post is awesome. Love this: "I refused to have a professional take my picture because that's like hiring a calligrapher to write your personal diary." 😀 What's with being photogenic or not? I've never been. I am forever asking my friends and husband, "No, seriously. Do I look like that? I must look like that. THAT many pictures can't lie." Can they? One of my sons looks bizarre and the other looks like a model. I don't get it.


  9. I love when I post a selfie and people are all, "OMG you are sooooo cute!" because typically that's the one good one out of about 50 tries.


  10. I love everything about this post and it's impossible to list all of the things I love best. From the green door and lighting tips to the pink eye shots, I laughed, snorted, and nodded in assent through it all. I have to say that I've used the "Stop eating Thin Mints already" (<– paraphrased) tool in PicMonkey and agree that it ROCKS.Glamour Shots FTW.Lastly, Joyce Dewitt is prettier than Suzanne Somers.


  11. Thank you for these great tips! I, too am not photogenic…AT ALL. It’s sad but true. I don’t think there has ever been a photo taken of me that I like, ever.


  12. I always worry about the neighbors when we are slipping out front to grab a photo in good light. It’s silly in today’s age to worry at all, peopleare snapping selfies all over the place anymore. It is too funny. OLD PEOPLE TOO. Not like us old. You know…OLD.

    And I back space through comments on your blog all the time because they sound worse when they are read then what I mean.


  13. You’re too funny. I think you’re very photogenic and you did a great job taking your own photos. It took me a long time to redo my image too, so I totally get it. Thanks for sharing your photo tips/journey on Merry Monday.


  14. Haha blogger problems!! I just had my daughter take on of me and when she was done I said “is that really me?” I think I like the lady in the photo better then my real self!


  15. I read both posts about you getting your picture taken it’s so funny because, honest to god, I have always thought how cute you look in your pictures. I literally thought I wish I could look that cute when I take selfies! So…you may be a little biased. Do you know how hard it is for some of us to pull of bangs?! There was a good solid ten years when I was younger where I tried the bang thing, and it. was. awful.

    Here’s the deal, the blonde, the cute smile, the bangs, all make for an awesome picture to the rest of us! Also, you look like so much fun, just from your pictures. I legit smile when I see your pics, and not in an awkward let me smile so she looks away kind of way, a legit happy smile 🙂


    1. I miss the 80s. When I could fry the hell out of my bangs and even if they went awry? It STILL looked good.

      I love this comment more than any of the others.
      Don’t tell any of the others.

      Also, you’re really cute too.
      I feel like I should treat you to dinner and drinks now.


  16. I liked that you explained that it would be smart to do headshots early in the midday range. That is a good thing for me to know because I need to get some headshots done soon. So, I should find a photographer who takes a picture around that time.


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