OnePlus shares tips on taking professional headshots with your phone

It's all about lighting, location and composition

OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei recently shared a forum post detailing tips on how to take a great headshot with a smartphone.

The post came as part of Employee Appreciation Day at the OnePlus New York office. Along with offering their employees in-chair massages and catered lunches, OnePlus videographer and photographer Brady R. took professional headshots for everyone who worked at the office with a OnePlus 6T.

Pei wrote in the post that having a good headshot is essential, as its often a first impression for those you interact with digitally. Whether on your LinkedIn profile, online portfolio or work email, that photo can make a significant difference.

Additionally, Pei noted having a headshot can be beneficial in today’s increasingly virtual workplace. Many companies have regional offices and remote employees working online. Having a professional headshot can help in managing communications.

With that said, here are the tips for taking that excellent headshot you need. These tips should work with any smartphone, although for the forum, Pei and Brady R. used a OnePlus 6T.

All about lighting and location

Lighting and exposure

Pei says it’s important to have a good backdrop behind you. Because headshots are often cropped in on the subject’s head and shoulders, you don’t need a lot of background space, but you still need something.

Pei suggests using a simple, neutral surface like a bare wall or frosted glass panel, especially if you have to take the photo indoors with inadequate lighting. You can use a lamp to ‘bounce’ light off these surfaces to help create better lighting.

If you have adequate lighting, a patterned or textured surface like brick, wood panelling or dense foliage can work as a background as well.

Speaking of lighting, you’ll need a spot with excellent natural light, preferably soft and even. If you’re inside, you can take a photo near a large window. If you’re taking photos outside on a sunny day, you may need to take the picture in the shade. Cloudy days provide great soft light.

Posture and expression

posture and expression

When it comes to posture, Pei says the subject should appear confident and have a calm, natural expression. Relax and slightly pull back your shoulders, incline your head towards the camera and tilt your chin down. This helps to create some separation between your chin and neck, giving you a more pronounced jawline.

For those struggling to achieve a natural-looking smile, feel free to put on some upbeat music, watch a funny video or engage in some light banter with the photographer, or someone else nearby. These strategies can help produce a natural smile.

If you need a serious expression, but don’t want to seem bored or gloomy, Pei says you should try thinking about your favourite food.

Composition and editing


It’s best to have someone else take the headshot for you. Ideally, you’ll want the camera at about eye level, or slightly lower. Further, Pei says you should have the subject’s eyes around the top third of the image. The photographer should also focus on the eyes.

On top of this, Pei says it’s better to shoot a wide and crop later than shoot too close. Make sure you take the photo from a reasonable distance and aim to have just the subject’s head and shoulders in frame.

Concerning editing, Pei says the goal is to have the subject’s face well exposed. You’ll want to play with exposure, contrast and saturation settings to get a result that looks natural.

editing for proper exposure

That’s all there is to it. Hopefully some of you found this guide helpful. Even if you’re taking a headshot with a DSLR or other camera, these tips can help you capture an excellent headshot.

To learn more and read other tips, check out the OnePlus forum here.

Source: OnePlus