OK, new headshot for late 2021:

Jonathan Konrath headshot

Despite owning 167 cameras, I am not a photogenic person, and I do not like taking my own picture. But in the world of 100% remote work, most of the people in my company know me as the little icon next to my Slack chats or GitHub PRs. So, I had to do this.

I’d advise people to pay someone to do this for them. But, pandemic. So here’s a few tips and observations on taking your own headshot.

  • Gear: Canon T6i, 18-55 kit lens, tripod, wired remote shutter.
  • Lighting: I shot against a blank wall perpendicular to west-facing windows in the afternoon. No flash on this one. I did use a fill flash on some of my attempts, but I liked the shadow of the natural light.
  • In any portrait, look at the eyes (or the glasses) and you can see how it’s lit. The square windows of my loft are visible in the upper corner of my glasses, and I think that looks okay. A direct ring light reflection, especially when it’s right on the iris, doesn’t look great.
  • If you have coke-bottle glasses like me, turn your head slightly. If you look head-on, that weird distortion field will be on both sides of your face. Here, it’s strategically off to the side.
  • if chins > 1 (sorry) try this: right before you pose, look down, then look up, stretch your neck a bit, then put it back down into position.
  • I’ve used a very careful crop of the crown of my head which is a great tip for men of a certain age who can’t wear a baseball cap in their headshot.
  • Another composition thing to keep in mind is that most places you use your picture, like Slack or a G-Suite account, will crop it into a circle icon. If your picture is way off-center, you might be nailing the golden ratio thing, but it’s going to crop weird.
  • If you don’t want a smiling picture, smile or laugh right before you trip the shutter. It takes some timing to get it so you’re somewhat between a smile and a scowl.
  • Use a black and white filter to look sophisticated (and worry less about skin tone).
  • Breathe. Relax. Take your time and take many shots. This was seriously the best of 65.

I’d probably rate this picture a 3/5, but you should have seen the one I had on LinkedIn before this. Seriously, I went years with a carefully cropped image from a group photo of me and a half-dozen other people in a poorly-lit pizza parlor. I hope this one works better.