Is a selfie good enough for a headshot?

Is my selfie good enough for a headshot?

It’s 2023 – we’re in amongst technology at almost every waking moment. Covid-19 exposed us to remote working, remote learning, zoom calls, lockdowns and isolation. Our reliance on online communication is at an all-time high.

So when it comes to the way we represent ourselves, we have the most control we ever had.

Gone are the days of the darkroom, the 24-hour film processing, the pixellated point-and-shoot cameras. So what does this mean for our online image?

With technology so easily at our fingertips, we can update our LinkedIn headshots at any moment. There’s really no reason not to have an updated photo when we can take a selfie in a flash.

But is a selfie good enough for a headshot?

Let’s have a look!

Getting the right perspective.

Headshots are the first impression we have of you. You should be recognisable, but look your best.

One thing to look at with your selfie is the camera distortion. Different lenses will change the way you look.

A wide-angle lens photographs differently to a telephoto lens. Most portrait photographers use a lens between 80-200mm in length.

That doesn’t help for phone-selfies, but you should consider what your photograph does to your face. Sometimes front-facing cameras aren’t the best choice, as they’ll change your face slightly.

Check that your headshot looks like you.

headshot of melbourne dancer and performer smiling to camera.


Your headshot should have great lighting! What we want to see is your expression and your eyes.

Make sure your selfie gives a clear view of who you are. Avoid shadows on your face, and certainly no ‘selfie arm’ shadows either.

Good light is the key to a quality headshot, and photographers will manipulate light (either natural light, or artificial light), to ensure you stand out and look your best.

A melbourne actor headshot taken outdoors in natural light of woman looking directly to camera with a serious expression.

Sharpness and resolution

When you’re considering if your selfie will pass for a professional headshot, one of the first questions you should ask is: does it look like a selfie?

If the answer is yes, then you need to lift your game, and you should probably book a professional.

One of the first things people will notice about your photograph is the overall quality.

Your headshot should be sharp, clear and of a high resolution. Often, as good as phone cameras are, we can see a clear distinction in the overall quality of the headshot.

Melbourne business woman smiles while outdoors for personal branding headshot.

The split-second impression

Your selfie might be a great photo, but it’s not a great impression.

We have a split-second to make an impression on someone. It’s not long, and it’s not fair. But what we do with that short moment makes all the difference.

A quality photograph that is sharp, well-lit, and has a great expression will showcase you as professional and serious about how you represent yourself to others.

This is so important for employers, clients and peers.

Man smiles slightly a the camera, wearing a suit and tie on a dark grey studio background.

Do the comparison.

Photofeeler is a great online platform where you can rate and be rated. This is a wonderful tool to see how other people view your headshots.

You’ll be rated on competence, likeability, and influence, and will set the parameters for consideration (such as if your image is for business, dating, or social use).

There is the option to have your image voted on with ‘Karma’ (you vote on other photos and others will vote for yours), or to pay for credits.

Use the tool here: 

An image from Photofeeler showing the results from a headshot test, using a selfie. Competency at 6.2, likeability at 7.1 and influence at 6.3.
An image from Photofeeler showing the results from a professional headshot: Competency at 9.1, likeability at 8.5, and influence at 8.5.

A selfie might be making the wrong first impression.

Even if you can take a very good selfie, you need to consider the purpose of the photograph. If you’re looking for a professional headshot that will elevate your career, leave the selfies behind.

Proper lens choice to avoid distortion, the overall quality of a professional camera, and solid lighting will all portray you seriously, and help create that top first impression.

Find a photographer that you connect with, who has a style that you love!
If you’re in Melbourne, Australia, let’s chat about how we can capture a great headshot for you!

Published by

Julia Nance

Julia Nance is a headshot and portrait photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her vibrant creativity is inspired by her experiences. From photographing whales underwater to travelling in Europe. With a vast background in a range of photographic areas, it is Julia’s natural ability to connect with her subjects that ultimately drew her to the art of portraiture.Corporate Headshots | Personal Branding | Actor Headshots | LinkedIn Headshots |
Melbourne woman smiles confidently to camera, wearing a grey blazer and patterned glasses for a relaxed but professional linkedin headshot.
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Melbourne actress looks up at camera with a relaxed expression for a clean studio headshot.

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