the opinions and musings behind the expertise
Posted: November 7, 2013
How to take a professional profile picture
We all know that not everyone likes to have their picture taken. There are those truly blessed individuals in this world that the camera loves and then there are those whose photographic relationship is more strained. Be that as it may, this is the 21st century and everyone’s image is online in some form or another. So, you'd better be sure that there is at least one good picture of yourself out there. We are going to quickly go through some DOs and DON’Ts that should help you along.
DON’T: Just use a photo you took with your phone at arm’s length (aka the ‘Selfie’). This looks lazy because guess what? It is.
DO: Get someone to take the picture for you. With a proper camera. Maybe even a photographer. If you are going to use it for business purposes then invest a little in yourself.
DON’T: Be impatient. If you feel like you are gritting your teeth to endure a photo session then that is how you will look. Relax. Breathe. Have a friend make you laugh. Just try to be natural.
DO: Take lots of shots. We live in the digital age, people, so there is no reason why you can’t take 50 instead of 15. It’s just the law of averages.
DON’T: Use a busy background. Pick something nice and neutral with no distracting elements behind you. You don’t need any photo-bombers or hilarious surprises that you only notice after the fact.
DO: Dress to impress. This should go without saying, but more often than not it really needs to be said. Make sure your outfit doesn’t blend into the background you’ve chosen. A dark suit against a dark background turns you into the great and powerful Oz.
DON’T: Have the camera flash directly into your face at close range. Not only does this wash out the picture but it also makes your face shiny and highlights every little crag and crevasse. Not to mention red eye (*shudder*).
DO: Choose appropriate lighting. Use a soft, natural light whenever possible. This will avoid hard, unflattering shadows.
DON’T: Put filters or special effects on your photo. You want people to recognize you, not to see some stylized, Photoshopped version of you.
DO: Find your good side. This may take some trial and error but you need to emphasise your best feature. As a general rule of thumb people tend to look better with their face turned at an angle with the camera above to avoid the dreaded double-chin.
By adhering to a few of these simple guidelines, you can have a photo for your online profile that you are proud of.
Make sure you update your photo on a regular basis. I know you looked so skinny in high school or had that great tan when you got back from Cuba, but people need to know how you look today. So suck it up and smile for the camera.