I’m camera-shy and it’s annoying. Everyone understands how important first impressions are, especially if you are in sales or attempting to build trust with prospective clients. Your profile picture is the only thing that people get to access when they are forming a first impression, so you know it had better be good!
For the longest time, I just couldn’t get it right. I spend hundreds of dollars at professional studios trying to get the perfect shot, but I still ended up with ‘goofy photo face.’ This year, I decided it was time to finally time to take a killer profile picture and so I did some research. And I was amazed to discover that there are tips and tricks you can use to show yourself in the best light possible.
Get your hair did
Great profile pictures happen when you feel confident. So put on your power suit, do your hair, use makeup, meditate or just have a stiff drink—whatever you usually do to make yourself feel confident and relaxed.
Seeing the light
Good lighting is perhaps the single most important factor in creating a professional profile picture and takes precedence over location. The best light is open shade so find a place where there is plenty of soft shade and where the light won’t make any strong shadows on your face. Ensure that your backgrounds are clear and don’t distract from the main feature; your face!
Strike a pose
Practice a few poses in the mirror so you have a general idea of what looks good. If you wish to look thinner, stand at a 45 degree angle to the camera. Raising your arms by placing your hands on your hips will also make them look thinner. Just take a cue from the ladies on the red carpet who know exactly how to pose for best effect. Avoid looking ‘closed off’ by crossing your arms or turning away from the camera.
Make your face the focal point as people like looking at faces. They especially like looking at your face and posts with pictures of the author’s face are more likely to get clicked on than faceless posts.
Blurry pictures don’t fly so use a tripod if you are taking a selfie and shoot in continuous mode for more challenging conditions. Good quality lenses will help and try for a low ISO (image sensitivity) to reduce the amount noise.
If you have a double chin, push your tongue up against the roof of your mouth to tighten it up. Wear neutral colours and avoid patterns as these can be distracting.
Smile! It really does make you more likable. If you are going for an open, friendly look, smile with your mouth open.
If your goal is to connect with your readers, then look directly into the camera. For writers or others who wish to direct attention to the content, look to the left in your pictures. Readers will automatically follow your eyes and then they will be looking at your content.
Plan ahead so that you look good and feel great on the day. You should have a very good idea of the kind of smile and pose that works best for you and ask your photographer to keep taking pictures between poses so that you get some informal shots too.