I am currently designing and building a new WordPress website for one of my clients. As WordPress sites are so visual I knew we would be looking to use a good set of photos, but realised that their last photo session had been 10 years ago (although they still look good)! Fortunately, we had budget for a professional photo shoot. But sometimes there isn’t budget, or time.  This has been the case many times on projects where we needed a photo of a graduate or manager who we couldn’t get to – so I developed a few guidelines to help take a decent photo. It could be a selfie, or better still – a friend or colleague would help. And a new photo is a great way to keep your profile looking fresh (how old is your profile photo?!). So here are a few tips for sharing!

1. find the best lighting

Shadows can be dramatic, but can also accentuate all the laughter lines, crow’s feet and bags under your eyes! If you can, face directly into or just away from the sun, the golden hour being sunrise or sunset when the light is low and the most forgiving. If you’re inside, find a window for natural sunlight as interior lighting can dramatically affect the colour tone – moving towards yellows or blues depending on the bulb type, and you definitely don’t want to use a flash if you can help it. And if you hold or angle a piece of white paper underneath your chin, that will create a natural bounce of light, illuminating your face, and also reducing the ‘double-chin’ effect.

Looking good?


2. be yourself

Practice in front of a mirror and work on a real smile – then no image will look bad, and it sounds weird, but try smiling with your eyes. It’s like smiling on the phone – don’t ask me how, but you can hear a smile. Think of a happy moment and use it.

3. avoid selfie clichés

No duck-lips face! Loosen-up, if you are using a timer or shutter release, walk away and then step into your spot again (make yourself a marker on the floor), that way, you’ll feel relaxed and look natural.

4. strike a pose (or nine)

Try out some angles to find the one that shows you at your best – try walking in and out of your spot either using a shutter release, timer, or better still – a friend or colleague taking the pics, this will help keep you looking natural too. Generally – and particularly for a selfie, the angle is one that’s slightly higher than your line of vision, turning slightly to the side rather than straight on.

5. using apps and filters

Try the Valencia [Instagram] filter, or the Afterlight app for editing camera-phone photos.

6. consider your background

Try and keep it clear and neutral – plain wall, or shrubbery, unless you want to describe yourself visually, for example a chef would be in a kitchen. So if it says something extra about you, or what you do, use it.

7. keep it simple

It’s a balance, you need to look engaging, natural and not too serious, people want to connect with you visually. DON’T wear fine checks as they can moiré in-camera, make sure your clothes are crease-free, hair is tidy, dust your face with some face powder or a little talcum powder to get the shine off your skin. Keep your shoulders down and back, this lengthens your neck and defines your jawline, and movement suggests energy. When your shoulders are back and you’re smiling with open eyes, you will look confident in your photo. Do a quick straw poll to find a favourite, and there you have it, a new profile photo.

by fuz