Put down your arm and step away from the smartphone. When it comes to social media profile pictures, skip the selfies and opt for a polished photograph that will impress everyone with these five tips from professional photographer Frank McMains.
- Ask for assistance. Enlist the help of a friend or a tripod. Your arms just aren’t long enough to take a professional-looking image.
- Use the space you have. When you’re taking a profile picture, fill the frame and consider the law of thirds. Your image should take up about two thirds of the total available image space. To fill the rest of the space, you can include objects and belongings that say something about you, or leave a portion of the photograph as empty space.
- Employ natural light. Light emitted from a smartphone’s flash is limited and can make you look flat. Instead, take a photo using a room’s natural light or find a nice shaded shot outside.
- Skip the straight-on shot. Create an engaging, flattering photo by posing with your head turned slightly to one side or the other. Looking somewhere other than directly at the camera can create depth and vary areas of illumination. Also, avoid extreme close-ups of your face and full-body shots.
- Include some context. Do you have a favorite activity or hobby? Perhaps you’re an avid rock climber. If so, have a friend take a picture of you doing what you love. This will give others an insight into your world, as opposed to a self-inflated selfie.
— Adapted from “5 Tips for Taking a Better Social Media Headshot,” Frank McMains, Reputation Capital Media Services.