In Why You Need a Professional Selfie I talked about having the need to have a decent self-portrait or ‘selfie’ on your website, social media or publication to show the human face.
Maybe you’ve decided to get this done but don’t want to use a professional photographer or Uncle Eric who has a good camera.
In which case read on.
So just to refresh. In Why You Need a Professional Selfie I suggested that you need to
Decide what sort of self-portrait you think represents your brand best
A financial adviser or lawyer may want a more conservative head shot.
Or they may want a full-length portrait with business like clothes like jacket and trousers.
A social media site may wish to convey a trendy relaxed image. So, it may decide that, rather than have a headshot, an image of its employees being active may be better.
Whilst I have concentrated on websites and maybe social media you may also wish to use it for some printed marketing material or even billboards.
And that’s when the capability of the camera and printing become important
The four most crucial factors to getting a professional self portrait
I’m going to show you on a smartphone but any camera should do the job provided it works 🙂
Light is everything. If the light is dull or too bright the image can be too dark or ‘blown out’
(a term for images that have the highlights way too bright).
A tripod is undoubtable the best way if someone e.g. an employee, is not taking it for you
Make sure you select the correct pose. You may have to take several different images at different angles to get one you want to use.
Incidentally there is no rule that says you must use the same image across the all platforms and marketing material.
Set the camera up;
- Regardless of what the use is, make sure you have the biggest resolution. Much better to size down that attempt to upsize.
On the Samsung S series smartphone cameras for example you will find picture size next to the settings icon.
Select 16M or 12M or whatever the largest number is.
The resolution on the IPhone is set to maximum and has no adjustment from that except with the use of a third-party app.
Some other brands only give you the option to select large or high
Note: The front camera usually has a much smaller resolution than the main camera so avoid using it for this application
- Find the timer and set it to 10 seconds
- You can usually just leave the camera on auto if the light is pretty good. But you can change the settings on some smartphones. The only ones I recommend is possibly the ISO or exposure compensation.
- Mount the camera on a tripod or any other way you can find to mount.
I use the Joby Grip Tight Micro Stand a great little find that has a mini stand. It can also be fitted to a standard tripod head.
Set the scene
- Find a well-lit position. You can be creative by sitting or standing near a window and allow the light to be strongest on one side.
Alternatively, if you want to light up both sides, use a whiteboard on the side away from the light.
- Think about the background. Make sure it’s not cluttered and distracting to the eye.
Again, a whiteboard is handy. White (or off white) backgrounds are always the best way.
- Think about your position. Ideally you want to be slightly lower than the camera if possible to avoid unflattering distortion.
- Now comes the tricky bit. Unless you have someone else helping, you are going to have to focus the camera on your final position, be it a full length or head shot.
The easiest way to do this is to put something in that position and then focus on it.
- Just press the shutter button and then get into position.
- Take plenty of images trying different poses and maybe different locations. You can’t take too many!
- Review on your phone and add a filter if you wish. There’s plenty of them out there.
- Load the images onto your computer.
- Look for softness (slightly blurry), unwanted distractions or items and light
- Crop if required. You may need to crop for different applications.
- Upload to your website, social media or another platform.
- Discuss requirements with your printer if you are using hard copy marketing material.
Rinse and repeat if need be.
You may think you’ve got it right but there’s always room to improve.
Is there anything else you want to know? Did you give it a go?
I’d be really interested in any results that you wish to share.
Let me know in the comments below.