Whether you need a head shot for a social network page, want to show off a new hairstyle or dress or snap a picture of yourself in a fun setting, your camera is always ready. But if you’re like me, you’ve deleted more “selfies” than you’ve ever shared.
I finally got serious about learning how to take them – and realized, of course, that I was doing it all wrong. Not that I want to flood the internet, but if I ever want to join in the fun, I want to be ready! Here are the best tips I found that produced pretty good results.
Indoors, think natural light – ideally a north facing window or soft incandescent type lamp – that lights you from the front. Side lighting can be okay in a bright room but be aware of unwanted shadows when the room is dark. Avoid overhead lighting entirely as it will create under-eye shadows.
Outdoors, just avoid looking directly at the sun so you won’t have to squint. Back to the sun can also work as long as there still is enough light on your face.
It’s unanimous that you should avoid using a flash. If you’re in a darkened area, however, hold the camera as far away as possible without contorting yourself.
Front facing or shooting slightly from above will produce the most natural or flattering shots. Never shoot from below or too high since this will cause all sorts of unflattering distortions. For shots from above, the camera should be no more than a 30% angel facing downward toward your head. For straight on shots, keep the lens at eye level. Or try tilting the camera at an angle to the left or the right for an interesting off kilter effect.
Hold the camera close up to fill the frame for head shots. If you’re taking a full length shot or want to include some of the background, hold the camera further away but keep your elbow slightly bent. If you stretch your arm too far, it can affect your body’s position.
Yes, it’s mostly about your face but it always the neck that messes things up. Forget the jut your chin out and up advice since most will stick out the chin too far. Think pulling your ears forward instead. Turning or tilting the head a bit will slim your face. If you have a “better” side, that’s the direction in which you’ll want to turn. A one quarter turn is perfect letting both eyes show and your nose to balance properly on your face.
If it’s a full length picture, don’t let your arms lie flat against the body or rest on the waist. Hands on the hips is a good position. Turning your shoulders a bit and placing one leg slightly in front of the other creates interest and a slim line.
In all cases, it’s best to look directly so that means tilting your head up for a shot from above (another neck enhancer!). And don’t forget to smile!