ProTip: Make Your Selfie Look Professional

 

If you’re part of the modern world of social media, you know that every platform requires a profile photo. If your business has a logo, it’s easy enough to scale or reconfigure that to a 1:1 ratio that’ll fit the square format required by most apps. But what if your business and brand are you?

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re a judgmental society; we judge books by their covers, and first impressions matter. While content is the most important part of social media, most people browsing through a feed won’t stop if the profile picture doesn’t look professional.

If you can’t afford a professional photographer, and you don’t have a nearby friend who can help you look good, you can absolutely take your own profile photo… without it looking like a Selfie.

Steps for Success

  1. Look your best. This doesn’t have to mean “fancy” or “done up.” Take your time to think about the image you want to project for your business. If you’re a professional (realtor, consultant, etc.) make sure your photo will reflect that. If you’re an artist (musician, poet, etc.), you can (and should) go for a more creative look.
  2. Find the right spot: well lit with a distraction free background. In a pinch, you can create your own backdrop by hanging a sheet from a tree, window, etc. If you need more light, use a mirror (or reflective car sun shade) to bounce more light onto your face.
  3. Don’t use a front facing camera. The quality is usually lower: they have fewer megapixels, most of them don’t have auto-focus, they don’t allow in as much light as the regular camera, and they sometimes force an odd perspective. (Note: you can use the front facing camera to gauge where you should hold the camera.)
  4. Find right angle. For most people, this is a three-quarter pose to camera, leaning forward slightly, with the camera just above eye level. This requires you to lift your chin just enough to make you look just a touch slimmer.
  5. Focus on your face. Look into or just above the lens. Try different expressions: smiling, laughing, thoughtful. This is where to let your personality shine.

 

Pet Peeves (for the love of whatever deity you worship, please don’t):

  1. Wear sunglasses (we need to see your eyes!)
  2. Use extreme makeup (unless that’s part of your brand, e.g. makeup sales)
  3. Take a Selfie in your car (this should be self explanatory)
  4. Wear gym clothes (unless you’re a personal trainer)
  5. Make “duck lips.”

With all that in mind, here’s my take on some of the quintessentially bad selfies I’ve seen.

protip-selfies

The final result:

maggie-mcgarvey-profile-photo

I found a pose which slimmed my jawline without making my eyes look huge. The background (a hedge) works well with the color tones I chose. My hair, while not perfectly styled, is suitable my somewhat whimsical writer/author profile, and the almost smile hints at intrigue.

 

Bottom line: your professional profile photo is your first chance to make a first impression. If it’s an honest reflection of you and your brand, that’s all that matters.

 

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