Selfies and head shots – How to take a good one!

A week ago, it was all over the media that the word, ‘Selfie’ was chosen by Oxford Dictionary as the 2013 word of the year. By Oxford’s definition, a Selfie is a “photo one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Why would I post on how to take a good selfie? Well considering that it is the word of the year, I think that it is something that is here to stay. You may have seen on the news last week that President Obama and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt were caught taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. In poor taste? Yes. However, it speaks to the power of social media and everyone getting in on self-promotion!

The  Power Selfie!
The
Power Selfie!

When I look at other blogs or websites, I check out the photos on the About Page. If it is lame, then I automatically think the blog will be lame too. A realtor with a picture that is out-dated – also lame! A good headshot is something that everyone should invest some time and money in. No matter what type of work that you do, at least have a nice photo for your social media profile pictures! And it is pretty easy to do a nice one yourself. If you think you can’t take your own, there are plenty of photographers out there that can help you get a good head shot in 15 mins or less. Either for a small price or a big price – it’s up to you. I believe that a good photo or even a clever photo, establishes your brand and helps people to take you more seriously! So I guess this isn’t just about selfies but about headshots in general.

Self-portrait by me, 2012.
Self-portrait by me, 2012.

1. Any experienced photographer will generally shoot you top down. So they are above you and shooting down with you looking up. This way the light hits your face and you won’t have any jiggly neckline bits. It’s a great technique for selfies too. Do you ever notice when you accidentally turn on your camera phone and the lens is reversed and all you see is yourself looking massive and round.  It’s awful! That’s because you are holding your phone down and it is ‘looking up’ at you. I could have spent an hour on my hair and makeup and then I’ll catch a glimpse of myself with the self-facing camera and I’m ready to go back to bed!

Isabella 2010 or 11? Me practicing my photography skills...
Isabella 2010 or 11? Me practicing my photography skills…

 

Photographed, top-down looking up. Always best to avoid the chin- waddle!
Photographed, top-down looking up. Always best to avoid the chin-waddle! Photo Credit Amy Williams Photography

2. A nice background, preferably something with colour or nature can make a nice portrait or selfie. Many photographers have their favourite spots…..a beach, farm or park, that provides a clean, interesting background. Same goes for selfies. A patterned wallpaper, sky or outdoor shot often looks the best. Lots of this I have learned by watching photographers, but also from watching my daughters take some of the nicest images. Of course, teens and tweens are pretty darn photogenic, but its funny how they already have some of these things, like posing, down pat.

Isabella and friends doing a Grade 7 Grad photo shoot. All shot with iPhones.
Isabella and friends doing a Grade 7 Grad photo shoot. All shot with iPhones.

2. Lipstick and blush goes a long way. Even though light nude lips can be trendy, colour are your lips shows up much better in photos. Bright red shiny lips not so much, my preference is generally matte but it really does make your face look a lot brighter in a photograph and defines your lips much better.

Lipstick makes this shot - beautiful girl but I love the drama of the lip. Photo credit Cathy Empey Portrait
Lipstick makes this shot – beautiful girl but I especially love the drama of the lip. Photo credit Cathy Empey Portrait

4. Natural light can make a huge difference. It can be the most natural filter and make you look softer and prettier. If you are working with a photographer, ask if you can shoot outside on location or by a window. Soft natural light can really help to make you look your best. Remember this when doing Selfies too!

Beautiful dusk-y light. Photo credit Alanna Nicole Photography
Beautiful dusk-y light. Photo credit Alanna Nicole Photography

5. Lastly – If you stare into a camera lens and start feeling like you don’t know what to do or feel foolish, try glancing  down or posing profile, or even making a funny face! Sometimes these turn out to be the best portraits of all!

Beautiful laugh -Photo Credit Sam Chua Photography
Beautiful laugh -Photo Credit Sam Chua Photography

 

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