This past week we discovered a post from The Muse which gives some good tips on how to get a nice headshot even if you don’t have access to a professional photographer. Since an excellent picture is the foundation of any great about.me page, we’ve adapted our tips for about.me pages and have shared some examples of our favorite photos as well (like Tim Ferriss in our header photo).
The rule of thirds
As you are contemplating the set-up for your photos, remember the rule of thirds or the guideline that says your picture should be divided into thirds in order to perfectly capture a person and their backdrop. Ideally, a person sits nearer to the left or right third of the photo (as Tara R. Hunt does below) leaving more space on one side. For your about.me page, this is especially useful to make sure you don’t cover your beautiful face with your bio box. For more in depth tips on the rule of thirds check out our post on the subject.
Who are you?
Before you even sit down to take your picture, you’ll need to plan how you want to be perceived. Do you want to be seen as serious, fun-loving, creative or adventurous? If you’re a painter, maybe you want to show off your art as well as yourself in the picture. Do you live and breathe music? Then maybe a picture of you and your instrument or microphone would fit you well. It’s up to you and what you’re trying to achieve with your about.me page but it’s okay to play around, add props and other fun elements to your photo.
Choosing a setting
The setting you choose for your picture can help you show off your personality even more, though it can be tricky to get outdoor shots. If you’re trying to get a great shot outdoors, plan your photoshoot at the photographer’s “Golden Hour” the hour before sunrise or the hour before sunset. This creates a great natural light which is less likely to cast crazy shadows on your face.
If you can’t get a shot outdoors, don’t worry. Indoors can sometimes be best since you can more easily control the lighting and sometimes choose a more neutral or less distracting background (think a plain colored wall or backdrop like the one Christopher Rampey uses below) that doesn’t distract from your personality.
As in outdoor photo taking, lighting is also important. Photographers recommend turning off your flash as it can be harsh and also cause shadows and trying to find the right amount of soft indoor lighting or natural light. You might have take your pictures over a couple days, at different times for the correct effect, or make adjustments to your lights or blinds but you’ll eventually find that sweetspot.
What to wear
Once you’ve decided the setting for your picture, you can start to think about your wardrobe. For more formal photos, a suit or nice shirt or blouse are best. If not, there are some color and pattern guidelines you might want to follow. According to photographers, blue, green, purple and burgundy are best as are solid colors. Also try to stay away from patterns as they can be distracting and could quickly make a photo seem old once that style goes out of fashion. Chose clothing which will make you stand out from your background, not blend in. For example, if you’re shooting on a blue backdrop, as Helena Price below, don’t wear a solid red shirt. Finally, be comfortable in what you’re wearing, if you’re uncomfortable or wearing something usual that doesn’t fit with who you are, it will come across in the picture.
Practice makes perfect
While it may take some time to get just the right photo you want, the exact shot, lighting smile, remember to have patience. Keep practicing and taking tests shots until you get that one photo which you really like. It will be worth it to have a picture which captures the authentic version of yourself that you want to display to the world.