You’d think it’d be easy…just a smile and a click, right? Contrary to popular belief, taking a great-looking professional photo involves more preparation than that. Photos are a major part of your brand, and an inferior photo can make you look sloppy or unprofessional—exactly the message you don’t want to send. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some quick and easy steps to a superior professional photo.
How to dress
Clothing is key and color scheme is especially important. We recommend staying away from patterns or stripes, which can overwhelm your figure and make you appear wider than you actually are. A solid, subtle hue that works well with your skin tone is best, as it says “professional” without overshadowing you or your personality.
For women, brightly colored makeup should be avoided, as it can look gaudy or unprofessional.
Hair for both sexes should be neat but not tight or overly styled. That is to say frizzy or stray hairs can make you look frazzled, but hair slicked back or gelled down can look frumpy, outdated and aging.
A Note on the Camera
If possible, you should request your photographer to have the camera no lower than eye level, as it will decrease the chances of producing a double chin and will look the most natural.
In addition, plenty of light is a must. Try and avoid direct light as it will not result in a flattering photo, which is why photographs should be taken in areas with background light but no flash. Flash is notorious for washing out color and facial expression.
How to Pose
Posing can be tricky, but there are some tricks to make it simple. Whether you choose to stand or sit in your portrait, you should convey a relaxed, assured persona. With this in mind, it is essential to be comfortable while taking a picture, which can be expressed with a natural smile, good posture and fingers slightly bent, rather than clenched in a fist or awkwardly straight.
Sitting up straight with relaxed shoulders can make you look both sharper and fresher.
The typical pose is to arrange oneself three quarters towards the camera with one shoulder angled closer to the camera. You should also lean somewhat towards the camera to suggest interest and attention. Just remember to keep your head up slightly to avoid an unattractive double chin.
Now it’s time to smile! Like your pose, your smile should be relaxed and natural. You should avoid both a wide grin and tight-lipped smile as both are distracting and off-putting to viewers.
We recommend either a natural closed-mouth smile or an open-mouth smile with your lower lip down and relaxed, but with no gums exposed. Whatever you do, don’t hold your breath as it will immediately make you look uncomfortable and uptight. A genuine smile is always preferred.
Now You’re Ready to Go
These tips should ensure a quality photograph and send out the message to potential clients that you are a consummate professional. As they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words.”