Taking a Professional Selfie

I am hoping to have a lot more AX content the 2nd half of this year. But until then…

I needed a professional looking profile picture for a while, but I have not had time to hire a photographer. So today I decided to try it myself.

The Setup
Below are tips for setting up a plain background.

I was able to do something similar by hanging two white pillow cases in my office window on a sunny day. The background ends up blurred so the setup doesn’t need to be perfect.

Homemade studio.

Taking the Photo
Use a camera with manual settings to control the shutter and aperture against the bright conditions. Keep the aperture fairly open so the background is blurred and you get a small depth of field. If your camera has a zoom lens, zoom between 50mm and 85mm. Take a number of test shots and look at the pictures on a bigger screen before taking the final photo. It is possible to do this on a phone camera.

Testing 1-2-3
Testing 1-2-3
iPhone 6 selfie camera.
iPhone 6 selfie camera.

Proper position of your chin and forehead helps accentuate your jawline and remove wrinkles from your chin and neck. This video by photographer Peter Hurley is a little long but taught me everything I know about sticking out my face. Basically you extend your chin and forehead slightly towards the camera.

What not to do.
What not to do.

Preparing Yourself
Shave, haircut, and a nice shirt. Try playing the Happy Song to get you in the picture taking mood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaWkh-lQ-kQ) or in my case I had my wife make me laugh.

My best smile listening to the Happy Song.
My best smile listening to the Happy Song. And I needed a little more camera adjustments.

Final Edits
Photoshop is too much for me, I tend to look for single-purpose apps when I need to edit photos. In this case I found one on iOS called FaceTune that worked great.

The final unedited picture.
The final unedited picture.

For the final picture, I removed blemishes, whitened teeth and eyes, and softened harsh wrinkles.

The Final Product
Not bad. If I set it all up again, I’d try to have a better light source on my face to balance out the picture. But the approach is fairly simple and can produce a good result.

A version of me.
A version of me.

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