Tag Archives: Photography

Editing Your Professional Selfie

I’m a big fan of having a good professional picture for LinkedIn, Microsoft Teams, and other work-related online presence tools; as I’ve written about before. Many times people have pictures of themselves they like, but perhaps don’t have a professional background (because of the beach scene behind you).

Recently I’ve run across a couple of tools that within a few minutes can edit that vacation picture into a professional selfie.

Background Removal

I’ve tried to do background removal before in Photoshop, and that experience made me hate Photoshop with the fire of a thousand suns. But I found a free online tool called https://www.remove.bg/ that does the background removal automagically, only keeping a person in the shot! The process is simple, just upload your photo and download the result, sans background.

Remove.bg Screenshot

Note: I’ve noticed this website struggles removing the background between open earrings, but handles hair fairly well.

Background Addition

Now that you’ve removed that beach scene, you need to replace it with something, so you need a photo editor. (No, I’m still not using Photoshop. Still hate it and it’s not free.) For this step there’s a free online photo editor called LunaPic https://www.lunapic.com/.

Upload the photo from the Background Removal step, then navigate to Draw menu > Background Tool.

LunaPic Image 1.png

Then click on “use our patterns or colors“.

LunaPic Image 2.png

Now pick a color. Black, white, and grey are all excellent options. Click the Apply button when you’re happy with the color and save the photo.

Original Photo

Joel Leichty with Busy Background

Updated Photo

Here’s the result after removing the background and replacing it with a black one.

Joel Leichty with Black Background

More Colors

One other idea I had for colors is to use your company’s branding colors for the  background. Here’s the same image as above using SAGlobal Blue.

Joel Leichty with Blue Background

Cropping

LunaPic also has a simple cropping tool (Edit > Simple Crop Tool) – you’ll want to do a square crop and your eyes should be approximately 1/3rd the way down from the top.

LunaPic Image 3.png

Additional Examples

Here are some other photos taken with various cameras and settings showing the possible results. I tried to use some more complex background examples to show the results – in same cases it’s not perfect (my hair is losing some “spike”), but in general I feel this works quite nicely for a small profile picture.

I’m a dork.

Now I’m a dork with piercing eyes.

A recent picture going from a grey background to an SAGlobal theme color background.

 

Good luck; hope to see your smiling faces online!

Implement BI With These 394 Simple Steps

There’s a famous Nobel Prize winning study in psychology around Experience versus Confidence that is commonly known as the “Dunning-Kruger” effect. The study showed when we know a little bit about a topic, we initially rate our confidence level extremely high. As we attain intermediate experience, our confidence level dips way down. Then as we actually attain expertise, our confidence goes back up, but never quite as high as it originally was.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

I’ve certainly felt this way in many areas of my work and personal life. One of my hobbies is photography; it seems like many times the more photos I take, the lower my confidence level gets. It’s an odd and frustrating feeling.

2012 vs 2017. Maybe I’m improving?

Hello? The Title of this Post Mentioned BI?

About a year ago I was asked by SAGlobal to head up our Business Intelligence and Reporting group. “Great,” I thought. Grab some data, sprinkle in some Power BI, drill down-through-over-beyond, and let our praises be sung. Confidence level: 100%.

Then that dreaded Experience took over and started to teach me that perhaps there are additional lessons to learn.

Technology Versus Decision Making

Experience taught me that all the pretty graphs, data, and fancy user experiences are simultaneously important and irrelevant. There’s a lot of complexity that can be introduced around methodologies, user stories, maturity models, metrics, technologies, data science, and machine learning.

What really matters is how can businesses make more accurate, faster, and fact-based decisions? In other words, how can BI and Reporting improve the bottom line?

Many times the decision making process is buried in the hearts and minds of the people in the business. Turning soft intuitions and feelings into hard metrics and performance indicators is a process that’s longer term than just developing any single report. The most underrated part of a Business Intelligence solution is extracting the intelligence from the business.

Help Companies Make Better Decisions

Organizations may go through their own Dunning-Kruger lifecycle when it comes to Business Intelligence. Initially they see the latest and greatest tools, and Confidence is at 100%. Experience goes up, and there may be a drop in Confidence around their progress. Over time, key concepts and ideas are visualized in ways used to take a human to analyze and the Confidence goes sky high.

If the decision making process sounds intriguing to you, or fits someone you know, check out our BI Business Analyst job ad on LinkedIn. We’re hiring, and I’m 100% Confident you’ll love it.

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.
http://digital-photography-school.com/4-tips-perfect-white-background-high-key-photography/

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.

IMG_0036

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe3oJnFtA_k

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.
http://www.facetuneapp.com/

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.