So, you’re stuck working from home and you’re doing all sorts of teleconferences and you’re seeing your profile picture a lot more than you used to…maybe it is getting auto populated from your work ID! No worries, I have your back (and your face) with three quick tips to take a better business profile picture while you’re at home.
If you already checked out my tips on looking better on your video conference meetings, these will all sound familiar…BUT, still photos and video are two different things.
As I have explained in my post about looking better in your Zoom meetings, lighting is of the utmost importance!
You want big, soft light! How can you achieve that? Windows are great for big soft light.
If the light from the window is too bright or direct, you may want to put a sheet or a show curtain over it to diffuse the light and make it softer.
If you can’t get window light, try using what light you have at your disposal. Turn on all your lights and remove anything that covers them that has color (lampshades, etc.) if it tints the color of the light bulb that color will show up on your face.
If you have white walls or ceilings, bounce the light off of them instead of pointing the lights directly at your face. Remember, the bigger the light the better and when you bounce the light off of a wall or ceiling, that makes the light bigger and softer.
If where you live is immersed in darkness and you need a light, check out the clip-on, USB powered, LED lights I mention in my post about better looking Zoom conference calls.
Make sure that most of the light is coming from behind your camera, not above you or below or off to the side.
In the photos above, the light is as follows:
LEFT: To my left coming in through a window, and not even on my face.
MIDDLE: From above and all around in a hallway. Again, not even.
RIGHT: Coming through a window behind my phone.
Whether you’re sitting or standing, taking the picture yourself or having someone else do it, be sure that camera is slightly above your eye level.
Why? Because it’s a more flattering angle than straight on. And no one, absolutely no one looks good in a low angle photo.
But you also don’t want it to high or it starts to look strange. Just a couple inches above eye level should be perfect.
Bonus Tip – The Turtle
My wife recommends sticking your chin out just slightly, like a turtle, maybe just an inch. If you stick your chin out too far you start to look odd.
Bonus Tip #2 – Look at the camera not your screen!
You’re going to be tempted to look at yourself in the screen of your phone. Don’t! Look at the camera itself.
Get rid of any distractions in the background. If that means you have to take some things off your wall to take a picture, then do it. Whatever is hanging out in the background of your photo is going to distract from YOU!
As you can see in the photos above, the one on the left is entirely focused on my face. The one on the right, despite using the “portrait” mode which blurs the background, is very distracting with all that’s going on in the background.
The best is to have a flat color behind you. Patterns are also distracting. White is the absolute best, but if you can’t find a white wall, any solid color will do.
And, it doesn’t have to be a wall. Get creative – use a shower curtain, a sheet, or a regular curtain.