The style is very personal, but if your goal is to make a multi -purpose headshot that won’t be seen dated next year, move on with something timeless like a solid color T pocket, Silva will go. Dörr, who prefers classic and timeless clothing, agrees. “Keep it simple,” he said.
Check Your Camera Settings
Before you start shooting, choose the highest possible image quality, one that will give you more detail and precision when you need to harvest and edit. Some smartphones are included a RAW format setting, which results in many files not being compressed. Photographers like that, because it allows them more control over the final image. What’s detrimental is that RAW images require additional editing. If you’re comfortable with post processing, including how to export images to JPEGs, RAW files are your best bet.
If you have a manual white balance setting on your camera, fix it before you start by looking at white objects in your viewfinder. It can appear to be too hot or too cool, which can affect skin tone as well.
Use a Tripod
Holding your phone, selfie style, is OK for a snapshot, but for a self-portrait you get a lot of results without your arm getting in the way. A monopod (aka a selfie stick) allows you to move away from the camera, while keeping your arms away from your body. Your best bet is a tripod or photo mounting, whether Silva attaches his phone to a windowsill with a water bottle, or places it on the edge of a tree. Larrow’s tripod hack was to place a phone with a number of books on a table, making sure it was at a 90-degree angle and almost eye level. “Being too low on the camera will show you that it’s really big, and if you have it too high it will feel like a 2004 Myspace,” he says. “It’s a strange sight.”
If you don’t have a tripod, ask others to hold the camera and shoot, but be clear what you want in the frame. It is also wise to mark your area with masking tape so that you are always centered as you try different positions.
Another hot tip: The camera that comes out of the face of your phone is better quality than the self-facing selfie camera, so use it instead. If you’re shocked, Larrow recommends taking a few shots in selfie mode until you feel good about it. Then flip the camera around.
Create a Timer and Take Photo “Bursts”
Take advantage of countdown timers and continuous shot “explosion” on your phone, so you don’t have to go back and forth with the camera for multiple shots. If you have an iPhone and an Apple watch, you can use the watch to keep your camera away. On many Android phones, you can use hand signals or voice commands to activate the timer.
Getting Your Light
“Photography is light, ”says Dörr, who advises observing the light around you at different times of the day and seasons to see the difference in the place you like best. One way to check how your skin looks in a particular light is to photograph your hand and look at the details. Dörr also recommends having light in your eyes; he said it evoked a good feeling.
Silva uses natural light for that purpose. When the sun was looking through the blinds when he took a self-portrait, he said, “I always make sure the light touches the color of my eye.”
If you are taking your own picture inside the house, stand about 3 feet from your backdrop, face a window, and place the camera between the window and yourself. You want an abundance of soft light to wrap it evenly around your face without harsh shadows, says Larrow. Photographers have a soft spot for morning light (preferably blue) and night light (preferably gold), however, you want to make sure you get enough light on your face. If the sun is too strong, Mew likes to scatter the light using blinds or voile, or any other fabric cover.
Attack in a Pose
As a general rule, mug-shot photos are not pretty. Try this: Standing or sitting on a stool, instead of taking a photo straight, line your shoulder with the camera and tilt your face toward it. And don’t harvest too close. If you cut your shoulder, as Larrow said, you don’t seem to fit the frame. Think about which side you prefer. If your hair is parted, go to the side where you can see the most of your face.