5 Tips For Better Headshots

So You Need a New Headshot?
With just about everyone having an on-line presence these days, having a good photo for our social media sites is crucial.  My best tip is to hire a professional photographer, but I understand that maybe that isn't an option for you at this time. Here are some suggestions for getting a good photo to use as your public face if you're taking it yourself.

Tip #1
Pay attention to framing, background, lighting. Declutter what's around you in the image. Use things beside or behind you to lead the viewer's eye to your best features. Or away from something you want to minimize.
Tip #2
Make sure it looks like you. If your image is heavily filtered, you run the risk of coming across as a fraud. Images that are glamorized have their place, but for everyday people, we should look ourselves. 
Tip #3
This tip is an extension of #2 and for the ladies: Your makeup application for a headshot should be similar to how you apply it for everyday. You want to come across as yourself on your best day.  If you typically wear nothing more than eyeshadow and lipstick, stick with that.
Tip #4
Remember that it's all about the eyes, the window to the soul. If you're looking directly into the lens the perception is that you have nothing to hide. You are approachable, trustworthy.  To get a good phone camera photo, look at the lens, not your image on the screen.
Tip #5
Give careful consideration to clothing and props. Let your personality come out. Be authentic. If t-shirts and jeans are your everyday attire, consider choosing what you wear by color. Use colors that match the outcome you want:
  • red = aggressive, energetic, provocative, attention-grabbing, passionate  
  • purple = royalty, sophistication, nostalgia, mystery, spirituality
  • blue = trustworthy,  dependable, secure, responsible, confident 
  • green = wealth, health, prestige, serenity, generosity, safety
  • yellow = positivity, light, warmth, motivation, creativity, happiness
  • orange = vitality, fun, playful, exuberant, outgoing 
  • black = prestige, value, timelessness, sophistication, power
  • white = pure, noble, clean, soft 
When choosing clothes, make sure they compliment your complexion and that you feel good wearing them. It will help you to feel at ease and be able to achieve authentic expressions.

These five tips are a good starting point. Begin to pay attention to profile photos that you are drawn to. Start making note of WHY you like them. And as soon as you can hire a pro.


Using Color to Achieve Dynamic Balance in a Composition

Let's begin with the four basic characteristics of color: hue, temperature, value and saturation (also known as Intensity.) Notice where the colors (or hues) lie on the color wheel.

  1. Hue is basically the color's name, blue, green, red, orange, etc. 

  2. Temperature, is a subset of hue, but just as important as the other three. Warm colors range from Red Violet through Yellow. Cool colors between Yellow-Green and Blue-Violet. Notice that half the color wheel is warm, half is cool.

  3. Value is the lightness or darkness of a color or shade. If a photo has equal values throughout the image, with no contrast or accent color, it runs the risk of being boring, uninteresting. Of course there are exceptions to this rule. ( Rules in art are made to be broken creatively!) 

  4. Saturation is the purity or intensity of the color. When I squeeze paint directly from the tube, it is of maximum intensity. A good rule of thumb is to compose your image so that there isn't an overabundance of high intensity colors. Of course there are times to break this rule! You'll develop your own style and preference. There are artists whose works are riots of fully saturated colors and they are wildly successful. 

Now, what does all that have to do with achieving balance in your photograph? Let me throw out another "rule" to consider: the most, some, and a bit rule.  Simply put, this rule states that for an image to be dynamically balanced color wise, most of the colors should be of the same temperature, value and intensity, some of the colors should be opposite those, and a little bit will be in stark contrast.  

For example, if MOST of the colors are warm, bright, and light,then SOME  of the colors should be their opposite: cool, dull, and dark. And finally, there should be a small BIT of color that contrasts with all the others in as many characteristics as possible. Think of the BIT  as the accent color.

Grab your camera and go look for color. Look for ways you can follow the rules or break them to capture a photo that pleases you. And find me on Instagram or Facebook and tag me in them.