Selfies are not just vehicles to put your face out there, but they are often vital to business, as well. Admittedly, if you are looking for a realtor, doesn't it help to see a face to put with the name? As an author and blogger, it's critical I have a way to get my energy across and that needs to show in profile pics, too.
Here's my tips as an ex-model and photo enthusiast -
It's interesting to note that I have facial amnesia. It's an unusual condition that many, like Brad Pitt, suffer from. Most don't realize they have it as they have spent a lifetime compensating. As a child, I would go the store with my mom and if I got separated, it didn't help to look up at faces, I simply looked for a black pocketbook and latched on, assuming it was my mom's purse.
I am known as a selfie queen and there are a couple driving forces for that. One is that, I have no idea what I look like until I look in a mirror or see a photo. I have facial amnesia.
I carry zero faces in my head, not even my son or my parents or friends. When people used to say "picture his face in your mind," I wondered "how do you do that?" As my point of reference is drawing a blank, I assume when I post on Facebook or write publicly that people need to see a face to understand who is speaking.
I also believe that it is comforting to show your expressions and energy so that others can decide if they want to ride on your crazy train. If you are identifable, smiling, dynamic, they will immediately stop and listen. Having modeled and entered beauty pageants in the past, I understand that you get a moment to make an impression. As well, don't you want to look at your friend when you talk online so you feel you are almost face-to-face?
So, how do you go about that ideal selfie whether it's for a dating situation or professional calling?
I'm not a fan of the circle light trend that YouTubers and Instagramers are utilizing. You can see the light reflected in their eyes. Years from now we will laugh at that ridiculous trend like we do the teased hair of the 1950s.
If you might want to do photos in low light or evening, I highly suggest a light with umbrella. Be sure to use a full spectrum bulb as many shed a yellow light and LED sheds blue light.
Ideal lighting is easy to come by and free. Whatever side of the building the sun is on, go to the opposite side of the building facing a window (stand back at least 10 feet or more from the window) and utilize that diffused light.
You never ever want to use overhead lights or CFL bulbs as they cast shadows and make you look tired and show every wrinkle and the bulbs make your skin sallow.
I admittedly did photos for a single neighbor who wanted to join a dating site. When I went to take the photos, I told him just what he needed to snag the right gal.
I posed him outdoors. By the pool. Leaning against a pillar. Sitting on a lounge chair with a book. He was an outdoorsy guy which helped, but women truly like to see a man who isn't a stuffy indoors office type who never goes anywhere. Men are outdoors. Men are sports. Men are wind and rain. Men are chopping wood. They are our outdoor full-of-life heroes. And, if the setting appears to be a vacation that's a HUGE boon as women like men who want to travel.
The only problem with outdoor shoots is squinting against sunlight. Utilize sunglasses in some shots as they leave some mystery - but not ALL shots as eyes are the windows to the soul. Take some shots tucked under a tree or on a cloudy day.
His clothes were casual but neat - no concert t-shirts and only one dress shirt with sleeves rolled up, arms crossed over chest as if the day was over and he was loosening up. Men, NEVER take head shots without a shirt. There is nothing creepier to a woman than to see a man's bare shoulders and realize he's taking a headshot possibly naked for illicit purposes or really doesn't care.
One thing men overlook a lot is smiling. Don't ever use a non-smiling profile pic as women need to know you have fun, can laugh, and aren't an uptight angry ass. If you don't like your teeth, at least give a nice upward curl of the lips and some mischief in your eyes.
Happily, this man actually snagged a local newscaster lady that was an ideal fit.
So, you can see that it's a lot of things coming together such as light, setting, clothing, and posing to get the winning shot.
Always consider light. Dark pubs and bars do not make for good vibes or looks. A paneled wall and sofa almost look like a hostage setting. So, please do a blank wall if you must, but a nice piece of artwork, pretty window, some houseplants indoors are fine. It looks more personal without looking cluttered and dusty.
The number one thing to remember about posing is ALWAYS take photos from eye level and preferrably around top of head level in height. You want to look up slightly so your jawline is sharp. If you take photos from below, you get a bloated neck and jawline that makes you look awful. No one looks good at that angle.
If you want to use photoshop or apps that touchup photos to make them look smooth and clear of blemishes, it's understandable, but you want to retain all your characteristics. I have found that by simply lightening a photo you can keep some of the circles under the eyes under control and keep from having shadows cast across the face. Ultimately, you have to live up to the photos and people should recognize it's you when you meet in real life.
I think most of us would rather get a date looking not perfect than to have them meet us and not ask us out the second time because we didn't resemble the flawless pic.
It's going to take some practice shots to see what your best side is, what your best expression is, whether to go 3/4 in the facial pose or straight on. Your hair tells a lot about you from being on trend to high maintenance to wild bohemian. Be sure you are showing who you really are as personality and looks go together a great deal. When was the last time you knew a totally gnarly surfer dude with a neat businessman haircut and dress shirt?
When it comes to makeup, the more naturally healthy you look the better. Once you start fussing with liners and dark lipstick, you age yourself quickly. Makeup should be a basic enhancer when you look a bit pale.
Here's how I bring my naked face (left) to life (right) with a natural makeup palette.
I'm what I like to call country girl bohemian meets beach bohemian.
I am authentic to my beachy colors and country gal hat, bohemian hair and lots of stacked jewelry. This captured me perfectly, but for a professional shot, I don't want to lose my essence, but I do want to give it polished focus.
I removed the unavoidable cleavage in low tops, but kept the bohemian hair and kept my clothing colors and jewelry. I upped the makeup to be a bit brighter and finished looking. I am a creative artist and writer in fields that don't need suits and straightened hair, but I also don't want to look like I arrived at a zoom meeting in beach wear and sea-tangled locks.
I've found that if you recall that if you call on your childlike excitement about life, hopes, dreams, and adventure, the expression the face is one of childlike excitement and from a wellspring of joy.
That is the greatest expression of your true self and the most attractive look to those gazing upon your face.
And, selfie sticks really do take amazing shots because you're able to get some perspective and steadiness you can't by gripping a phone close to you.