If you’re reading this, you probably take your professional profile photos seriously. And it also means you’re exactly in the right place. A beautiful and professional portrait is a huge element for your personal brand but sometimes we don’t always have the time or budget to properly invest in a professional business portrait. Luckily for you, as a professional photographer, I’m here to give you free tips on how you can instantly step up your own DIY photo session.

 1. Compose yourself

Usually, the photos in your CV or LinkedIn are very small thumbnails. This means that the overall composition needs to be simple and clean. The goal is to show your face and a little bit of your outfit to express a touch of style. You can take a headshot or a classic 3/4 portrait, but there is no need to show your full body or even half-body. Remember, the more that your body is visible in the photo, the more complicated it is for you to compose yourself right and look professional.  Keep in mind that less is more.

Professional photo of beautiful woman of color on white background made in Prague

2. Think about the crop

As you may have noticed, LinkedIn automatically crops your photos in a circle. This means that you need to take your pictures horizontally instead of vertically if you want to make sure that the top of your outfit will be visible. If you’re taking the photos for your CV, the crop can be different. Make sure to think about it before you actually take the photos to reduce the amount of time editing and cropping.

3. Choose the right background

As the photos are going to be very small, it’s better to choose a simple background. A plain wall is always a good choice, however, you need to think first about the color of this wall. You can look for a traditional white, neutral grey or a mysterious black background. Keep in mind that the color of the background creates a certain mood for the photo. If you want to learn more about it, check out this post to help you pick out the right color for your portrait background.

Clean business portrait of a young woman with blonde hair on gray background

4.Catch the light

First of all, don’t underestimate the power of light. Light has the ability to make you look gorgeous or creepy, so be sure you’re using it only to your advantage. If you want to have soft natural light on your face, stand close to the window or a big reflective surface (for example, a big white wall) on a sunny day. When the light goes through the window or it is reflected off the wall, it gives you this nice natural glow. It’s not a good idea to use direct sunlight on your face, because it’s too harsh and emphasizes all your imperfections. However, you can use direct sunlight early in the morning or in the late afternoon during the so-called golden hours. 

Keep two things in mind: 

  • Your goal is to illuminate your face and make it look lighter than the background. 
  • You need to have more light coming from above and less light coming from below your face. Very often the light is being reflected from white clothes or any other surfaces close to the face and it makes people look creepy.

5. Find the right clothing

How do you want to be seen? What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? What are your values and what do you stand for? Marinate over these questions and then choose your outfit. Your goal is to tell people more about yourself and attract the ones with whom you want to work. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about how to dress for a photo session, you can read the articles that I wrote for both guys and girls.

Professional business portrait of korean woman in dark suit on white background

6. Manage your face and body

This is the most complicated step for many people. Generally, I always recommend people to focus on their bodies and to stop thinking about the photo session. Before taking pictures it is important to stretch, move around a bit, expand yourself and relax. Don’t force yourself to smile or look serious. It’s better to think about something that makes you feel happy or concentrated. Keep in mind that the muscles of your face get sore very quickly, so don’t be afraid to do some facial gymnastics every 3-5 minutes. Be ready to take many photos and experiment! It doesn’t matter if you take one hundred or one thousand photos – as long as you get the desired result.

7. Edit the photos

I always retouch the photos after each photo session. My goal is to make you look fresh and natural, which is why I hide dark circles and skin imperfections, even out skin tone and make sure you look healthy and energized. I use Adobe Photoshop, but there are many apps that can help you do some simple corrections. For example, Facetune or Snapseed.

I hope this DIY Guide is helpful for you, please reach out to me if you have more questions or suggestions! If it’s too complicated and you would just like to get your own portrait or headshot professionally taken for you, feel free to book a business portrait photo session with me. Looking forward to helping you build your personal brand! 

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