Bridget’s Selfie Tips

I started taking selfies as a proof of life, way to celebrate spending time with my friends, and my health; also, my mom likes them.

We need photos for every network there is from Facebook to LinkedIn, Google Plus to Slideshare.

It’s not always convenient to have professional headshot taken or even for a second person to photograph you. And so, the ultimate DIY for the social media enthusiast is the self portrait, forever now known as the “selfie.”

I’m also a stickler for changing your profile photo / avatar when you make significant changes to your look (hair length, style, color, glasses, etc.) You do want people to recognize you, right?

Frankly, sometimes you just feel good and that’s the best time to take one.

Here are my tips.

1. Take it outside.

This is even better if you can find a plant, tree, or beautiful outdoor location (beach, park, etc). Early mornings and late afternoons seem to lend the best light.

The neighbor’s green fence was the latest background for my October 2014 LinkedIn, Twitter, and Gravatar avi. People responded well to it.

Find A Cool Background - Bridget

2. Look at the Camera.

Actually look into the camera on your phone, not the screen. (Yes, that tiny dot.) This is the hardest thing to get used to.

Looking into the camera is looking at your viewer. That fosters connection. After all, it’s all about connecting with your audience whether it’s words or photos.

3. Smile.

Seriously, unless you’re trying out for Top Model or something, we’re tired of the apathetic looks.

As people, we are wired to mirror expressions. When we see a photo of you smiling, we smile. When we smile, we feel good. That evokes an emotional, subconscious response. That usually translates into positive comments and likes.

My friend Julie Brigham taught me years ago that if you tilt your head to the side and open your mouth, you look like you’re having fun. She’s right.

Otherwise, think of something that makes you really happy, wait a moment, and then click. Laughing helps, too.

4. Ditch the Seatbelt

I know it feels less conspicuous in the “privacy” of your car’s interior, but it looks bad.

5. Have Fun.

If you’re trying to convey a certain emotion like sadness, doubt, confusion, or anger, a selfie can do the trick.

Be creative. Use props if you like. Try a profile, upshot, or downshot. See what you like.

But, if you’re using this photo for a professional site, be aware that it’s a headshot, showing your face. (Enough said.)

6. Use Tools.

Almost every smart phone has tools in their camera. These include enhance buttons, filters, and other swanky things. Sometimes it’s easy to put your photo into Instagram, use one of their filters, and then you already have a square avatar.

If you want to invest in a tripod and phone adaptor, do that. Most phone cameras have timers, too.

7. Practice.

Everything gets better with practice. People really won’t give you a hard time, I promise. But if they do, are they really people you want to be around?

Am I a professional photographer? No. But these are some things I’ve learned along the way.

What are your tips?