I’m in the process of shooting a class for Udemy, which will replace my Profile Tutorial product. (I realized that a downloadable class plus a follow-up chat is more sustainable AND more personal than a group session, since people are a little shy with others on the line.) Once it launches, I hope you’ll check it out—especially if my more personal one-on-one services are outside your budget! In the process of testing out good video setups, I, uh, I may have gone a little overboard on the lighting.
Oh, ya know, just a couple extra lamps here and there. pic.twitter.com/wmBQFxK5pR
— Virginia Roberts (@askvirginia) June 26, 2013
I seriously had SUCH a crazy number of lamps! Two professional photography, um, are they floods? The big tall things. :) And then two floor lamps (one with an attached reading lamp; I hate the way those look but they’re ever so practical), two Halogens borrowed from the guest bedroom, four small table lamps, and my overhead ceiling light. Yeah, I was NOT messing around. And you know what? I looked great!
Obviously, you can’t always shoot in these conditions when you’re out and about with friends, getting casual pics for your profile. But you CAN do a little mini-shoot with every single portable lighting source you can get your hands on, just like I did. :) Find a single friend, or just a friend who needs good business pictures; figure out if you have a cool solid non-distracting backdrop (like a plain wall or curtain; I just take the pictures off my wall so it’s less busy), borrow a bunch of lamps and arrange them in a semi-circle at about face level or slightly higher. Go for incandescent light bulbs instead of the greenish-looking CFLs. And lastly, consider splurging on a couple of soft pink bulbs; they make your skin look healthier in photos. Don’t place lighting sources underneath you; it apparently makes the shadows scary. And try to have ones on each side as well as in the middle. These last two tips are thanks to my Twitter pal Cynthia! She sent me this detailed link that might help you figure out light placement a bit better.
Grab a bottle of wine and a couple glasses (or a couple beers, or whatever your beverage of choice is), amp up your makeup if you’re a gal, make sure you’re wearing clothing you feel comfortable in and that you’re happy with your hair and accessories (no matter what gender you are), and make each other laugh while snapping pics. More loosening-up and attitude tips are in this P-I blog post, too.
Even if you don’t wind up feeling like a perfect 10 in any of the resulting pictures, they’re definitely going to show you well lit, which will probably be a contrast from your other profile pictures, in a good way! Variety is nice, and it’s sort of like the full body shot: it’s a subtle confirmation that you don’t need to hide in the cloak of shadows, ya know? Happy shooting!