Tag Archives: profile

Outdoor, Open-Air Profile Portrait Photographs

Outdoor Open-Air Profile Portraits the Benefits of Getting Out

A greater awareness of space might be one of the lasting legacies of the COVID crisis. Not the ‘space’ which Captain Kirk urged us to boldly got to, I mean the space around us, open air and light, the breeze in your air and sun on your face. Not just the first, crucial two metres.

After being stuck indoors for all that time, anything and anyone outdoors can look more appealing. So a profile picture shot in the open air is almost sure to have a positive, open feel. In a park, the countryside or the garden there’s an association with nature, growth, development, the environment and sustainability. In the town or city, the tone is cutting-edge, cosmopolitan, modern, youthful, fashion-conscious or gritty.

Outdoor, open-air profile portrait photographs are just more interesting than those taken in a studio. (Believe me, I’ve taken plenty of dull studio portraits!) But shooting in a studio with flash has one big advantage – control. You can guarantee the subject will be getting a good profile portrait photograph after the session, and the photographer can know before the session starts what the picture will look like. That can not be true of a photo session in the open air, there are too many variables.

So how can we reduce the risks implicit in booking an outdoor profile portrait photography session? Forethought is the answer, thinking it through, discussing and agreeing on the options, depending on the conditions and locations found on the day.


With the best will in the world, you can’t shoot in the rain, snow or wind. If the forecast looks bad, postpone in good time to a later date.


Daylight can give lovely, flattering soft light. Sunshine give harsh deep shadows and a squint.


Whether it’s a natural or urban background, it should be thrown out of focus to avoid being a distraction. It can also give depth to the image or provide a frame around the subject

Other people

A busy location reduces control and predictability, passers-by might make the subject uncomfortable or clutter the background.

Time of day

The light changes as the sun moves across the sky affecting its nature and direction. The number of people and the amount of traffic will vary according to time of day.

Headshot Photography

How to dress for a headshot photoshoot


you never know what ideas the photographer might come up with!

Apparently, we live in a free society. This must mean that the way we behave is really nothing to do with anyone else – so long as we hurt no-one. Part of our freedom of expression must be the freedom to offend – there is no such thing as the right to be unoffended. Luckily most of us exercise the right to express opinions that might offend with great restraint. Especially if we want something from the person who might be offended, especially if it’s something like business.

OK, so a website profile picture is unlikely to give any real offense, but sometimes people choose to take umbrage at the slightest thing, such as not conforming to their expectation of what you should look like. There is no ‘uniform’ for a photographer, I’ll wear a DJ to a black tie event of course, but if I turned up to a corporate portrait shoot dressed like a penguin they might think I was a singing telegram. So what should I wear in my profile picture to make people feel that I’m really just like them and they really ought to like me?

Well since I don’t actually know who ‘they’ are, let alone what they’re like the best I can hope to do is to avoid demonstrating that I’m definitely NOT like them!

I have to make sure there’s nothing about the image I project that someone can dislike. Unfortunately this means always playing it safe. Of course we should never ‘judge a book by the cover’ but the way we look does say a lot about us, whether we like it or not. If someone doesn’t care what they look like, they surely don’t really care what I think of them. If they don’t care what I think, then I might assume they don’t care about me. Why would I do business with someone who doesn’t care about me?

For a photographer, playing it safe means being smart enough, but not too formal. I’ve seen photographers wearing a tea-shirt or fleece embroidered with their logo, and they look good. It’s the sort of thing gas fitters and plumbers wear, but I don’t sell my craft skills. It’s how and what I photograph that I sell, not the act of photographing.

Of course the clothes to wear in a business portrait depend on the business. What do clients or customers expect and more importantly, what would put them off? It’s not always easy to see things from the perspective of the other person, but it’s important to try in order to define what a potential client expects to see. Then you can open your wardrobe to see what fits the brief, and hope that it still fits you!

You should always be the centre of attention in your profile photograph so choose clothes that won’t distract from you.  The clothes should flatter without being noticed. Solid, subdued colours work well. Longer sleeves look better then short, unostentatious jewellery is better than bling.
Have a think about those piercings. While you have every right to wear as many piercings as you wish, just remember that other people have an equal right to their opinion of tongue studs and people who choose to wear them.


There’s no doubt that it’s harder for women to hit the right sartorial note than it is for men. Women have a greater range of possibilities so it’s easier to get it wrong. Men tend to be less aware of being judged or just don’t care. It’s harder for a man in a suit-wearing profession to express themselves through the clothes they ware, the point is that the business photo is the place to create a good impression, not a platform for self-expression.

Dressing properly and dressing well can make you feel a bit special and a bit more confident in front of the camera, and that confidence can make the biggest difference to the impression the picture makes.

Blogs with some more sensible advice




Find the right photographer and you’ll look good forever


just be relaxed in front of the camera, easy isn’t it?

There’s no real secret to getting a good picture of yourself. Just choose a photographer with a feeling for, and understanding of you. Then you can look good forever. Simple.

Almost no one likes having their picture taken, many people hate it. But like the condemned ordering their last meal, most people just resign themselves to it. It’s got to be done, your going to feel uncomfortable with the camera’s beady stare fixed upon you, but it’s a necessity of modern life. As the book says; ‘feel the pain, and do it anyway’.

profile portrait photograph Teddington Richmond Surrey London

no tie, casual shirt, unshaved but looking good

looking good in a profile portrait

some people just look good in front of the camera!

Nicola Hill of NC Media believes people should just get on with it. “After years of standing in front a TV camera I know there’s no flaw in me that a lens hasn’t found already.” Nicola was a reporter for Sky News before she set up her own business. “But I know how to look my best on camera. My advice is too make an effort in choosing your photographer, find someone you feel you can trust.”

a good working portrait

looking away from the camera can make a portrait appear less formal

Most photographers spend time and money making themselves and their work visible online, so here’s the first step towards getting a good photograph of you; get searching photographers’ websites. Look for portraits that you wish were of you. You can’t look your best if you think the photographer’s a bit creepy, and some are. So the next stage is to work out whether you’re going to like the person you’re about to licence to gaze at you. Recommendations from people you respect are priceless, do you know anyone who has recently had new pictures taken? Web designers love good photographers, good photos make their job easier. Check out business networking groups and professional associations for their recommendations.

a great smile is always a winner in a good profile portrait photograph

a great smile is always a winner in a good profile portrait photograph

Another stage before calling them could be to send an email and see how long it takes for them to reply. What’s the tone of the reply, is it spelled correctly? I’m not suggesting that all creepy people have bad grammar, but if they can’t be bothered to run a spell check over an email, will they bother to polish the post-production on your picture?

Compile a short-list and ring them all, it’s unlikely to be a long list. Anyone who immediately tells you how good they are should be crossed off your list. They should take the time to find out about you and what you want. Ideally they’ll offer some suggestions about their approach. Tell them what you want to do with the images and what you don’t like about your appearence. Their response will betray how well they listened to you, and that should tell you if you want to work with them.

women sitting at a pieno

your photographer should understand what’s important to you

Here’s a blog to help you choose a style for your portrait.
Here’s a blog about judging a photographer‘s work.

Make-Up for Your Portrait Shoot

It’s surprising how often people don’t make any special effort with their appearance before a photo shoot.

But most of those people are men. Most women realise that make-up for your portrait shoot is worth the trouble….

profile portrait photograph

even when you’re beautiful, it’s worth paying a little extra attention to your make-up

Writer and broadcaster Vanessa Feltz once asked me what I thought about the colour of her eye shadow. The make-up artist had just stepped away. I didn’t think anything, I had no opinions on any aspect of eye shadow or make-up in general but because I was directing this BBC film shoot I had to express opinions on this and anything else I was asked. “Well I think you look great Vanessa, but I can see why you’re questioning it.” I was playing for time, then the make-up artist returned and Vanessa asked what other colours she had. I helped choose by not saying much.
Having photographed hundreds of people I do now have opinions on make up, simply because my job as a photographer is much harder if the make up is wrong. I know how my lighting works with the flesh tones and face shapes as they’re hidden or exaggerated by make up. I’ve garnered my knowledge by being flattering.  It’s helps distract people so they forget about the camera.  I say how good they look and ask if they’ve used much make up, because I really can’t tell! So here are some of the general thoughts and  some specific bits of advice.

profile portrait photography

a portrait photography session is special occasion, why wouldn’t you make a special effort?

  1. Do make a special effort with your make-up for your photo shoot: it’s a special occasion.
  2. If you can get professional help; do. Otherwise do it yourself because you know what works on you.
  3. Look like you, don’t try anything knew but be the best you possible.
  4. Be restrained.
  5. Choose a foundation as close to your skin colour as you can find.
  6. Don’t use mineral-based cosmetics because the camera sees them as shiny.
  7. Line both top and bottom eyelids.
  8. Use mascara.
  9. Avoid shiny eye shadow.
  10. Putting lip stain under the lip-gloss will be more stable and is less likely to need touching up
  11. Avoid very glossy lips; less can be more in a photograph
  12. Use a hair spray with glue-like properties.
  13. Take a brush or comb to the shoot.
good profile portrait photographs

let your natural loveliness shine through by using make-up, but sparingly!

It’s hard to look your best in photographs if you’re not feeling good about yourself so it’s worth doing your best to look your best. Of course there’s more to feeling good than slapping on a bit of lippie, but it’s a good start!

A Bad Profile Picture is like a Limp Handshake

Displaying the wrong profile picture to your social network can make an even worse impression.

Friends will see the joke behind your new quirky profile pic, but new acquaintances will take it seriously. So with the quirky quashed, how do we avoid giving anyone an opportunity to make an unintended judgement about you? Don’t think that you can get away with not posting a picture at all, that’s like refusing a handshake all together.

Basing any judgement on a photo alone is unreasonable and liable to show prejudice. However we’re programmed to measure and assess other people from any cue we can, so it’s difficult to be unaffected in how we treat the person behind the profile.

But we can use social networking images to steer the impression people get of us. Good pics give people a chance to put a face to the name, to confirm that you are the witty charmer they met last night and not the sweaty bore. If someone’s thinking of offering you work, won’t they first want to check you out? Do you look like someone they could work with? Are you more or less like them? And when did you ever hear someone say; ‘I’ve got a great memory for names, it’s faces I struggle with’?

Your face is your logo. In the age of the biometric passport the picture’s not your only identifier, but across a range of social media websites your mug shot works just the same as a corporate logo. Just think how much effort companies take to get a logo right, and then how much they use them.
So here’re some steps to looking the best you can.
– Welcome the attention of the camera, remember it’s your potential life partner or new client you are greeting. So no pressure!
– Nervous now? Try closing your eyes, think of the person who loves you the best, imagine them standing in place of the camera, open your eyes and give them your warmest smile.
– A gurning smile is not warm.
– Show you’re trustworthy by meeting the viewer’s eye directly – which means looking at the camera.
– Clothes still count, dress appropriately for your line of work and look like you care, Facebook pics can be casual and LinkedIn formal, so perhaps pitch it in between.
– Make an effort with your grooming, but if you’re not a model don’t try to look like one. And men, comb your hair!
– Get someone else to work the camera for you, but tell them to fill the frame with you.no-more-bad-profile-pictures
– You don’t need lots of megapixels, but if you use a camera on a phone make sure there isn’t a greasy thumbprint over the lens. And they’re worse than tummy buttons for holding on to fluff.
– Plenty of light, the camera can’t work well without it, but not direct sunlight. Sunshine will make you squint, put you in silhouette or cast unsightly shadows.
– It’s behind you! What is? The thing that’s taking the attention away from your face. The plainer the background the better.

If you don’t want to get shot, don’t hand out ammunition!

More on headshot photography