Helping Photographers Understand the HOWS & WHYS behind Great Photography

Self Portrait Tutorial.  How I shot my profile photo for social media and my photography website.


I got new glasses this past week. I like my new look, but that meant I needed to shoot a new profile picture. I thought I’d take a second to share some of my self portrait tips.

Watch the VIDEO…

When shooting a portrait, ask yourself:

WHO is the subject?  Me!

WHAT is the photo for? A new portrait for my marketing materials that reflects my current look.  My photo appears on my website and my social media profiles. It’s in my media kit,  my promotional materials, it’s on my wife’s desk at work… the list goes on and on.

WHY are we taking the shot? I have new glasses.  That means I need a new profile photo.

WHEN? Immediately – I just got the new glasses and my YouTube channel is about to hit 100,000 subscribers, plus I have a ton of speaking engagements coming up. There is no reason to procrastinate.

WHERE will the photo be taken? This will be a studio shot.  My body double isn’t available to do the sexy outdoor natural light session that I would really like to do – so we’ll keep it simple.

HOW? With a camera of course!  Oh you mean how did I go about doing my own self portrait?  Ok – I’ll get to that in a minute – but first – let’s fill in some more of the prep stuff…

Prepping for a self-portrait/ profile picture shoot

I like the profile pic that I have been using for the last few years.  I really do. It is the best version of me,  on a good day, times about 10 = perfect portrait.

But since I have the new glasses, I need to update it.  Like most of you – I don’t enjoy being in front of a still camera for a portrait. I know it’s crazy – doing these videos doesn’t bother me at all – but sitting in front of a still camera is just painful.

Because my portrait is a huge part of my marketing and branding, I don’t change it very often because I want people to be able to recognize me and my content easily. So my portrait is indeed a part of my branding. In this case, my goal is to basically re-create the current self portrait but with the new glasses.  Since I still have it and it’s in good shape, I’ll even wear the same shirt.

Since the photo will be heavily used on social media, I am going to make sure that I am facing from left to right since most social media websites have the profile photo on the left or in the middle.

I am going to shoot it on a solid white background so that it plays well with the design of most of the social media sites and also my website.  The clean white background will also make it really easy to composite in a different color background if needed.

I am going to compose the shot so that I can crop it as a bust- up portrait with both shoulders and arms included while also being able to crop closer. This is very important for the social media websites. Since I will be shooting with a Nikon D810 and it’s 36.3 megapixel sensor, I will be able to do that without sacrificing quality.

Remember when people first see your profile photo on line – it is very small – so crop tight and fill the frame for those social media profile pics.

To learn about the specific steps I took to get my new profile picture, be sure to check out the video at the top of this page or click here. 


Olympus America, Inc. Tether Tools Savage Universal
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