Instructables
Picture of Head and Shoulders Publicity Photos
Many of us will be asked at sometime to provide a head and shoulders photo for some publicity piece. Most of us probably do not have a suitable current file photo. We are tempted to make one ourselves and we get a poor product. With a little knowledge and a little effort, we can produce quite a good publicity file photo, like this one.
 
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Step 1: What not to do

Picture of What not to do
Below is an example of what many of us do, but should not do.  I often saw photos like this one in the small town newspaper where I was raised. 

I simply stood with my back to some neutral wood panelling (a door), held my camera at arm's length, turned the lens toward myself, and squeezed the shutter release. It was quick and it was easy, but it is sub-standard.

There are several problems with this photo. The camera angle is too much lower than my eyes. Because the camera was only the length of my arm away from my face, it is proportionally much closer to my nose than to my ears and my head appears to be distorted (nose too large, ears too small). My expression is not flattering. The camera flash left a reflection on my glasses and on the finished wood behind me. It also cast strong shadows on the background. Further, I am too close to the background. The photo would also be improved if I wore a white shirt, tie, and coat.

Step 2: Ditch the flash

Picture of Ditch the flash
The first step is to set your digital camera so the flash does not fire. Adjust the flash control so you see this symbol, or keep the pop-up flash unit closed (if your camera is so equipped).
alcurb5 months ago

Very nice.

Phil B (author)  alcurb5 months ago
Thank you for looking and for commenting.
Thanks, that was interesting. "The inverse square law of light disbursement" sounds very scary indeed, but you explained very clearly that it's actually a daft name for a very simple principle - and useful to know.
Phil B (author)  Periwinkle11 year ago
Thank you for looking. I hope you are able to make use of this sooner or later. I am glad the inverse square law made sense to you. It is really quite useful in practice as a general principle. With modern digital cameras, it is easy to take a few test shots while manipulating things like light placement in order to get the effect you want. And, there is nothing like experience born of much practice.
cesarakg2 years ago
Nice photo!

New cameras has the "face detection" feature. It helps because it make the focus and the exposure evaluation on the detected face (or the face most near the center of the frame, if several faces are detected). And there's the "portrait" scenery option to make... portraits. And there's the "smile detection" feature that takes a picture everytime it detects someone smiling (doesn't work with people with moustaches - I can assure).

Have you any experience with these new camera's settings?
Phil B (author)  cesarakg2 years ago
Thank you. My wife has a fairly new camera with facial recognition. All in all, it is a more user friendly camera than mine, and mine is only a year or so older than hers. Hers is not completely fool-proof, though. I was taking a close-up with the macro setting and still had to be careful so the camera focused on the object rather than on something in the background.
Such a handsome dude ;0) :p Been wondering how you're doin'
Phil B (author)  porcupinemamma5 years ago
Lyn, Thanks. See my comment to Rimar about the really young ones and the really old ones being the only females who ever thought I was cute. Things are going well. Our German friends enjoyed their visit and are back home. I have been getting more miles on my bicycle lately, which is a good thing. Summer is ending too quickly. How are you?
rimar20005 years ago
Phil, you're almost cute. ;) Good instructable, thanks.
Phil B (author)  rimar20005 years ago
Thanks, Rimar. The only women who ever thought I was cute were the really, really young ones or the really, really old ones. The women between those two extremes who I wanted to think I was cute never did. We have probably all had that experience. It may be not many will be interested in this Instructable, but later they will be surprised how many times they need a current photo of themselves for some publication.