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.
Step 1: 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.