Smile For The Camera

With the popularity of social media, the profile photo has become a modern-day calling card. Today I am sharing my best tips for taking a profile photo to capture your personality while looking your best.

The photo above is the original, while the one below would be the profile photo cropped. The first thing you might notice is that I am not taking a selfie. At almost sixty-two, I never want a camera that close to my face. Lighting and the camera angle are the most important things to consider when someone takes your photo. Never stand in full sun at high noon for a picture. When the sun is high in the sky, it will always cast harsh shadows on your face.


Always find a place to stand in the shade while facing the light source. Make sure your photographer is not blocking the light. (The photographer’s shadow should never show up in a photo.) Ask the person taking your photo to stand six to eight feet away from you and hold the camera at their heart level while snapping a few pictures of you. One photo is rarely enough. When you find a photo that pleases you, crop it to save a profile photo.

I use a Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digitial Camera for all of my photos. It has a memory card that I can remove and place on my computer to edit, crop, and save the best images. I use the Windows 10 photo storage and editing software on my personal computer to crop the photo and the Paint App to adjust the image’s size. The original size of my photographs is 6000 x 4000 pixels. I crop them and then reduce the images to 800 or 1000 pixels wide.

Know your best side; mine is straight on. Turn your best side to face the camera. Look at the camera to determine where, precisely on the camera, the lens is before taking the pictures. Appearing to look into the eyes of the person looking at your photo is a great way to come across as open and honest. Looking straight into the lens also conveys confidence. Think of something that makes you truly happy so that your smile is an honest one that includes your eyes. A fake smile is always apparent.

When your photos must be taken inside, stand, or sit in front of a window or light source other than overhead lighting. When you are sitting, and your photographer is standing, it gives your face a lift because you look slightly up. Have the photographer stand to the side of the window while you are almost facing it so that the available light is on your face.

As the model, you must take control of the shoot unless working with a professional photographer. I have been telling Mr. Mickey for years, “Stand here. Hold the camera here. Push this button.” I listen for the click and then move a bit each time I hear it so that each pose is a little different. One image will always be somewhat better than the others.

The jacket is from last year by IC Collection from My Fair Lady. The shoes are by Sam Edelman. The look in the last two photos is from the blog post here.

  1. Great pix and tips! I so enjoy reading your blog!

    Is the camera referenced in this post the same one you use for outdoor/nature photography? My hobby is outdoor/nature photography, and I’m looking for a new camera. Camera choices can be overwhelming! Thank you.

    1. It is the only camera I use at the moment. I have owned many different cameras over the past seven years. The Sony is the best and easiest to use. I leave the settings on auto and work with the available light whenever possible.

  2. You always take lovely photos. Happy to see you’ve lightened up on the bangs. They seemed a little heavy when you changed your hairstyle.

  3. Thank you for these photo tips. I never like the way I look in family pictures, and I am going to (subtly!) try your suggestions. Hopefully I will become brave enough for social media postings!

  4. Thanks for this post, Susan! It’s very helpful. My husband takes most of the photos for my weekly fashion posts and we are both still learning. Until we started this, he had hardly ever held a camera!

  5. Great tips and love your glowing complexion! May I ask if you wear eyeliner on your upper lids and if so what kind? I find my eyes just wash out as I age but don’t want to deal with too much makeup. You have the right touch with yours.

    1. I do smudge some eyeliner pencil into the base of my top lashes only. Putting anything on the bottom lashes or lining the lower lid makes me look too harsh. The liner I use most often is by Beautycounter.

  6. I just absolutely love your posts! Substantial though short; crisp though warm — I never feel I’m wasting a minute of my time. There are so many blogs to grab my attention but yours is never passed over! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

  7. You look radiant! The tips for the most flattering poses when photographed are incredibly helpful for those of us that are beyond the bloom of youth. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  8. Excellent tips Susan! May I add another? Be aware of the background if you are going to be cropping the photo for a profile shot. Backgrounds that look fine for a full length shot may look strange when in a close-up. How many times have we seen ourselves with a lamp or part of a painting “growing” out of our heads! Been there. done that LOL.

  9. A great outfit and you look beautiful in it. Somehow the length of jacket and the back flair is just perfection.

  10. These pictures are wonderful! You are a beautiful woman, Susan, on the inside and out. (I can’t believe you look that good with no mascara on your lower lashes.) I have learned so much from you on good eating habits and simplifying my life. Was able to pick up and go last weekend on a quick trip to St Louis because of your easy packing tips and ease of packing pieces that go together. God bless you.

  11. Susan, you are truly photogenic! Not many people take as wonderful a picture as you have with full face to camera. Your face is very symmetrical – perfect! God has blessed you with physical beauty and talent!

  12. Oh I love this post! Your photos are always amazing. I’ve always thought that sparkle in your eyes is because Mr. Mickey is behind the camera. Thank you for sharing the type of camera as well. I still like to shoot with a camera other than my phone. Thank you!

  13. Great post. Your outfit is perfect. But how is it you have no wrinkles? That last picture is just beautiful. You’ll have to tell us about your beauty regime.

    1. I do have some wrinkles around my eyes and mouth. Keep the photographer about six to eight feet away from you. (That’s one of my secrets.) I have mentioned what I eat and the Beautycounter products I use to keep my skin looking the best it can. Here is the link to the line of products I use. I will be happy to help you determine which products will be best for your skin.

  14. I would add: always have the camera slightly higher than your head. It elongates you’re neck and “stretches” the skin under the chin. I have to fight with the photographers all the time about this. For some reason, people want to hold their phone/camera chest height. I’m tall so am either forced to look down (never the beat option ) or brow-beat them into holding the device higher.

  15. I love your blog. I am 80 and have Stage 4 cancer. I want to look my best. I am tiny only 4′ 11″ and weigh 121. My goal is 115. I pass for 65.
    Love to wear jeggings, shirts. All of my clothes are purchased at Talbots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.