Okay, maybe this is obvious, but if you’re putting your picture out there in cyber space, it needs to be saying exactly what you want it to, and sadly, so many photographs do the exact opposite and give the viewer a totally wrong impression of who you are. This may not be important, if your picture is on a site such as twitter, and your appearance isn’t relevant to your job. However, if you are on a dating site, for instance, your picture is of key significance and will be the first thing potential partners see.

If you are able to work with an assistant the end result will be that much easier to reach and you have the benefit of a second pair of eyes assessing your assets before launching your mug shot onto an unsuspecting audience. However, since these sites are generally for people on their own, here are my top 6 tips for taking your own pictures. (I have put this together with dating sites in mind, but the tips will also apply to those taking pictures for networking purposes).

1. Invest in a camera

This is your future you are talking about. Whether you like it or not, if you are on a dating site, this is a competition, and you need to stand out from the crowd. Taking a picture on anything other than a camera will put you at a disadvantage. However, the good news is that this need not be an expensive one. Don’t get too hung up on the pixels, but go for one that has a self-timer mode. And the other positive – you own a camera now and can add this to your list of interests!

2. Ditch the webcam

Urrgghhh!!! Okay, if you’re a fresh faced sixteen year-old with heaps of creativity and a lot of time to mess around after midnight, this may work for you. For anybody else, though, the webcam image is a total disaster. The picture is poor quality to begin with but then manages to reflect a really unfair image of who you really are.  It is right by the computer, which adds an un-natural, unflattering light on your face, the webcam is probably low down, so then capturing you at bad angle and highlighting all the areas that you want to avoid. Add to this the fact that it shows the rest of the room to your viewer (suggest carefully selecting the books you have on display here!) and showing yourself as a sad person whose life is spent in front of a computer screen – not good.

3. Grow longer arms!

Arm length doesn’t really work for you either, as it’s just that tiny bit tooooooo close. You know I’m right on this – you’ve been trying to stretch your arms just that bit further than they want to go. Okay man with very long arms – you may just have got away with it. If you do really have to use this method then here is my recommended exercise: Hold camera in dominant hand, stretch arm out to the side of your body, as far as it will go, now raise the arm up at a 45 % angle above you., swing arm slightly to the front but not too far and angle the camera down towards you. Now turn your head towards it, tilt slightly and smile. Alternatively – switch to self timer mode on your camera, which will work much better.

4. Use self timer mode

The down side of using self timer mode is that you are going to be leaping backwards and forwards a number of times before you get the camera set up at the right angle. But this is a small amount of time to invest, really, isn’t it? Set up at around 10 seconds, which should give you time to settle yourself in position and smile sweetly before it leaps into action. If you don’t have a tripod, set the camera up on a table or a chair, with a pile of books on top. Trial and error works here.

5. Avoid the mug-shot

Standing with your back to a wall face-on to the camera is not particularly flattering. Move a couple of feet away from the wall if you can, to diminish harsh shadows, and make sure you have a clear wall behind you. Standing at an angle from the camera and then turning to look towards it, will be much more flattering.

6. Take your picture outside

 You’ll look great photographed with a natural backdrop and will come over as a person who has an interest in life, and being out of doors. This is your window of opportunity – showing yourself sitting on a sofa only tells the world that you spend time sitting on a sofa. It is always worth remembering that,

 You never get a second chance to make a first impression

 Need more advice? Personal picture consultations are available from C B Photographic from only £24.99 enabling you to work via email, on a one-to-one basis to improve your self-portrait.  Please email for further details and a profile pack:  info@cbphotographic.co.uk