If the popularization of the digital camera made self-portrait photos feasible, then the proliferation of social Web (and online dating) sites has made them inevitable, even essential. As such, the practice has become a bit of an art for those who strive to capture the best shots. If you're considering honing your own skills in this arena, the following tips should come in handy.
First, let's talk devices. Of course, you could always use a digital camera, connect it to your computer, download the images, and then upload them to your profile. But that's so 2007. Instead, DO use a good camera phone that lets you directly upload pics to the Web.
Many phones provide direct links to social sites such as Twitter and Facebook; my Android phone even has an option to send images to Facebook from the photo album. But even without this direct link, you can send pics to many social-networking sites via MMS. This eliminates many of the steps that come along with using a standalone camera. While you're at it, DO look for a phone with a to make things even easier.
Already have a great camera or phone without the mirror? DON'T forget that practice makes perfect. Taking pics that don't crop out half your head and do result in exactly the look you want will take some experimentation. Of course, you can use a mirror in a pinch, but if you want to take self-portraits on the fly, you'll need to learn the finer points of the extended-arm shot.
Another benefit of mastering the aforementioned skill is that you can then include others in your self-taken pics, which is a good thing. With the exception of sites that have an obvious dating bent, DON'T fill your profile with only photos of yourself. People who do this come across as vain and self-centered, and--of course--you aren't one of those people (right?).
That's not to say you shouldn't look your best in photos. After all, people are using many social sites tonowadays. To that end, I'm letting the following Samsung ad do the talking:
Well, naturally I can't let anyone else do all the talking for me. Especially when I don't agree with some of it. First of all, unless you're a frat boy and the year is 1984, DON'T pop your collar (obviously ironic shots excluded, of course). Also, you may want to steer clear of the suggestion of nudity, depending on who's in your social network (my dad is my Facebook friend, for example). But by all means, DO experiment with angles, lighting, and reflective surfaces. At the very least, it keeps things interesting.
Have your own tips or rants about social site self-portraits? Please leave them in the comment section below!