Tips for Taking Digital Pictures of Yourself

(This post is ideal for freelance models. While modeling agencies do request non-professional, digital pictures, the type of photo taking I am talking about in this post is for taking pictures of yourself when you don’t have anyone around to take it for you. When taking digital pictures for agencies DO NOT TAKE THEM YOURSELF! ‘Nuff said.)

This post is targeted towards freelance models that submit themselves for modeling gigs. It is important to be prepared for anything, especially when sending certain photos to potential clients. Don’t be surprised if you come across a client that requests recent, non-professional images that are not retouched. If you’ve been modeling for a while, the chances of you having such pictures may be slim. This calls for a mini photoshoot using your trusty digital camera. However, there are a few pointers I want to make here so that you get the best results.

Even though many clients will cast models based on their professional pictures and portfolio, many others want to make sure they know what you look like without the makeup and retouching, which is only fair. So get used to the idea of having to submit such pictures.

But just because you’re asked to send regular, digital pictures, that doesn’t mean you can slack. At the same time, they aren’t expecting you to be a professional photographer, either. If possible get someone to take the pictures for you. This eliminates a lot of time and effort. However, there may be a time when no one is around and clients will only wait so long when casting models for a project. So if you have no choice but to take your own pictures, follow these steps (no Myspace pictures, PLEASE!):

1) Read instructions carefully. Each client wants something different. Take note of what poses they ask for and make sure you only give them what they want.

2) Use a tripod. Even though the images aren’t being taken by a pro photographer, that doesn’t mean you can submit Myspace-esque photos. That’s totally unacceptable, regardless of how good you are at taking pictures in a mirror or holding up the camera in your face. If you don’t have a tripod, ask around and see if you can borrow one from a friend or family member. Tripods are easy to use and will help greatly.

3) Pay attention to detail. Your photos should be properly centered and taken in an area with good lighting. If indoors, pose against a plain white wall or similar background. Remove all distracting items and make sure only you appear in the pictures. When taking full body photos do not cut off your feet or your head. Again, pay attention to detail.

4) Take more than one picture per pose. Give yourself a few versions to choose from by taking 2-3 pictures of each requested pose. Preview each image taken in your camera and delete any that don’t look good. Only submit crisp, clear images. No blurriness.

5) Wear what the client asks you to wear. If no such information is given, ask before taking the pictures.

6) Edit your pictures before sending. You don’t need to be a pro at Photoshop to edit your images. Use whatever photo editing program you are familiar with and look over the images you’ve taken. Crop any pictures that have excess space as well as brighten any images that may be a bit dark. Because headshot images are hard to take on your own, do your best with framing and then crop the picture into a headshot afterwards. This should be the extent of any editing/retouching.

7) Don’t send monstrously huge files but avoid sending teeny tiny ones. Try to keep each image under 1MB. Resize as needed.

8) Show some diversity. Give a mixture of smiling and not smiling. Chances are the client does not want you to wear makeup or fancy hairstyles. Keep it simple.

9) Dedicate time to it. Don't attempt to take these kind of pictures yourself if you're in a hurry or have other things to do. Doing such a setup takes some time and getting used to. You want these images to come out great so set aside an hour or so to make sure you get the job done right and submit pictures that are guaranteed to get you the gig.

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