Over the weekend I needed a new picture for a press opportunity. The last one wasn’t quite cutting it, the color was a little off and there was nothing that said, “I’m an artist”. So I did my hair, threw on at least 50% more make-up than normal (based on when I wear it of course!), grabbed the camera and my photographer.  (That’s my 15 year old.)

I was quite pleased with one photo in particular, I think it “captured” me… smiling, somewhat mischevious gleam in my eye, holding paint brushes lets people know what I do at a glance… yeah!

Later I was talking to a few friends who are also online and told one that I wanted her to change her Twitter picture. She looked sort of grumpy truth be told, and I said it just wasn’t the bubbly, happy person I knew.  (I was happy to hear I wasn’t the only one who said that – apparently other friends have given her the same feedback.)  The three of us got to talking about pictures and  how they should ‘capture’ you… and the fact that people are more likely to want to work with happy, smiling people that grumpy looking people.

I decided to do a little blog post about the secret to getting good photos for your website, promo materials, social media and more… ready for the big secret…



My son took 85 pictures – I love one and am willing to work with 2 others.  That’s it.  And I think I may have deleted a few along the way that were… let’s just say, “less than flattering”.

Here are eight tips to getting a good, working photo:

  1. Before you strike a pose, if you are a woman, put on at least 50% more makeup than normal.  Look over-done.  Cameras, especially if you use a flash, will wash out your face so you need the makeup to compensate.  Trust me. 🙂
  2. Use props or be in a location that shows what you do.  If you do computer art, sit at the computer. Be in your studio. Hold or show your art. I held paint brushes to keep it simple and obvious.
  3. Try different locations and different lighting.  Next to a window is a great way to get natural light. Cloudy weather is good for outdoor portraits – less squinting and less need for sunglasses.
  4. Know your good side!  Most people have one side that looks better (or that they like better) in photos than the other.  Know your good one and go with it!
  5. Be silly!  Sometimes the picture snapped when you get frustrated and goofy becomes the best of the bunch.
  6. Don’t rely on the occasional snapshot taken in the backyard for your professional and online presence… be deliberate and make sure ‘you’ come through in the pictures you choose.
  7. Ask for feedback from friends.  They know you and will often be a better judge than you about whether the pictures “look like you” or not.
  8. And of course, be happy we live in a digital age and don’t have to print and process every picture.  Keep smiling and keep shooting.  Sometimes that great photo is a needle in a haystack so shoot the haystack!

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Photos online are often the first and sometimes only impression people have of you so take some time and get something you are happy with!

– Tara

P.S.  Here’s another great blog post… (go figure!)  by the friend I said needed to change her pic! 🙂  (She’s a great source of info on social media – check her out!)  CLICK HERE

P.P.S. If you want a photo with no background like I created and you have my Repeat Pattern eBook, you can use the same steps you use  to create ‘clean icons’. To see more about the book, CLICK HERE