Tips for Taking a Good Photo of Yourself

At times, you may need a photo of yourself for marketing purposes. In order to achieve consistency, and capture you in your best light, here are some tips for to submit your best headshot portrait.

The Technical Stuff

Since everyone’s phone (or camera) will be different, we encourage you to research tips for your specific model, but we include two links below. Try to get a handle on adjusting or locking exposure and focus especially. Burst modes are also useful to give you more choices!

Lighting and Background

  • Look for even, flattering light (this can come from a window, or if you can safely be outside your home, look for “open shade”)
  • Try to keep your light source diffused and front facing (rather than an overhead light above you) to minimize harsh shadows on your face
  • Background: try a variety of backgrounds if you can. We’d like to see a neutral background like a white/light, solid color wall (in case we need to clip portraits out), but something in your (current) work environment or outdoors would be great too!

Taking the Portrait

  • Attire: professional or business casual – depending on what makes sense for your field. Check that any accessories are in place (necklace clasps, no hair ties) and adjust the angle of your body or head if distracting reflections are showing in glasses
  • Ideally, if someone can help you, use your front facing camera (higher resolution) to take the portrait, or use a tripod if you feel comfortable. If you do want to try things like portrait mode, please submit some with and some without
  • If you’re taking a selfie, still think about your background and lighting (make sure nothing is “sticking out” behind your head, etc). Try to take photos at a variety of distances.
  • Cropping: we’ll want both vertical and horizontal options, like these. Note: For UMBC News stories, please provide a few horizontal shots where your body takes up no more than 1/3 of the frame (example), since the banner image space is wide and short.
  • Remember to relax, have some fun with this, and smile!


  • Share a variety of shots, at least 3-5 images. Ideal file types are JPEG (or RAW images if you’re able to and confident in sending). If you’re unsure how to do this, you can ask us for help, or go ahead and send any file you have and we’ll see what we can do!
  • When you’re ready to share your photos, please use this link to submit your photos via Box File Request OR if you have any trouble, you can create a google folder here with your name, department, and email in the title. Please also upload your photos with a signed release form OR email these items to your OIA contact directly.

Questions? Please contact staff photographer Marlayna Demond ’11 at