How to Take a Professional Resume Photo

How to Take a Professional Resume Photo

There has long been a debate in the use of resumes with professionally taken photos. Lots of people believe that you should not include your photo in your resume since your “looks” will probably be subject to discrimination. While it can be quite useful for “good-looking” individuals, most people often get hired because of their skills and experience. On the other hand, there are also many who prefer resumes with photos of themselves. The reason for this is simple – people live in a “visual” world and photos create connections.

It’s your choice, whether or not to put your photo in resumes. Some companies require it, others simply do not. Before we start learning how to take a professional resume photo, we must first know the kinds of photos you can’t use in your resume.

  • Vacation selfies
  • Glamour photos
  • Candid shots
  • Photos that show too much skin
  • Photos that are too old
  • Group photos (of course!)

Instead of a “Facebook selfie”, think of a professional resume photo as the “passport portrait”. It should, however, present you in a “right person for the job” kind of way. Now – let’s assume that you are in need of a professional resume photo, and you can’t hire a photographer because of budget constraints. Instead of browsing your Facebook albums for a decent resume photo, you can always make one without breaking the bank.

Before we start going into the technicalities of taking photos, let’s start with yourself – your looks. Since you’re going to use your photos for a resume, you’ll need to create an image that shows the best version of yourself. Your clothes for example, should be nice and simple. If you’re going to use accessories, don’t use something large or too distracting to the eyes of the viewer. Lastly, wear clothes that draw more attention to your face and of course, your eyes.

Taking Photos of Yourself

Before you start, try to ask someone else to take photos while you focus on getting your “hire me” pose right in front of the camera (it could be a friend, a family member – get someone who will take your images). If you’re going to use a DSLR, shooting with a nifty-fifty is perfect for portraits. The background that you’re going to use should be plain and simple – go for neutral backgrounds that are free from any distractions. On the other hand, some professions, such as attorneys, expect backgrounds like bookshelves and library hallways.

  • Right Framing

Full body shots are unnecessary if you want to get a professional resume photo. Get your waist and your entire head inside the frame. Tilt your body slightly to the left or right to get better-looking pictures.

  • Dress Appropriately

We already mentioned that wearing clothes that show too much skin isn’t very appropriate for resume photos – this include tank tops, strapless clothing, and statement shirts. Instead, wear dress shirts, with or without a suit jacket.

  • Avoid Hair and Make-up Blunders

Keep your hair style simple – it should not be very distracting to the viewer. As for make-up, always remember that “less is more”. Unlike glamour photography, photos you use in resumes are best done with a “day in the office” kind of look.

  • Oil Free

Oil on your skin might create unwanted highlights in the image. Use paper napkins or tissue to blot oily parts of your face before taking photos. Instead of getting the image “right” in post-production, save time by doing this on the photoshoot.

  • Watch Your Chin

Your chin is one of the most important elements in your resume photo. If positioned perfectly, it can make you look like the best person for the job. Keep your chin up – this will also prevent you from looking like you have a double-chin.

  • No Props

Avoid any unnecessary distractions in photos if you’re going to use them for resumes. A great resume photo only has two important parts, which includes you and the background. If you’re going to shoot outdoors, make sure that the background isn’t too distracting.

  • Facial Expressions and Hand Gestures

Lastly, don’t try to act like you’re taking selfies for social media. There is no place for gang signs. Peace signs, bug-eyes, and duck face here. To get your facial expressions right in the image, try to think that you’re facing the interviewer for the job you really want to have.

These are simple guidelines that will help you get the right shot for your resume. Always remember to shoot in a well-lit place to get every detail of yourself captured in the image. You can use natural light coming from a window, but see to it that the light hits your cheek and brow bones. If there are unwanted shadows cast around your eyes, mouth, or nose, try tilting your body towards the light source.

After the shoot, you can always enhance your photos through post-production. On the other hand, the last thing you want is an employer who can’t recognize you because of the layers you put in your resume photo – don’t edit your photos too much! While filters are great for enhancing images, they tend to focus more on a few elements of a photo that might look odd. You can remove distracting hair or scars, but don’t make your skin too smooth as it will look fake, making yourself unrecognizable.

outdoor male portrait

 Hiring a Professional

You can never go wrong if you decide to hire a professional photographer to take pictures for your resume. If you live in cities where the most jobs are located, like Singapore, finding a photographer should be easy. Just remember to explain how you want to look like in the picture – whether it’s a “professional” look, or something that’s required for the job (this goes for acting or modeling gigs). It’s important to get enough sleep before the shoot. Aside from preventing dark circles and dry skin, getting a good night rest will help you relax more in the photoshoot!

Do you want to know more about creating a professional resume photo? Please let us know in our contact page here. Subscribe to our blog to get the latest trends in photography!

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